by George Payne, founder of Gandhi Earth Keepers International
Posted by tinako on March 6, 2015
I think this book excerpt from The N.Y. Times, “On Smushing Bugs,” is just beautiful.
I love his wording – a “karmic broken-window theory,” “the oubliette of the vacuum bag,” and his natural compassion tested by “the tiny black turd in my mug.”
I love the picture; this man is about to kill, but he is looking, peeking even though it is painful, and he sees. He sees an anthropomorphic cartoon ant, but… more metaphorically, he sees himself in the ant, as the Buddha said:
All beings tremble before violence.
All love life.
All fear death.
See yourself in others.
Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?
But mostly I love his humility, his questioning, his looking deeply into himself, looking for the truth no matter where it takes him, even to a cliff or dead end of choices he doesn’t want to make.
This isn’t a how-to essay, and claims only to ask questions, not answer them, so he doesn’t mention that prevention adds a choice between re-washing all your dishes every day or pulling on your executioner’s hood.
I must admit to mixed results with prevention. But maybe we don’t need all the answers right away. Maybe looking, within and without, is the path to figuring out how we want to be in the world.
Posted by tinako on March 5, 2015
I don’t usually just repost news stories, but this one is so close to my heart and so exciting I just have to share:
Mr. Feld says they’re reacting to the changing public mood. Thank you to everyone who told him what you think of Ringling’s use of elephants.
Posted by tinako on March 2, 2015
I’m in the local AR group Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate N.Y. We just re-launched our website, arauny.org, with a schedule of local writers contributing to our blog a few times a week.
Check it out and subscribe by email or social media for updates.
Posted by tinako on February 28, 2015
As February winds down and we look forward to spring, a grim reality disguised as “tradition” comes forth. The annual slaughter of baby harp seals begins as soon as the pups start shedding their white coats and ice conditions permit. A white, pristine nursery where hundreds of thousands of seal mothers nurse their young becomes a horrifying, bloody killing field.
Posted by tinako on January 29, 2015
I’ve been listening to old podcasts by Gary Francione while I clean, and while I don’t agree with everything I’ve read of his, I’ve found an awful lot of sense in these audio commentaries. One of the points he makes is to stop telling people that vegetarianism is morally better than omnivorism.
This has sunk in, and a concrete effect is that when people ask how long I’ve been vegan, I have made a personal choice to stop mentioning when I went vegetarian, which was 15 years earlier. I’ve also removed it from any social website bios. I had been taking credit for that 15 years, but the dairy cows and egg-laying hens are unimpressed, and I no longer want to trumpet it.
I’m vegan. I’ve been vegan since Easter 2008, full stop. Before that I was an omnivore.
Posted by tinako on November 24, 2014
A local hunter was accidentally shot in the face on opening day here; I guess he’s going to be OK. Some in our AR community struggled with their feelings following this news; how does it make you feel? After about a week of online comments, I offered the following:
With understanding that it is normal and natural to have many different reactions to this news story, but that we can choose which paths to follow, I wonder if anyone would be interested in my understanding of karma, which others here have been mentioning? If not, click delete. Nothing here is new, just hopefully clarity on a concept that is often muddled with several meanings, and how karma can work for us.
By my understanding: Karma was originally Hindu, and that is the idea most modern people have of karma: divine justice, something (“the universe”) or someone who keeps track and evens the score. The Buddha, who lived in Hindu India, found this unhelpful because it didn’t allow room for change. He understood that even good people may have to suffer for their past harmful actions, but that they would be better off because of the good they were doing now (example: Angulimala) – pertinent to any of us who ever screwed up! Anyway, Buddhist karma can be seen in two lights: One is the ripple effect, that the kind acts or speech or even “vibe/energy” we put out, affects others and has a chance of coming back to us – we are making the world a better place, and that’s the place we live, so it’s better for us. Even if the effect is small, we are not making things worse. I think this is pretty evidently true. The second way Buddhist karma can be understood is that no matter what effect our acts have “out there,” they have done something to us on the way out. For example, loving someone who hates us is better than hating them, because we will be happier filled with love than with hate. I have found this “instant karma” to be true as well, and the effect will probably be huge, life-changing. So you see, Buddhist karma is more like a law of nature than a faith in justice.
Celebrating accidental violence may fill us with a much-needed sense of satisfaction that the scorekeeper is on duty, but how does it impact us under the Buddhist understanding? What do we set into the world when we express gladness at others’ misfortunes (what kind of world are we creating), and what does this Schadenfreude (harm-joy) do to us on the way out?
None of this is to say that a person struggling with feelings of joy is a bad person, just that an understanding of the harm it does to ourselves and others may be useful in letting it go. And we can choose to be glad that the man is not hunting right now, without being glad that it’s because he was hurt.