Matthieu Ricard (15 February 1946) is a French writer and Buddhist monk who resides at Shechen Tennyi Dargyeling Monastery in Nepal. He is also a photographer of the Tibet and the Himalayas, and a translator of numerous Buddhist texts.
- We must distinguish between spirituality in general terms, which aims to make us better people, and religion. Adopting a religion remains optional, but becoming a better human being is essential.
- The Quantum and the Lotus, translated by Ian Monk (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001), p. 264.
A Plea for the Animals (2014)
- A Plea for the Animals: The Moral, Philosophical, and Evolutionary Imperative to Treat All Beings with Compassion, translated by Sherab Chödzin Kohn (Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications, 2016). Original title: Plaidoyer pour les animaux (2014).
- We continue to live in ignorance concerning the harm we inflict on animals; very few of us have ever visited an industrial breeding site or a slaughterhouse. We maintain a kind of moral schizophrenia that has us lavishing pampering our pets and at the same time planting our forks in the pigs that have been sent to the slaughter by the millions, even though they are in no way less conscious, less sensitive to pain, or less intelligent than our cats and dogs.
- Introduction, p. 4
- The most striking quality that humans and animals have in common is the capacity to experience suffering. Why do we still blind ourselves, now at the beginning of the twenty-first century, to the immeasurable suffering that we inflict on animals, knowing that a great part of the pain that we cause them is neither necessary nor unavoidable? Certainly we should know that there is no moral justification for inflicting needless pain and death on any being.
- Introduction, p. 4
- Kindness, altruistic love, and compassion are qualities that do not harmonize well with bias. Restricting the field of our compassion not only diminishes it quantitatively but also qualitatively. Applying our compassion only to certain beings, human beings in this case, makes it a lesser and a poorer thing.
- Chapter 1, p. 39
- In the rich countries, depending on the species, 80 to 95 percent of the animals we eat are “produced” in industrial breeding operations where their short lives are an uninterrupted continuity of pain. All of that becomes possible the moment we begin to regard other living beings as objects for consumption or reserves of meat that we can deal with however we please.
- Chapter 4, p. 74
- Benevolence is not a commodity that needs to be distributed sparingly like cake or chocolate. It is away of being, an attitude, an intention to do good for those who enter our sphere of attention and the wish to alleviate their suffering. Loving animals also does not mean loving humans less. In fact, by also loving animals we love people better, because our benevolence is then vaster and therefore of better quality. Someone who loves only a selection of sentient beings, even of humanity, is the possessor of only fragmentary and impoverished benevolence.
- Chapter 5, p. 98
- Working to spare animals the immense suffering they undergo does not diminish by one iota my determination to alleviate human misery. Needless suffering must be done away with wherever it is, in whatever form it takes. This is a war that has to be waged on all fronts, and it can be.
- Chapter 5, p. 99
- It is not more anthropomorphic to postulate the existence of mental states in certain animals than it is to compare their anatomy, their nervous system, and their physiology to ours. When an animal is visibly joyous or sad, why not call things by their names?
- Chapter 6, p. 132