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?
By Grace Dickinson, November 5, 2010
Starting in 1989 with President George H.W. Bush, each Thanksgiving the president of the United States officially pardons two turkeys during a ceremony at the White House. What this means is that the birds are spared from being slaughtered and turned into dinner.
Originally, the turkeys were taken to Kidewell Farm, a petting zoo as part of Frying Pan park (funny name for a petting zoo…) located in Virginia. However, starting in 2005, the turkeys have been sent to either Disneyland in California or Disney World in Florida, following their role in Disney’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. As happy as this may sound for the turkeys, unfortunately many of them end up dying within the first year, defeating the purpose of the presidential pardoning.
According to Farm Sanctuary, commercially-raised turkeys are selectively bred to grow abnormaly large and fast, making them prone to serious health issues and necessitating specialized care. Disney-themed parks are illequipped to provide the level of care needed to keep these birds happy and alive for the full life that they deserve.
To deal with this problem and give the turkeys the appropriate treatment they need, Farm Sanctuary is petitioning the White House to send the turkeys to their shelter in Watkins Glen, New York, instead of to Disney.
“We are offering the Obama administration an opportunity to distinguish themselves from past administrations by starting a new, compassionate Thanksgiving tradition that is more in-step with Americans’ growing concern about the welfare of animals raised for food,” says Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. “By sending the pardoned birds to Farm Sanctuary’s renowned shelter in Watkins Glen, N.Y., the Obama Administration can show that it cares about the humane treatment of animals, and ensure that the turkeys get the expert care they need to thrive.”
The shelter has been rescuing turkeys for over twenty years, providing essential veterinary care and an environment tailored specifically for the health of the birds. Turkeys at Farm Sanctuary live an average of four to five years, meaning a 4-5 time greater life than the typical bird sent to Disney. The farm is also responsible for providing lifelong care to hundreds of other rescued animals.
Get involved and help Farm Sanctuary in urging the White house to send the turkeys to a happier, more sensible home. The petition, information about Thanksgiving’s toll on turkeys, and resources for a compassionate holiday can be found at adoptaturkey.org.
Posted on: November 22, 2011 9:28 am
BUDDHIST MEDITATION CENTER
Videos and Photos of Vipassana classes at our Peace Meditation Center - Wat Kiryvongsa Bopharam in Leverett, Massachusetts, USA
A Dhamma Talk on Vipassana and mindfulness meditation by Vipassana Gossalaya Jotannano Hong Keo, Vipassana Buddhist Master during a 10-Day Meditation & Vipassana Retreats at the Buddhist Meditation Center, Wat Kiryvongsa Bopharam on the 11th Waxing Moon – 7th Waning Moon of Jeṭṭha B.E.2560 equivalent to June 15 – 26, A.D.2016 in Leverett, Massachusetts, U.S.A. in 2016.
ក្រុងសាវត្ថី Sāvatthī or Śrāvastī
Vipassana chanting by Meditation Master Ketodhammo Som Bunthoeun. Footages from 2016 Vipassana classes at the Buddhist Meditation Center – Wat Kiryvongsa Bopharam in Leverett, Massachusetts, USA.
SAMDECH CHUON NATH
Khmer literature and Dhamma talk by His Holiness Jotannano Chuon Nath, the Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia Buddhism. His Holiness was born on March 11, 1883; passed away on September 25, 1969
MAHA GHOSANANDA SERVICES
Extraordinary Funeral and Memorial Services for His Holiness Samdech Dr. Maha Ghosananda