Kindness to all life


A saw a new Shambala book called A Plea for the Animals.

It looks interesting, and I am sure it can help shifting something for many who reads it.

Here are a few things that come to me on this topic:

As Buddhism reminds us, all beings wish to be alive, happiness and avoid suffering. They are just like us. We are all alike in this.

When we treat other beings with kindness, we live from kindness and that benefits us and our well-being immediately.

When we consider the far reaching and long term effects of our actions, for all beings and future generations, it’s a practice that benefits us now. The solutions that benefit life overall are most likely the best for us right now as well. (Myoptic solutions often come with serious and unexpected drawbacks.)

If we have human rights, why not extend similar rights to all beings? They too feel, bleed, hunger, wish to stay alive, wish to avoid suffering, and wish for a good life.

It may take some effort to live like this, and most of us won’t do it consistently, but I find it helpful to keep this in mind and use these as guidelines for myself. At the very least, it helps me stay honest. And it may also guide me in my decisions and life.

An additional thought:

It’s important to give a real voice to the voiceless. In this case, non-human beings and future generations. They need someone to speak for them in politics, our legal system, and through our society. They also need real leverage to influence politics and regulations. This will be an important correction to often short-sighted policies and actions, and bring in a bigger-picture thinking that benefits all of us. Big picture thinking often creates better solutions in the long run, and also in the short run (more elegant, efficient, and comprehensive solutions).

Legal rights for nonhuman species, ecosystems, and future generations


For a while now, there has been  legal protection for some nonhuman individuals, endangered species, and ecosystems.

And it’s slowly expanding. For instance, earlier today Sandra, an orangutan at an Argentinian zoo, was granted limited human rights.

Nonhuman individuals, species, ecosystems, and future generations all need not only legal protection, but also legal representation. We need people who can give them voice in the legal and political system, and it needs to be institutionalized.

This is not only good for them, but for us too. We all benefit from a society where all beings – including future generations – have rights and protection. It will give us incentive to organize ourselves so that what’s easy and attractive is also good for life in general. And what’s good for life in general, is good for us. After all, we are an intrinsic part of the processes and dynamics of Earth.

I imagine a future society where this is a given. And where they look back at our time, and wonder how we could allow the cruelty to animals we see today, and an economical and production system that is set up so ordinary activities destroys our own life support system.