Got Milk? Ever wondered where that refreshing glass of milk comes from? In a moving passage about the animals who suffer in order that we may get our fill of butter, milk and related dairy products, Venerable Patrul Rinpoche wrote,
The majority of baby yaks, calves and lambs are killed. Those who are not, as soon as they are born and before they have had a chance to suckle even a mouthful of their mother’s sweet milk, have a rope tied around their necks and stay tethered to a stake during pauses on the road, and to each other during journeys, so that every mouthful of milk – their rightful food and drink – can be stolen to make butter and cheese. By taking the essence of the mother’s body, so vital to the baby, we leave them half way between life and death. When spring comes around, the old mother animals have become so weak that they cannot even get up from their stalls. The calves and lambs have mostly starved to death. The survivors, weak and skeleton-like, stagger about almost dead.
All the factors we now see as constituting happiness – food to eat, clothes to wear, and whatever goods and materials we can think of – are likewise produced through negative actions alone. The end result can only be the infinite torments of the lower realms. So everything that seems to represent happiness today is, in fact, the suffering of everything composite.
~ Patrul Rinpoche. Words of My Perfect Teacher: a complete translation of a classic introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. Yale University Press: 2011. p. 79
note: “the suffering of everything composite” is sometimes translated as “the suffering of pervasive change”