A poor woman works at a construction site. Under the shade of a small umbrella nearby, her little baby keeps crying. She excuses herself from work from time to time to breastfeed him but it’s not enough to quench his hunger and thirst. During the lunch break, she walks into the nearby hotel and requests the owner if she could have a glass of milk for her baby but the owner tells her that she has to pay if she wants the milk. She does not have any money. So with a blush on her face, she comes back to work. The baby is still crying hard but there’s nothing she can do to help him.
It is very sad that animals can’t speak our language and many of us do not have the heart to feel their emotions. Although they can’t express pain and suffering as we kill them, there is no doubt that they too love themselves like we do and have the right to live like us. In fact, I believe we all have a soft corner within our heart that naturally responds to any pain or suffering we see around us, but our worldly desires and greed often overshadow this sensitive part of us and turn us into monsters. I have realized that there are some people who exist like robots and can afford to do anything without even the slightest sense of guilt.
Human beings are the only creature blest with the biggest brain and because of this, we are far more advanced than other animals in terms of our capacity to think, judge and act. We have moved carefully and consciously through every stage of human civilization and our experiences have made us a perfect social animal in the world today. We are the only animal capable of understanding and respecting others’ emotions. We are biologically wired to show compassion and love to those who are near and dear to us. Indeed, great masters say that when we are born, we all are born with Buddha nature in us. But as we grow up with modernization, it seems some of us are losing those human values we have been born and brought up with.
The year 2003 was coming to an end and we were preparing to go back to our college. It was a cool winter afternoon in Phuntsholing. The month of December had just begun and our college was due to be re-opened in a week’s time after the winter vacation. So, I and a few other friends were on our way back to our college in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India. We had reached Phuntsholing town from Thimphu the day before and we were due to leave for Calcutta at 2:30 pm that afternoon. After checking out from the hotel, I and my friend Sangay Tshering who is currently a lecturer at Samtse College of Education went to buy some eatables and drinks to be taken to the college. We entered a store and bought a few bottles of traditional Bhutanese pickle and some other eatables. By then, it was already about 1:00 pm and we hadn’t even had our lunch. So, we were in a hurry and as soon as we got our things packed up and bills cleared, we rushed out to go to a restaurant for lunch. But as we came out of the shop and hurried away, a sweet-voiced young girl called out in a shy voice, “Could you kindly give me Rs.10 please?” I don’t know whether she was a Bhutanese or an Indian. She was speaking Nepali.