I’ve just been watching a programme on Tibet in the Wild China series. There are some lovely pieces of work between the people and animals including in one village caring for a black-necked crane with a broken wing.
One thing was brought out by the commentator, that the Tibetan Buddhist people did good works in order to get the equivalent of “brownie points” for their next lives.
I’m staggered by this although I know most people only do things in order to gain rewards.
What are we doing? What are we thinking of? Why do many people only do something if they get something back for it?
I regularly support some animal charities, particularly Cats Protection and the Mann Cat Sanctuary as I’m a cat-person. I don’t do this in the hope of getting a better deal in my next incarnation! Nor do I do it to gain kudos in this one. I do it because my heart cries out for the pain and misery that so many creatures have to go through because of human beings. I cannot not do it. Whatever I can manage I must do to help my fellows … because I love them and because I can feel their pain.
And I know I’m not alone in this. All the dear folk who work at the Mann Cat Sanctuary do it for similar reasons to me. The same goes for Cats Protection and the other charities like the Dyfi Osprey Project.
Many “spiritual” folk think these attitudes of getting brownie points for good works are the right way … oh ye gods! Can they not see how selfish these attitudes are, so very far away from the enlightenment they profess? In the last couple of thousand years we have gone so far away from the way we were for most of the million years we’ve been on this planet Earth. We no longer know ourselves as part of the whole which is our Mother, the Earth. Most of the 7+ billion people who currently inhabit the planet have a “them-and-us” attitude to nature and TV programmes encourage this antagonistic attitude. We are fools! The only place this combative attitude exists in our own heads!
I see it in the way many people propose to “train” their dogs, and their children as well. They do it by bribery! They say “sit” to the dog and give him or her a treat when she does! What crap! I grew up with dogs, Alsatians (German shepherds). We never used treats. We bonded with our dogs and worked together and the same with my horses too. And I was never bribed to behave well when I was a child. I learned what was needed, that I was part of a whole and that I could help and be useful in that whole. I never expected my parents to do everything for me and they never did, we all worked together as part of a whole … a family.
If you begin with bribery you end with corruption. Corrupted dogs and horses, corrupted kids! And you expect a good, kind and loving world based on that? If you do you have to be mad.
Watching and listening on social media, to the news, to wildlife programmes, to science programmes, I’m left with the realisation that most of the world is selfish and mean, only does things for personal gain. It’s a very unpleasant feeling. I know there are others who do things because they truly love, who are willing to give without needing sweeties.
How can we help people to change from this selfish attitude? As Albert Schweitzer said, “A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.”
Perhaps we can try it?