Today I did an experiment together with my supervisor, and after we finished it, I showed him a refrigerator which contained animal carcasses that died during experiments. Then he remarked that we should call a monk to pray for their souls. Earlier this week, we have just planned next year’s project and it turned out that there is a possibility that I will kill hundreds of mice next year. My supervisor then asked me whether I need help to do the whole project. At first actually he asked my lab mate to help me, but then he remembered that my lab mate was a Buddhist so he couldn’t help me. So today was the second time within a week his Buddhist belief came to the surface when we talked.
Indeed, I think he must, to some degrees, deny himself when we did this project, since it involved killing animals, which was contrary to Buddhist belief. And, to think about it, our team used a Christian (that’s me!) to do the dirty work. Not to say that every Christians would agree that we could kill animals for research, though. There will be some Christian groups which object animal use in research (random search in Google resulted in an example of such groups). But I guess the major position would be to sanction such usage. Indeed, perhaps it is assumed that we can use animals in research. We just don’t question about it anymore. That’s why these conversations with my supervisor are good to stimulate a re-assessment of my own position. And I believe that’s what interaction with other beliefs should do. It will deepen your conviction, in some cases, but it can certainly mutate your earlier position in others. And anyway belief is not static; it is dynamic. Six or seven years ago, what I called ‘we’ would be the Buddhists, unlike today, which would mean the Christians. Shall I say, semper reformanda?