Love of nature — biophilia. Some have argued that it’s imprinted in our very genes. It’s certainly in our institutions. Many religions emphasize respect for nature and for animals, as was evident at this 1000 year old Buddhist temple.The buildings were decorated with many different animals. Here’s one, in honor of the International Year of the Bat:
Of course, religions don’t always treat animals with respect. Overall its probably fair to describe their stance on animals as ambivalent. In that way they’re like another institution that has become a part of our society, the zoo. Thus it seems only appropriate that the Zhaojue Temple is next door to the Chengdu Zoo. It would be nice to think that the giraffes find some comfort in gazing over at the temple…. but probably not.