Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard on the profound incongruity with which we treat animals

Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard on the profound incongruity with which we treat animals

Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, also called the "happiest man in the world" after having his brain waves measured while meditating, was recently interviewed by Tricycle magazine about the gross inconsistency with which we treat animals today.

According to Ricard, although we have made a lot of progress on human rights, there is a huge gap in ethical coherence when it comes to the other eight million species that coexist with us in the world. While we correctly give infinite value to human life (without it being possible to put an amount on it), we basically give zero intrinsic value to other species except in cases that have a commercial or instrumental interest for us.

Ricard, who has studied with some of the greatest teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, maintains that the way we treat animals today causes us all to lose: the animals, the environment, and the poorest people. And, furthermore, there are no benefits to eating animals. For Buddhism there are even karmic damages due to the inability to understand that animals are sentient beings that also contain the same Buddha nature as human beings. In fact, Buddhism conceives of a kind of evolution that is not necessarily linear, in which animals can later reincarnate as humans and the same humans could later reincarnate on other planes, including as animals, ghosts or even gods.

The reasons why people continue to eat meat do not convince Ricard. He gives an interesting example. In a conference he asked the public: "who is in favor of ethics, morality and justice?" They all raised their hands. then he asked "who believes that it is ethical, just, and moral to inflict unnecessary suffering on a sentient being?" Nobody raised their hand. Ricard argues that no one really, except the Eskimos, needs to eat meat to survive. Apparently we behave in a rather contradictory way.

Ricard cites a study in Australia in which people answered why they eat meat as follows: 70% said because they like it; the second reason was that it was their tradition; the third because their family makes it difficult for them to be vegetarians and the last was because they do not know how to cook. These reasons are very weak if you want to maintain an ethical position in life.

The other theme that Ricard emphasizes is the difference with which we see certain animals. For example, we think it is okay to eat pork but not dog meat, although studies show, for example, that pigs are just as intelligent as dogs. On the other hand, in China people eat dogs and sometimes even beat them to death because this makes their meat softer. This is what is called "very species", discrimination according to the level of identification we have with a certain animal species.

Another contradictory case that Ricard mentions. Recently in France, the case of a man who threw a small cat named Oscar against the wall and filmed it caused a stir. People found him and, in a media frenzy, the man was sentenced to a year in jail. "But that same day, 500 thousand animals were killed in slaughterhouses and nobody said anything about it."

If Ricard's arguments don't convince you, maybe those of this UN report, which argues that human beings must implement a vegan diet by 2050 if we want to preserve the biosphere.

Video: The habits of happiness. Matthieu Ricard (May 2021).