Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on January 6, 2014
This book sat around the house a long time before I finally read it. Don't make the same mistake. Read it now. The first part of the book, which briefly describes the incredible suffering we inflict upon animals, is depressing, sad, and otherwise difficult, but at the same time the author's description is precise, concise, and absolutely necessary. Given the subject matter, anything less would be glossing over the reality of the situation. The truth hurts, but without the truth, improvement is unlikely. No writer could have done better and all animals, humans included, should thank him for this book. The author, in my humble opinion, is also a great essayist, of Wendell Berry or Edward Abbey magnitude. And if that wasn't enough to make a great book . . .
As a lay practitioner of Buddhism, I found this to be one of the most personally relevant books on Buddhism that I've encountered, and I've encountered a bunch. It's rejuvenated my practice. Mr. Phelps' insights and perspectives have actually given me something "to do" with my Buddhism--a proactive way to practice compassion, i.e. by being vegan.
I've been vegetarian, but it didn't really help my mental state. This book brought me out of a selfish perspective, one of meditation and reflection, and into a more comprehensive perspective. It's not about our suffering. It's about their suffering. (This might be a direct quote from the book.) This perspective seems to be exactly what I needed and my "practice" now feels much more relevant. I seem less concerned about my own state of comfort, which once made facing animal abuse head-on difficult for me. I simply was unable to dwell upon it for long without feeling utter despair, but I find that being proactive is a subtle but important coping technique. Don't waste time worrying. Find peace through action. I have difficulty comprehending how any of us can ever have absolute peace when so much suffering is occurring, but the only hope would seem to be in actively seeking to eliminate as much of it as we can. All Buddhists should take a long hard look at animal suffering and this book is the place to start.