The Buddha taught the Noble Eightfold Path as the way to extinguish suffering. It describes how to live ethically, thereby redressing the in-balance we experience in the world. I have adapted the traditional descriptions of the Noble Eightfold Path to include specific references to the practice of animal advocacy.
- Right Understanding. Study the Four Noble Truths to deepen your understanding of the nature of suffering. Apply this insight to address our complex relationship with animals. Recognise the existence of suffering, comprehend its origin and understand how to end it. Make the magical connection. Learn and understand. Think and solve. Imagine an honest, compassionate, peaceful society and your place within it.
- Right Thought. Recognise selfish and violent thinking. Reject these negative thoughts as they lack truth, compassion and prevent interbeing. Nurture positive and altruistic thinking. Discard selfish, negative and violent thoughts, including hatred, misanthropy, martyrdom, violence. Cultivate selfless, positive and nonviolent thoughts toward extending the magical connection and compassion to all beings. Think your vision.
- Right Speech. Do not lie, foster hatred, foment violence and feed alienation. Speak the truth to inspire compassion, nonviolence and interbeing. Do not speak selfishly, negatively or encourage violence. Do not speak maliciously about animal advocates, organisations and the movement. Speak positively and constructively. Be a leader in your thoughts and words as they will foster compassion for everyone. Speak your vision.
- Right Action. Do not destroy life. Cease other negative behaviours. Live by positive example. Inspire others to lead honest, compassionate and peaceful lives. Be a vegan but understand that thoughts and feelings also destroy life. Be a leader in your actions as they will foster universal love and compassion for all beings. Act your vision.
- Right Livelihood. Develop a lifestyle that is ethically right for you which not only makes a positive contribution to society but also makes the least impact on animals and the planet. Live by a profession that is honourable, blameless and innocent of harm to others. It is vital that volunteers and employees of organisations act professionally, responsibly and honourably. Encourage compassionately those who profit from animal cruelty and exploitation to understand their actions. Inspire them to change. Let your vision be your work wherever you are employed.
- Right Effort. Be positive, creative and altruistic. Be steadfast in your altruistic commitment to animal rights to not only free them from our subjugation but also to bring about benefits for our selves and the planet. Learn how to develop your practice of vegan, cruelty-free living to include the cultivation of a loving and compassionate mind. Let your vision be your motivator.
- Right Mindfulness. Work diligently. Be mindful of your relationships with others. Lead by example with your practice of animal advocacy. Be mindful of the body and to not abuse it. Be ever conscious of one’s thoughts and feelings so that they are loving and compassionate. Be ever vigilant in cultivating a loving and compassionate heart and mind. Be mindful of keeping your vision.
- Right Concentration. Be disciplined but not self-reproaching. Be honest, compassionate, nonviolent and embrace interbeing. Imagine those animals who we cruelly treat and place them in your thoughts and give them refuge in your heart. Always concentrate on your vision.
Learn more about my forthcoming book, Animal Dharma, here.