Animals have always been regarded in Buddhist thought as sentient beings, different in their intellectual ability than humans but no less capable of feeling suffering. Furthermore, animals possess Buddha nature and therefore an equal potential to become enlightened. Moreover, the doctrine of rebirth held that any human could be reborn as an animal, and any animal could be reborn as a human. An animal might be a reborn dead relative, and anybody who looked far enough back through his or her infinite series of lives would eventually perceive every animal to be a distant relative.
The Buddha expounded that sentient beings currently living in the animal realm have been our mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, children, friends in past rebirths. One cannot, therefore, make a hard distinction between moral rules applicable to animals and those applicable to humans; ultimately humans and animals were [once] part of a single family. They [and we] are all interconnected. We will also discuss other religious beliefs and our own beliefs regarding animals as well as how the “human animal” fits into this interconnected web of life.
We will discuss the following videos:
The Magic Valley Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship meets every Sunday beginning at 10:30 AM at the Twin Falls Senior Center, 530 Shoshone Street West in Twin Falls. Newcomers are always welcome. Child care is available. For information, please contact Ken Whiting at 734-9161.