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To create a peaceful world an attitude of compassion for all sentient beings is essential.

09/09/2012

Earthlings (2005) is film about humans’ use and abuse of animals: pets, food, clothing, entertainment, research. Joaquin Phoenix (the film’s narrator) said, “Of all the films I have ever made, this is the one that gets people talking the most. For every one person who sees Earthlings, they will tell three.” Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation states, “If I could make everyone in the world see one film, I’d make them see Earthlings.”

I managed to stay alert but only until the heading “Food” appeared on the screen. It was then that I pressed the “off” button; I was not prepared (actually not able) to observe the gross brutality by humans towards sentient beings: their suffering, their fear, their pain, their panic. It was said that for those who watch Earthlings, the world will never be the same. I’m not sure if that automatically follows. Not at all!

I do know that the scale of animal harms is beyond our collective imaginations, of that I certain. In order to create a peaceful world an attitude of compassion for all sentient beings is a essential. It cannot be otherwise. The Buddha’s Words on Loving-kindness (The Karaniya Metta Sutta):

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skilful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease!

Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

Amaravati Buddhist Centre
Great Gaddesden, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP1 3BZ
United Kingdom

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