By, Katie Rogers
I am not surprised to find the Dalai Lama’s great respect for animals. However, although it is his belief that the highest form of compassion is vegetarianism, he is not one himself. Part of this is shown through Buddhist tradition how monks are only supposed to eat what is placed in their bowl. Despite this fact, he has made it so all official Tibetan run functions serve vegetarian food.
It was in 2010 that the Dalai Lama had all pig and chicken farms run by Tibetans closed down. The way the animals are treated upsets him as well as the fact that animals are raised for commercial purposes. To act on this, His Holiness created a shelter in Ladakh in which he buys the sheep and goats that would otherwise be slaughtered and lets them die a natural death. “Animals are not vegetables. They are intelligent. They feel pain and suffering like human beings,” the Dalai Lama explained.
A way of compassion is Ahimsa. It is a form of compassion and wisdom, meaning non-killing. The Tibetans have practiced this by opening vegetarian restaurants consisting of foods from Tibetan, China, India and America.
Animal testing for medical reasons is another issue that the Dalai Lama doesn’t agree with. “We must do research and develop scientifically. But no testing on animals. No animal products. Medicines must be made with compassion.” I’m sure it is safe to say that it’s not an understatement when someone says you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat animals.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama will speak on Oct. 18 and 19 at Western Connecticut State University, and the public is invited to a free showing (video simulcast) in the Ives Concert Hall, 181 White St. To help promote this opportunity, WCSU students in the Writing, Linguistics and Creative Process Department's Advertising, Copywriting and Promotions class created a blog and a Twitter page.