He thinks and he feels, but—as far as I can tell—he does not speak, nor is he simply the previous animal rebirth of an eventual human being. There is something powerful, I contend, about the mute presence of such an animal—its noble silence, its freedom from the glibness of human language

Using the story of the Buddha’s stay in the Pārileyyaka forest, this article highlights the use and importance of animals in Buddhist literature and Indian literature more generally. The author brings together much of past research on the use of anmials in Buddhist literature, adding her own insights.