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Lions Roar : November 2016
I was born into a Breton family, and until I was fourteen years old I often used to go fishing. I also remember when I was very young my friends from the local school and I once grilled ants by focusing the sun’s rays on them with a magnify- ing glass. Looking back, I am ashamed of this, but it upsets me even more that such behavior struck me as normal. When I was five, my father took me to see the bullfights in Mexico. It was a celebration. The music was exciting. Everybody seemed to feel this was a great SOME PEOPLE ARE BORN with a natural tendency to be compassionate. From an early age, they show spontane- ous kindness toward those around them, including animals. This was not the case for me. FROM WHERE I SIT A Plea for the Animals Animals feel suffering and want to live—just like us. Why, asks MATTHIEU RICARD, do we withhold our compassion and kill these sentient beings by the billions? occasion, that all of this was wonder- ful. Why didn’t I leave in tears? Was it a lack of compassion, of education, of imagination? At the age of twenty I had the great good fortune of meeting Tibetan spiri- tual masters, who from that time on have inspired every moment of my existence. The central point of their teachings has been the royal way of love and universal compassion. Although for a long time I had not been able to put myself in others’ places, CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE MATTHIEU RICARD is a Buddhist monk, translator, and PhD in molecular physics. His newest book is A Plea for the Animals: The Moral, Philosophical, and Evolutionary Im- perative to Treat All Beings with Compassion (Shambhala Publications). ©123DUCU/ISTOCK LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2016 17