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?
USCIRF Identifies World’s Worst Religious Freedom Violators
March 20, 2012 | by USCIRF
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, USCIRF, a federal government commission that monitors global religious freedom, today released its 2012 Annual Report and recommended that the Secretary of State name the following nations “countries of particular concern” or CPCs: Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
“It’s no coincidence that many of the nations we recommend to be designated as CPCs are among the most dangerous and destabilizing places on earth,” said USCIRF Chair Leonard Leo. “Nations that trample upon basic rights, including freedom of religion, provide fertile ground for poverty and insecurity, war and terror, and violent, radical movements and activities.”
The 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) requires that the United States designate annually as CPCs countries whose governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic and egregious violations of the universal right to freedom of religion or belief. IRFA also tasked USCIRF with assessing conditions in these and other nations and providing policy prescriptions for ways the U.S. government can constructively engage.
“In addition, some of the countries we recommend for CPC designation maintain intricate webs of discriminatory rules, requirements and edicts that can impose tremendous burdens for members of religious minority communities, making it difficult for them to function and grow from one generation to the next, potentially threatening their existence,” added Leo.
In Egypt, the transitional government has failed to protect religious minorities, especially Coptic Christians, from violent attacks at a time when minority communities have been increasingly vulnerable.
“These governments too often stand idly by in the face of violent attacks against religious minorities and dissenting members of majority faiths,” says Leo. “Inseparable from freedom of expression and association, freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief often is the first human right threatened by tyranny.”
Iran and China remain gross abusers of human rights and among the world’s worst religious freedom violators. Iran continues to detain, torture, and execute its citizens, and in the past year, Baha’is, Christians, and Sufi Muslims have been subjected to intensified attacks, harassment, detention, and imprisonment.
In China — the only CPC designee with a seat on the United Nations Security Council – conditions for Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims are the worst in decades and in the past year, Beijing has stepped up its crackdown on Protestants and Catholics. Dozens of unregistered Catholic clergy, for example, remain in detention or have disappeared.
USCIRF’s Annual Report highlights the mistreatment of Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians in Pakistan, Buddhists in Vietnam and China, and Baha’is in Iran and Egypt. The report repeatedly notes the brutal assaults endured by Christians seeking to practice their faith peacefully. Muslims, too, suffer in Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan, and non-Muslim nations like Russia and Burma. The Annual Report also calls attention to the promotion of anti-Semitic bigotry in countries as diverse as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
USCIRF also announced that the following countries are on its 2012 Watch List: Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Somalia, and Venezuela. While not rising to the statutory level set forth in the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, IRFA, requiring CPC designation, Watch List countries require close monitoring due to the nature and extent of religious freedom violations these governments have engaged in or tolerated.
Due to the provisions of P.L. 112-75, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2011, USCIRF this year felt compelled to accelerate and compress its process of preparing its Annual Report. The new law that reauthorized the Commission calls for five of the nine Commissioners to terminate their service on March 21, 2012, leaving the possibility of no quorum after that date. Faced with the strong possibility of a substantially delayed Annual Report or none at all, the Commission opted to issue the Annual Report in March rather than just prior to May 1. With a marked deterioration of conditions for religious freedom around the world, the Commission believes it would have been unsatisfactory to countenance a significant delay, or to skip a report for 2012 altogether. Too much is at stake for international religious freedom.
*Four Commissioners dissented from the recommendation that Turkey be designated a CPC. Their views are contained in the Annual Report.
Return of Buddha
by Shobhan Saxena, Times of India, Dec 4, 2011
Are Buddhist nations coming together to form a bloc that is as much religious as it is political? And is India ready to assume leadership of the group? If it is, China is clearly unhappy about it. But a churning has begun. Sunday Times reports from the first Global Buddhist Congregation
New Delhi, India — With the smell of incense floating above their shaven heads, the Thai monks in grey robes walked in a single file, eyes to the ground and their hands softly beating the prayer drums. Following them were the Tibetan lamas, Sri Lankan monks and Taiwanese priests – all walking elegantly, murmuring mantras under their breath and forming a circle around a chosen spot.
Video: Dalai Lama’s address at the World Buddhist Congregation 2011
Then a shiver passed down the crowd as the Dalai Lama arrived at Nehru Park and placed into freshly dug-up holes saplings of the Bodhi Tree – a cutting of the same pipal under which the Buddha had found enlightenment 2600 years ago and which was slashed and burned by King Sasanka of Bengal, an anti-Buddhist iconoclast, in the 6th century AD.
