September, 2019 Archive

Metta and Peta: Buddhist reflections on humans’ relations with other animals

Monday, September 16th, 2019

An address to the White Heron Sangha, September 15, 2019

A variety of encounters with non-human animals over the past year have opened new areas of experience for me and left me mulling some troubling questions. They’ve led to conversations with family members, friends and co-workers, to reflections on past experiences, to scientific research and to guidance from Buddhist authorities.

One area of experience is my relationship with our two year old family dog, Sophie. Another is a series of cardiovascular incidents which have motivated  me to refrain from eating animals for medical reasons. And another is my work at City Farm SLO, where the production of organic vegetables by small farmers and students is subject to the ravages of gophers and ground squirrels.

Sophie came into my life a year after the traumatic death of our previous family dog, a Yorkshire Terrier who had bonded closely with my wife Jan and the two grandchildren who were living with us but with whom my relationship was distant.  By the time that Jan acquired Sophie, we were empty nesters, and I was a goner.

1 sophie

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