Buddha was an animal and human rights activist long before the popularity of PETA , Amnesty International, vegan and vegetarian activism.
Buddha was an animal and human rights activist long before PETA and Amnesty International.
During the time of Buddha, circa 500 BC, the Vedic religion of the Brahmin priesthood in India had become degenerate and suppressive and engaged in frequent animal sacrifices.
The Buddha is reputed to have denounced the Vedic religion at the time. He especially denounced the religious animal sacrifices so common during those days.
“Immense sacrificial ceremonies, such as the sacrifice of the horse (ashvameda), through which the Brahmans imposed their power, ruined the states financially,” writes Alain Danileou in his book While the Gods Play.
Danileou continues: “Gautama was at first attracted by the antisocial mysticism of the Shaivas (Tantra). For a time, he was also a disciple of Gosala and very close to Mahavira, who was three years younger. For several years he practiced with them the austere and free life of a wandering monk.”
The Buddha was not alone in denouncing these Vedic practices. His friend Mahavira, the now well known founder of the Jain religion in India, also became an ardent follower of ahimsa, or nonviolence.
Although it is commonly accepted that the Buddha spoke out against the ritualistic portions of the Vedas (karmakanda), it is doubtful that he rejected the Vedas outright.
“[Both Buddha and Mahavira] were in open revolt against the karmakanda [prehistoric ritualistic portions] of the Vedas, but they were not so opposed to the the jinanakanda [more recent philosophical portions, including certain Upanishads and Vedanta], because these were quite popular with spiritual aspirants.”
“Both Buddha and Mahavira vehemently opposed the ritualistic sacrifices, especially of animals, and both of them protested against the hostile attitude of the so-called dharma towards morality.” Quoted from Namami Shiva Shantaya by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
In other words, Buddha was an animal and human rights activist long before the popularity of PETA , Amnesty International, vegan and vegetarian activism. About 2500 years before PETA, in fact.
Fellow yogis, maybe we should all learn something from Buddha. Maybe we also should protest against those aspects of the Vedas that are not so kind against women, animals, and the lower castes, the untouchable dalits (population 160 million), for example.
Violence against Dalits is commonplace. Hillary Mayell, (2003) sampled some mainstream Indian newspapers and found headlines such as: “Dalit boy beaten to death for plucking flowers”; “Dalit tortured by cops for three days”; “Dalit ‘witch’ paraded naked in Bihar”; “Dalit killed in lock-up at Kurnool”; “7 Dalits burnt alive in caste clash”; “5 Dalits lynched in Haryana”; “Dalit woman gang-raped, paraded naked”; “Police egged on mob to lynch Dalits” (as cited in Hillary Mayen, 2003).
Moreover, the UN and Amnesty International calls the caste system “human rights abuse.”
Next time you hear someone like Deepak Chopra or Georg Feuerstein or David Frawley make blanket statements,
claiming that “yoga came from the Vedas”, you tell them that yoga at least has nothing to do with that portion of the Vedas supporting animal sacrifices and the despicable caste system. At least.
Tell them Buddha told you.
Maybe this is one way we can give something back to India, the country that gave us yoga, these wonderful body-mind-spirit exercises we practice?
Chut Wutty was escorting two journalists to an illegal logging site.
By Kevin Douglas Grant, Global Post, April 27, 2012
Cambodian villagers with their faces painted to resemble the forest people from the film 'Avatar' pray during a rally against the destruction of the Prey Lang forest in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh on August 18, 2011. With their faces painted blue and green and donning hats made of leaves, the demonstrators called for an end to the exploitation and deforestation of the the largest lowland evergreen forest remaining in Southeast Asia. AFP/Getty Images/Tang Chhin Sothy
Cambodian environmental activist Chut Wutty was killed by military police Wednesday as he returned from taking two journalists to a protected site where he hoped to stop “large-scale forest destruction and illegal rosewood smuggling.”
A Cambodian rights group, the Center for Cambodian Civic Education, called it “cold-blooded murder.”
Initial police reports  claimed that Wutty had been armed and exchanged fire with police, but it was later determined that an officer had shot the unarmed Wutty following an argument about the journalists’ memory card containing photos of the deforested site.
The officer who killed Wutty reportedly committed suicide  after discovering that the activist had died.
Wutty’s bereaved wife , Sam Chanthy, said “her husband had been at the exact site of his death in Koh Long province little more than a month ago, where he had been in conflict with military police officers as he attempted to examine a cache of illegally logged timber.”
“I think there were third persons involved with my husband’s killing. They prepared a plot to kill him because his work was affecting their interests,” Chanthy said.
“Those people were not happy with my husband and his work …so they planned to kill him when he went there again.”
The two journalists Wutty was escorting — Cambodian Phorn Bopha and Canadian Olesia Plokhii, on assignment for the Cambodia Daily — were detained for questioning and released Friday.
Patrick Alley, director of international natural resource watchdog Global Witness , said Wutty was “one of the few remaining Cambodian activists willing to speak out against the rapid escalation of illegal logging and land grabbing which is impoverishing ordinary Cambodians and destroying the country’s rich natural heritage.”
Posted on: April 27, 2012 8:48 pm
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BUDDHIST MEDITATION CENTER
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