A few days ago, I decided to tackle one task on my growing to-do list – to glue
the handle of one of my gardening tools…a pitchfork. The pitchfork is old and weathered from being left out to the elements for many, many years. The varnish on the handle had worn off, but it was still very useable.
Before inserting and gluing the handle to the pitchfork, I gave the tapered end a quick cleaning with my gloved hand and found the wood to be rotted. So, I gently pounded the handle into the cement walkway to rid as much rotten wood as possible. I looked down and saw a bumblebee among the rotted debris. It was curled up, on it’s back, moving its legs very weakly…it was trying to right itself. So, I took a small shovel and gently placed it on the grass. It was still on it’s back, wiggling to right itself. So I decided to help it by turning it over onto its legs. You could tell it was pretty weak.
How do you rehab a bumblebee? Do you do anything? Do you give it water or sugar water? While I’m thinking these thoughts and watching the bee struggle, it suddenly took flight. I watched it as it started flying away from me, and then suddenly, it turned around and flew towards me, and hovered about 2 feet from me – eye to eye. And the bee hovered in front of me for about 2 seconds, looking at me, as if to say, “Thank you for saving my life.” Then, he flew away forever.
I was awed and amazed by this moment of ‘metaphysical exchange’ between human and insect and wondered if insects, being living things, are considered animals. It turns out they are and belong to the most diverse group of animals on the planet that includes more than a million described species.
I wondered, “are all living organisms, particularly animals, able to ‘feel’? If this is true, then the concept of love and compassion should be universal to all living beings. If you are a Buddhist, moral conduct is built on the concept of universal love and compassion for ALL living beings. So that means, animals are not any lesser than humans, and that harm done to them is harm done to oneself.
So, in this situation with the bumblebee and me, we are equal, neither being more nor less.