Here are two references about the importance of compassion that we must try to practise with all including the animals.
Last week the Dalai Lama said, “I knew a Tibetan monk for a long time. He was taken away to a Chinese gulag and kept there for 18 years. When he was released he fled to India, along with other Tibetans, for refuge”.
He continued calmly, “I met him and asked him about his experiences in prison”. The monk replied, “At times I was in great danger”.
“What kind of danger?” asked the Dalai Lama. “I was in danger of losing my compassion towards my Chinese captors”, he replied.
How do you deal with an ‘enemy’, someone who actually has inflicted pain upon you, asked someone. “Your enemy”, replied the Dalai Lama to all listening, “becomes an object for you to practise compassion. It is easy to practise compassion on those you love, but the enemy becomes an object for you to further your practice”.
Compassion is not something that’s meant to be shown only to humans; we need to be sensitive towards other living beings too.
Swami Vivekananda would say: “Always cultivate the heart, for through the heart the Lord speaketh, but through the intellect you yourself speak”.
In Belur Math, Kolkata, the Swami lived with his dog Bagha, goat Hansi, an antelope, a stork, several cows, sheep, ducks, geese and a kid called Matru with whom the Swami played like a little child.
Ramakrishna Paramhansa was fond of a dog in the Dakshineshwar temple garden. He called the dog Captain and he often sat on the front terrace of Mother Kali’s temple.
Captain was devoted to Ramakrishna who would remark: “Captain has been born as a dog as the result of his karma. He had some good samskaras (tendencies) in his previous life, so he is here. He is a blessed soul”.