West Meets East—Vegetarians and the Dalai Lama August 19, 2007 11:35 PM
Message: West Meets East—Vegetarians and the Dalai Lama (4 comments) — West Meets East—Vegetarians and the Dalai Lama Over the past year, much outrage has been expressed over the diet of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. In the mid 1960s, the Dalai Lama was impressed by ethically vegetarian ... more
I am actually trying to develop this concept within my own mind and in my own experience -- to re-create the concept by attempting to be a tribal native myself, and to evolve has humanity did, with its animal friends. I am 100% convinced that because nature is our environment, wild animals are naturally our friends, and each others' friends, as much as they can be considering the circumstances brought on by hunger.
I was walking along a trail that was converted from a railroad, and I thought about our probably vegetarian past and I looked around for possible locations for growing things. What I saw were swamps that had filled with dirt -- the process of eutrification -- and formed highly nutrient soils with abundent moisture: perfect for growing.
From that thinking, and your alerting us to this Buddhist crisis we are facing -- it is a crisis-- I created this text about our natural relationships with nature, and especially wild animals:
Empathy along different routes has been the triumph of evolution. Knowing that empathy has evolved farther in whale species than it has in humans defies the concept that humans are somehow, either by the hand of fate or God, superior beings.
The superior concept is empathy; humans can conceivably connect emotionally with animals in ways that may be more meaningful than human connections. Human empathic relationships with wild animals historically very likely led to the domestication of animals, effectively bringing the wilderness into the home. All dogs, as an example, are descendant of the wolf, and the dog is among the domestic animals closest to human families.
A capital approach to the idea of domestication would be that livestock was bred from animals captured by humans, but the notion that wolves would be captured by humans and held in captive breeding programs defies logic, if one accepts common perceptions about wolves. More likely the natural loyalty of wolves to their families, their natural empathy, enjoined them to human families, and those families over many centuries brought the wolf closer and closer to allow the wolf evolve into domestication as the dog. It seems reasonable then that many if not all of the domesticated animals were brought closer to humanity through their natural empathy , as Darwin described the roots of empathy, and the natural empathy of humans, and domesticated as part of the process of the growth of human society.
Along with animals humans domesticated plants of course, and many of these plants work well to enhance the availability of proteins necessary for human life. With these protein rich plants, humans can continue their empathic relationships with their domesticated animals by not having to rely on them as a form of food, and keeping them as family members. Most important of these plants is the soy bean; I have hypothesized that the soybean was domesticated from a need not just to supply humanity with necessary proteins, but as an empathic attempt to allow a beneficial relationship between humanity and humanity's domesticated animals. Historical information about the development of the soybean shows that it has developed in Asia as one might guess, but does not place it in a particular part of Asia. When meditating on the beauty of the system which created the soybean, one wants to think of the soybean in terms of the growth of the higher and more empathic mentality that forms the basis of the Asian spiritualities the contributed to such humanisms as Buddhism.