On November 30, as the first Global Buddhist Congregation in Delhi decided to form a new global Buddhist body based in India, delegates from 46 countries – from the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions – were handed over the Bodhi Tree saplings to be planted in their countries. Many leaders received the plants from the Dalai Lama, who also gave the valedictory speech at the congregation.
The message was not missed on anyone : Buddhism is set to get more organized globally; India is to become the new centre of this unity; and the Dalai Lama is recognized as an unofficial leader of all Buddhists. “All Buddhist countries feel that in India, the land of Buddha, nothing is being done to promote Buddhism. Now, all the Buddhist organizations will be under the International Buddhist Confederation to be based here,” says Lama Lobsang, the head of Asoka Mission, which organized the Delhi congregation.
The idea seems to have been accepted. “The whole world looks to India because of Buddhism. If someone from India takes initiative, India can take leadership of the Buddhist world,” says Banagala Uptatissa , chief of Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka . Well, not exactly the whole world. On November 26, one day before the Congregation began, China kicked up a diplomatic storm by putting off border talks with India after New Delhi refused to give in to its demand of not allowing the Buddhist meet.
Earlier, 35 Chinese monks invited for the meet didn’t turn up, making it clear that Beijing was not happy with the congregation. “This conference had a very clear agenda to remind the scattered Buddhist communities that India is the home of Buddhism,” says Gabriel Lefitte, Australian academic and environmental activist who attended the meeting. “China has been quite vigorous in making sure that anybody with a Buddhist background feels connection with China but India has been a bit slow by comparison to restore the ‘Buddhist parivar’ .”
It’s not that the officially atheist China has suddenly fallen in love with Buddhism . China is worried about the growing stature of the Dalai Lama as a global Buddhist leader; it’s also trying to build credibility among the Buddhists so that Beijing can pick the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama without any problem. “The current Chinese leadership is haunted by the Tibetan issue as there have been many cases of self-immolation by the Tibetan monks in mainland China. There is a feeling of urgency regarding the decision of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama,” says Binod Singh, who teaches at the India Study Centre of Peking University.
China faces an additional problem. It may have dazzled the world with its growth rate, but China has not been able to check social unrest and growth of religion at home. It’s believed that there are now some 100 million Buddhists in China, many of them followers of Tibetan Buddhism. “Of late, the Chinese leaders have been talking about a ‘harmonious society’ and they have eased restrictions on all religions.
The Communist Party takes part in the selection of reincarnation of Tibetan lamas. They want to control Buddhism to keep control on their people,” says an Indian diplomat who served in Beijing till recently. “The friction with India is over the leadership of Buddhist countries and trade interest in east Asia, which China considers its area of influence.”
Courtesy The Buddhist Channel
( Students For A Free Tibet via APTN / Associated Press ) - This image from video footage released by Students For A Free Tibet via APTN purports to show Buddhist nun Palden Choetso engulfed in flames in her self-immolation protest against Chinese rule on a street in Tawu, Tibetan Ganzi prefecture, in China’s Sichuan Province Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011.
BEIJING — A Tibetan rights group has released graphic video of what it says is a Buddhist nun engulfed in flames on a city street in one of several apparent self-immolation protests against Chinese rule.
The video, released Monday by Students for a Free Tibet, purports to show Palden Choetso, whose death on Nov. 3 in predominantly Tibetan Ganzi prefecture in Sichuan province had previously been reported.
The video shows a woman in nun’s robes standing on a street corner covered in bright red flames. She collapses to the ground after about 15 seconds.
Additional footage shows about 10,000 mourners gathering at a monastery for a candlelight vigil on Nov. 6 to pay their respects to the 35-year-old nun while about 1,000 monks and nuns hold prayers inside.
The video also shows Chinese security forces in riot gear shadowing monks and nuns taking part in a protest march, and a column of armored paramilitary police patrol vehicles traveling down a country road. The New York-based Students of a Free Tibet said it obtained the video from sources in the region.
China restricts journalists’ access to Tibetan areas of western China and to Tibet itself, and it is nearly impossible to verify statements about conditions there.
At least 11 monks, nuns, and former monks have self-immolated this year in what are seen as acts of desperation in the face of tightening controls over Tibetan life and Buddhist culture.
Most ignited the flames while calling for Tibetan freedom and the return of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.
China claims Tibet has always been part of its territory, but many Tibetans say the Himalayan region was virtually independent for centuries.
Authorities routinely deny Tibetan claims of repression, although they have confirmed some cases of self-immolations and accused supporters of the Dalai Lama of encouraging such acts. The Dalai Lama and representatives of the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile in India say they oppose all violence.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Posted on: November 23, 2011 6:25 am
MEDITATION DOCUMENTARY 2016
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