By fellow initiate Kun Chen, New Jersey, USA (Originally in Chinese)
Before reading the book “The Dogs in My Life” written by Supreme Master Ching Hai, I wondered what message Master intended to convey with Her profound wisdom, because most people already treat dogs as their best friends. All the stories collected in the book reveal the extraordinary compassion of a Master, caring for human and animal refugees in desperate conditions. However this did not seem to be the real purpose of the author for publishing this book. What was the real purpose? As I read further, the answer quickly revealed itself.
Master said: “I hope to let the readers enjoy some glimpses of the beautiful ways dogs walk the Earth with us, and through them, understand more about other beings.”
So from that I surmised that this book must convey a spiritual philosophy and explore the relationships among all beings. Do a dog’s soul and a human’s soul come from the same source? What kind of relationships, both spiritual and emotional, should human beings establish with beings on Earth?
Indeed, we are very familiar with the canine species. However, while turning the pages of the book, I was taken by the variety of emotions that dogs are capable of expressing. Sometimes they look so sad as if bothered by a memory of their past; sometimes they are pensive, as if their mind is reaching out to some far away place; sometimes they seem to look inward to their inner being, sometimes outward to their environment; sometimes they are scared and sometimes they are confident and heroic; sometimes they are peaceful, sometimes excited; sometimes they seem to be on the verge of tears; sometimes they are thrilled with joy; sometimes they smile sweetly; sometimes they burst into laughter. The snapshots of moments in their lives present the ripples of their deep inner feelings and open a window for us to have a peek into their souls. It seemed so strange that I have never noticed such an obvious phenomenon before. After reading this book, I felt as if a new continent had been discovered!
I never knew that dogs could have such profound feelings and emotions and most of all, beautiful souls. Not only do they expect to receive deep love from human beings, they are also capable of giving back sincere, unconditional love. In the prologue of the book, Master writes, “All beings are like us…” This is truly amazing! Zhuangzi, an ancient Chinese philosopher, said in his Equalization of Things, “Heaven and Earth co-exist within me and all beings are one with me.” I’ve known this phrase for many years, but it is not easy to really experience this. However, after reading Master’s book, I did have that experience. Dogs and humans do have something in common; it is that our Souls are essentially one. It is so true that “It behooves us to be their good co-inhabitants, with all due respect, peace and love” and that “They should be loved, protected, and cherished, just like the life that we so wish.”
It is high time we transformed our relationship with animals. Animals such as lions and tigers can hurt and eat us. Thus humans are terrified just thinking about them. Imagine how we would feel being captured by the sharp claws of a lion or tiger. If we are terrified, why do humans believe they have the right to do harm to other beings and sink their human teeth into their flesh? It’s time for us to wake up. Jesus teaches that we should treat others exactly as you would like to be treated by them - this is the essence of all true religions. (Gospel of Matthew, 7:12) Confucius says, “Do not do to others, things you do not want others to do to you.” They taught the same thing. Should we not apply this teaching to the treatment of animals? This is the question the book “The Dogs in My Life” presents for readers to think about.