What happened on 14th December in America and China must have been a nightmare for many parents all over the world. First, I was requested to pray for 20 children and 8 adults killed at the tragic shooting at the elementary school in America. Then, I was requested to pray for 22 children ruthlessly harmed by a mad person who was chopping them at a school in China. All the news channels in the next few hours or few days were about the killing in America, because 20 children aged between 5 to 10 years old died in the shooting.
My heart really goes to these innocent children and the teachers, the ones who were killed in America, and those children injured ruthlessly in China. If brought up correctly and nicely, these children should have been able to live a positive life, to contribute to the society and to eventually benefit many beings. Not only lives were lost, but opportunities to benefit self and others were also lost, which is something that I feel great pain about. I send my heartfelt condolences and prayers to their families and friends. My nuns at Druk Amitabha Mountain have started prayers for the deceased and also praying for the wounded children to recover soon.
We should understand the cause of such kind of tragedies, besides feeling sad and mourning about them, so that we will not make the same sort of mistakes again. This is very important. I call this a “social cloudburst”. Like a cloudburst caused by mistreatment of environment, tragedies happened because of a lot of social problems and carelessness in education. From a young age, children are exposed to negative information and are introduced to violence. Most of the most saleable computer games and movies are somehow introducing violence, without which they cannot sell well.
From these incidents, we need to understand that how many poor animals are suffering like us, they have families too. Like us, they would love to be happy, they feel pain, they feel love and hatred. We have to understand this and divert some of our compassion if not all, at least 15% of our loving and compassionate energy, towards the animals, towards those who are abused and slaughtered, every morning, every minute for our meals, to be our clothes, for our religious practices, for us to show off our material wealth, etc. Being kind and fair to other living beings is not only for the purpose of practising compassion, but also for the purpose that we don’t want the same kind of brutalities happen to us in any place, at any time. Unless we want to suffer like those beings on whom we bring suffering and pain, we should immediately transform our mind into harmless motivation and stop all the harmful activities.
I am not talking from the view of Buddhism or Buddhist philosophy, this is very much from the point of human logic. Unless we don’t really have the human logic or intelligence, then we don’t know, we can say that we are ignorant. We are human beings who are supposed to be more intelligent than any other living being, so we should know and we should refrain from being less than human. Unfortunately, a lot of human activities are now worse than those of animals, even 100 times worse than those carnivores. Just imagine, how painful those animals are feeling especially the parents and relatives of those animals who can see their children or sibblings slaughtered and abused. If it is painful and dreadful for us, it is very painful for them. They have no choice and they have no voice.
Unfortunately, we humans have become “terrorists” to many living beings. We take the lives of others and do harmful activities for stupid reasons, mainly for our own enjoyment. As so-called higher beings, we as humans should know how to treat the people and beings around us, and improve the lives of others in this world. We live in this world to love, and not to hate. Everybody, all the beings, need to be included in our compassion and love. This is what makes us human. We all have the reponsibility to serve this world and to make it a beautiful place to live for hundreds, thousands and millions of years from now. We are owners of our own deeds and our responsibility. So we cannot afford to be ignorant, pretending we don’t know the reality of what’s happening just next to us. One day, just one fine day, the same tragedies may happen to us. Individual and collective karma cannot be taken for granted. So we should not be stupid.
As a summary or conclusion, the tragedies with the children at two schools in two different countries have to be taken as a teaching for us, not only something to be sympathetic about. I know many kind hearted people are praying, including my students and friends, and of course I have been praying since I heard about what happened, but this won’t give us the solution to stop the cause. The question can only be answered when you have an analytical thought. If the question is answered, prayer will be answered. A prayer will not be answered if you don’t have the question answered.
I have here some information I found on the website of a very noble organisation, PETA, and I hope they don’t mind me copying and pasting the information here. Please, I urge, all my beloved students and friends, to consider being vegetarians gradually for the sake of others and yourself. Hatred will never breed love, only love will end hatred.
The annual Canadian harp seal hunt is underway. It’s by far the largest marine mammal hunt in the world and the only commercial hunt in which the target is the infant of the species. For six to eight weeks each spring, the ice floes of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the eastern coast of Newfoundland and Labrador turn bloody, as some 300,000 harp seal pups, virtually all between 2 and 12 weeks old, are beaten to death—their skulls crushed with a heavy club called a hakapik—or shot. They are then skinned on the ice or in nearby hunting vessels after being dragged to the ships with boat hooks. The skinned carcasses are usually left on the ice or tossed in the ocean.
Like lobsters, crabs are often thrown into pots of scalding-hot water and boiled alive. The crabs will fight so hard against a clearly painful death that their claws often break off in their struggle to escape. Some crabs used for food are electrocuted, some are chopped up, and others are microwaved—all while they are still conscious.
Like humans, lobsters have a long childhood and an awkward adolescence. Just like us they also carry their young for nine months and can live to be more than 100 years old. There really is no humane way to kill these sensitive and unusual animals. Chickens are arguably the most abused animal on the planet. More chickens are raised and killed for food than all other land animals combined.
In the U.S., more than 42 million cows suffer and die for the meat and dairy industries every year. When they are still very young, many cows are burned with hot irons (branded), their horns are cut or burned off, and male cattle have their testicles ripped out of their scrotums (castrated)—all without painkillers. Once they have grown big enough, they are sent to massive, filthy feedlots where they are exposed to the elements, to be fattened for slaughter. Many female cows are sent to dairy farms, where they will be repeatedly impregnated and separated from their calves until their bodies give out and they are sent to be killed.
Like all animals, cows form strong maternal bonds with their calves, and on dairy farms and cattle ranches, mother cows can be heard frantically crying out for their calves for several days after they have been separated.