Animal World
The Shining World Compassion Award: The New Dawn Montana Farm Sanctuary      
Everywhere in the world, we can observe and be touched by acts of kindness. People from all walks of life, faiths, and cultures extend themselves beyond the call of duty to help others unconditionally. Through their noble deeds, humanity as a whole is elevated.

To commend virtuous actions and encourage more people to be inspired by their examples, Supreme Master Ching Hai has lovingly created a series of awards, including the Shining World Leadership Award, Shining World Compassion Award, Shining World Hero and Heroine Awards, Shining World Honesty Award, Shining World Protection Award, Shining World Intelligence Award, and Shining World Inventor Award, to recognize some of the most exemplary, generous, caring, and courageous people who walk amongst us.

It’s an act of love, predominantly that drives me to do this because of the victimization of animals by us humans. And, it’s also part of my mission to help our human race evolve to become the more compassionate beings we were meant to be. It’s going to be a better world if we model that kind of a way of being with other creatures.

After retiring in 2007, Susan Eakins and her husband Lee made a truly courageous decision. They took their life savings and bought eight hectares of land in a rural part of Montana, USA. They acquired the parcel not to build a residence for themselves, but to create a loving home for rescued farmed animals. Today they operate Montana’s only vegan refuge for such animals, the New Dawn Montana Farm Sanctuary. Susan and Lee humorously refer to running New Dawn as their “second but unpaid career.”

There was a dire need for a safe haven for farm animals, for what is considered food-farmed animals, which are animals that are raised for eating and production use and their leather and whatever. And it distressed me deeply that this was going on. And this was a safe haven to bring fortunate animals to so that they could live out their natural lifespans and be respected and loved and cared for, and it’s been a joy. It’s been a joy.

The sweet animal residents came to the refuge for different reasons. Some had been previously abused and placed at New Dawn by court order, others became homeless after their caregiver passed on, while still others were rescued from factory farms.

We are contacted by various organizations, looking for someone to take the animal for various reasons, maybe they were adopted or beaten.

For example, one of the earliest cows we got, he’s a male cow that had been beaten.

For a long time we couldn’t even get within a couple hundred feet. But little by little, the cow started accepting us and now the cow eats out of our hands. So, it’s a good ending on this one.

I’m a very big one on ethics; that we’re going to evolve. Humankind will evolve as we treat our animals better, as we treat the least amongst us (better), because in major religions it’s always a message to be kind to those who are vulnerable. And I can’t think of a more vulnerable thing than how we are deciding whether to dominate or be stewards of animals. And I choose the latter.

Currently the Sanctuary is home to 55 friendly animals. The pigs, goats, sheep, cows, lamas and chickens at the haven are enjoying a new life of love and freedom in a big family setting. Time and again Susan Eakins feels deeply touched just being in the animals’ presence.

When I’m with my animals, I see such unique individuals. They are so precious and they’re so individual, and it’s so hard to imagine the countless billions of animals around the world that are cruelly raised and have horrific deaths. There is no such thing as happy meat. There’s no kind ending. By people getting to visit these animals and be with these animals, I have had many people say, “That cow, I never realized had such a cute personality.” And maybe they will have the seed planted to rethink and go to eating a plant-based diet.

The couple reach out to the region’s young generation in a variety of ways, ranging from offering internships at New Dawn to bringing in students for tours of the refuge.

We coordinate with the University of Montana (USA) and also with other schools if they want to get involved. And we do open our facility for student internships. And it could be a student coming to do a paper or spending a semester and getting credits the same way that they would taking a class on campus. We also are open to groups and other students. And we have an educational center that has materials and information that helps change hearts and minds about how they view what’s on their plate.

Besides helping foster beautiful new human-animal relationships at the Sanctuary by allowing guests to interact with the residents, the couple also has started a new community tradition by hosting joyful vegan potlucks.

Now we’re in the Missoula, Montana area, that’s kind of the main, major city in the area, and we have started the Western Montana Vegetarian Society. We have a once-a-month, vegan potluck. We invite everyone. They can be foodies or meat-eaters all the way to vegans. And we tell them, you come with a plant-based food and people get to enjoy the taste and joy of eating plant-based foods.

