In Buddhism, we see that all sentient beings are capable of thought and emotions. In some faiths and religion, they believe that only human beings have a soul. Buddhists do not share such a belief in a soul that is persisting, unchanging and has an independent existence, whether in human beings or in animals.
In Buddhism, we use the word “有情” for sentient beings, literally “with feelings / emotions”. All sentient beings have feelings, fear pain and want happiness. In this life, we may be born as a human being with greater intellect, in other lives, we may be born in other states or realms. Amidst the facade, we all have Buddha Nature, the potential to become totally free, free of defilements, free of worries, stress, anxieties and suffering. Free of limitations and boundaries to truly love, care and help others.
Recognising this potential in every sentient beings, it drives our outlook and mindset in life. It shapes our attitude towards fellow sentient beings.
Time and again, animals have proven to have emotions and exhibited loyalty and devotion to each other, and in the following case, to a human being.
For 12 hours, two herds of wild South African elephants slowly made their way through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of late author Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist who saved their lives.The formerly violent, rogue elephants, destined to be shot a few years ago as pests, were rescued and rehabilitated by Anthony, who had grown up in the bush and was known as the “Elephant Whisperer.”
While animals do not have the facial expression to express emotions the way we humans do, it does not mean that they do not have emotions or that they do not feel. Read on in the link above to find out how these herds of wild elephants and a man has an exchange of ‘words’ from the heart.