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What is religion? Compassion for all things, which have life. — Hindu Hitopadesha (Sanskrit collection of fables)

Animals can communicate quite well.And they do.And generally speaking, they are ignored. — Alice Walker, African American author

In this session we will focus on the third Unitarian Universalist Source expressed in child friendly language as, "the ethical and spiritual wisdom of the world's religions."

The story "The Cat" comes from the Hindu tradition and illustrates the importance of kindness to animals, reflected in the Hindu teaching of "ahimsa," or non-harm. Participants deepen their empathy for all Earth's living beings as they consider the ways they interact with animals.

NOTE: The main activity includes visiting with live animals. Arrange this in advance, first finding out about any allergies in the group and any congregational policies about live animal visitors. If you cannot host live animals, use Alternate Activity 3, Role Play, instead.

Goals

This session will:

  • Introduce the third Unitarian Universalist Source in child-friendly language, "the ethical and spiritual wisdom of the world's religions"
  • Introduce the Hindu religion through a story about the god Ganesha
  • Introduce "ahimsa," or "non-harm," a Hindu concept from which we draw wisdom about our right relation with animals
  • Emphasize our connections and interdependence with other living beings and foster an ethic of kindness towards all living beings.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Learn the third Unitarian Universalist Source, in child-friendly language, "the ethical and spiritual wisdom of the world's religions"
  • Learn about the Hindu religion through a story about the god Ganesha and exploration of the concept of "ahimsa" (non-harm)
  • Understand how wisdom from another religion, Hinduism, can guide Unitarian Universalists, with love, into right relation with animals
  • Develop understanding of animal communication and deepen empathy toward animals.

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For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.