A lot of them are very surprised at how very good they are. And as they’re there that’s another resource to put out the educational materials, talk a little bit about what goes on in a casual way and again we try to encourage the public to reconsider old ways of eating to move to a more compassionate and healthy way of eating.

In recognition of their sincere devotion to bettering the lives of vulnerable farm animals and promoting the vegan diet, Supreme Master Ching Hai honored Susan and Lee Eakins with the Shining World Compassion Award and provided a US$10,000 contribution to the New Dawn Montana Farm Sanctuary to further its mission. On Supreme Master Ching Hai’s behalf our Association members presented the handsome crystal Award plaque to Ms. Eakins along with an elegantly framed letter from her. The following is an excerpt from the warm letter:

This Award is presented in recognition of your selfless spirit of service and for your outstanding effort in inspiring others to claim their innate humanity, and so be of benefit to all life on Earth. Your work is helping to manifest a Golden Age on our lovely and undeniably unique planet.

A single candle can light a dark room, and the New Dawn Montana Farm Sanctuary acts as such a light, guiding humanity ever closer to that glorious day when no animal need fear man, and all will walk together in friendship, respect and love in a new springtime of creation.

For selflessly exemplifying all that is true and just in human-animal relations, for the dedication and the generosity you practice daily in tending to the needs of your endearing charges, and for shining your light so brightly to show humanity the best path to take, we hereby applaud and celebrate the compassionate deeds of Susan and Lee Eakins of the New Dawn Montana Farm Sanctuary. With Great Honor, Love and Blessings, Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Susan and Lee Eakins also received books by Supreme Master Ching Hai including her #1 international best sellers “The Dogs In My Life,” “The Birds In My Life” and “The Noble Wilds” as well as a selection of her DVDs.

From Lee and I, we thank Supreme Master. We are extremely thrilled and honored to be recognized. To have Supreme Master and those who have similar loving feelings recognize good works by many people and it is our joy and we are the servants willingly to the farm animals that we work with.

As a token of her love, Ms. Eakins wished to present Supreme Master Ching Hai with a keepsake from the Sanctuary.

It’s simply a little baseball cap she can wear and think about the Sanctuary, and keep the Sun out of her face. There you go. Please accept my humble gift, my petit rien (small) gift.

Ms. Eakins, in response to your thoughtful present, Supreme Master Ching Hai has replied:

It's lovely that you send such heartwarming gift from afar. God bless you, all of you at the farm and reward you ever more for the love that you are. ♥♥

Further sharing her feelings of appreciation toward Supreme Master Ching Hai, Ms. Eakins said:

I am motivated by her. I gather strength from what Supreme Master very valiantly does through her TV, through her books and everything. I totally gain strength from that and feel very pleased that…I’m in alignment with what she’s teaching because it shows that I’m on the right path. That means a lot to me. It really does.

And it motivates me to think that Supreme Master found in our little humble Sanctuary a message that’s worth rewarding and honoring me. So it is marvelous. I welcome her; have her come to my Sanctuary. We will treat her as an honored guest. (I) just love the thought that she’s out there in the world doing what she’s doing and her message and all the wonderful things that are going on. And we in our own little way are doing similar at least in our way.

To close, let us hear Ms. Eakins’s noble vision for humanity’s future.

If I was queen of the universe, I, without a doubt, would like to see the ethics of humankind evolve. I would like to see a world in which all species are treated with great love and respect. We move away from the consumption of animals. There’ll be food for everyone, if it’s plant-based. We’ll be better people.

I think we will treat each other better. We start with the base, and the base in my thinking, and this I know, is that it’s with the animals and the least amongst us, and then we build from there. We evolve to a far better society. We take the best out of what is here and we leave all the cruelty behind. That’s the world I hope for.

Susan and Lee Eakins, we sincerely thank you for the wonderful love and care you give to the tender farm animals residing in your haven and steadfast commitment to building a kinder and gentler world for all beings. May the New Dawn Montana Farm Sanctuary forever flourish in peace and tranquility.

For more details on the New Dawn Montana Farm Sanctuary, please visit:
Connect with the Sanctuary and the Western Montana Vegetarian Society on

Trusted viewers, thank you for your company on today’s program. Coming up next is Enlightening Entertainment, after Noteworthy News. May we always strive to aid those in need around the world.

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