How might our relations with the many animals who live beside us be part of our ethical practice? How do we cultivate skillful compassion for our fellow creatures who are facing ever-increasing suffering in our contemporary global society?
In our three sessions together we will focus on developing our compassion and commitment to animal welfare through Buddhist-inspired practices. We invite both animal lovers and those with little sympathy for animals; our goal is to amplify our appreciation of the value of animals and reinforce our commitment to act ethically towards them.
In the first session we will inquire into animal virtues and values and explore questions of animal ethics in Buddhism and Western thought. The second session will engage practices to cultivate animal sensitivity and compassion. These include periods of mindful attention to animal points of view, imagined empathy with animal-centered perspectives, and visualization techniques that increase our own capacity to envision a world of ethical kinship between all creatures. In our third session we will consider the impact of these practices on our own moral cultivation, along with practical steps we can take to improve animal welfare.
Each session will consist of a presentation followed by a discussion. Together, we will engage in thought experiments and practices which will enlarge our leadership capacities for social change in order to benefit animal flourishing and decenter human dominance on Planet Earth.