Extending its dominion to all forms of life,
the ‘I’ leads us to think that the beings who share this planet with us
are subject to our use and control.

At times in human history,
it has been possible to own people as serfs or slaves
with no concern for their suffering…

Women have been bought and sold as wives or servants,
their living conditions, lives, and deaths completely controlled by others.

Today, animals are thoughtlessly exploited for human use,
as companions, breeding stock, clothing, food,
and subjects for medical experimentation.

For centuries, many people would not acknowledge that animals,
or even some groups of human beings,
actually suffered pain.

By virtue of our intelligence
and ability to dominate the planet,
we have come to view the earth itself
as existing for our benefit,
subject only to the conflicting claims of our own kind.

Do we consider,
as we use the land we depend upon for food and homes,
that we may have a moral responsibility
to preserve its value for future generations?
For other beings?

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Knowledge of Freedom


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