July 6, 2012
An overview by Dharma Voices for Animals
by Bob Isaacson and Norm Phelps
Dharma Voices for Animals, an organization committed to practicing the teachings of the Buddha (the Dharma) and to speaking out about animal suffering, contributed the entry on Buddhism for The HSUS Facts & Faith: Religious Statements on Animals online library.
Buddhism was founded some 2500 years ago by the Indian sage Siddhartha Gautama. "Buddha" is a title meaning "the enlightened one."
Buddhism is reported to be the world's sixth largest religion and one of the fastest growing faiths in the West.
There are approximately 385 million adherents, most of whom live in South Central, and East Asia.
Key teachings about Buddhism and animals include: animals and humans share the same essential nature; the highest Buddhist virtue is compassion, which we are to show to all sentient beings at all times; we should do all in our power to avoid causing suffering or death for any sentient being.
The researchers state, "All forms of Buddhist practice, in every denomination, are first and foremost programs for training the mind in gaining immediate, intuitive insight into the nature of the true reality and generating ever greater compassion for all sentient beings."