Saturday, July 17, 2010

do cows cry?

People come to A Buddhist Perspective many ways, one of which is through keyword searches. I just saw that a recent keyword search was "do cows cry." I cannot answer that but immediately remembered a story a good, and trusted, friend had related to me.

He and his wife were visiting their son and his wife who lived out of town on some acreage that was next to a farm. One morning during the visit, they all awoke to sounds of cows in great distress. Not knowing what was happening, but concerned, the four of them drove over to the farm and found the farmer.

When they asked what was happening, he explained.

One of the older cows had died during the night. When he heard the lowing, he went to the field and saw that the cows were all standing around the dead one and lowing in great distress. He quickly got his tractor, dug a deep hole, and maneuvered the dead cow into the hole.

To his amazement the cows positioned themselves around the hole and one or two even tried to climb down into it. The others were around the rim and the older ones pushed their way to to the edge of the hole as the younger ones were pushed away to stand behind the older ones. It was as if senior mourners had taken their place before younger ones. The farmer had had the older cows since they were calves and hadn't wanted to kill animals just because they were not productive so the herd had been together for several years.

My friend had shaken his head when he told me of this, saying he had never seen anything like it before.

So. Do cows cry? I do not know. But apparently, they can feel loss and great sadness and distress. Something we would do well to understand.

The above is a photo taken in late 2008 in Sri Lanka. The monk had come to where the cows were to save them from being killed. After he had done so, the above occurred. Prostrating is a traditional way of paying utmost respect to a monastic in Asia.

by Venerable Wuling

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