In calling cattle slaughter a ‘Gava Gathana Pinkama’ Governor Moulana has deeply hurt Buddhist sensitivities
Posted on October 28th, 2013

Shenali Waduge

-ËœDamned if you do, damned if you don-â„¢t-â„¢ seems the challenge posed to Buddhists and an increasing number of indigenous people in different corners of the world as they face new cult type incursions. Not only is the new cult enveloping victims among the Muslims but by penetrating the hyped liberal notion of -Ëœsecular multiculturalism-â„¢ the demands of Muslims take center stage pushing indigenous cultures not only to the background but ring alarm bells to the possible extinction, annihilation of not only the indigenous culture but the possible conversion of the people of an entire country to Islam in time to come e.g. Maldives.‚ 

‚ When a longstanding Muslim Governor of the Western Province in Sri Lanka suddenly issues on a State letterhead carrying at the top of the letterhead the representation of the Buddhist -ËœDharma cakra-â„¢ a request for public officials, majority of whom are Buddhist to take part and provide support to a -Ëœgava gathana pinkama-â„¢ (cattle slaughter / sacrifice meritorious act), one begins to wonder in which direction this country is now heading. ‚ In officially requesting Buddhists to violate their Buddhist first precept of venerating life by aiding and abetting cattle slaughter for the Hadj festival the Muslim Governor has crossed the boundary of respect and courtesy due to the indigenous religion and culture.

‚ Humanistic Religions

Buddhism and Jainism are the only two religions in the world to treat both human and non – human sentient beings with a high sense of reverence for life, compassion and gratitude for services rendered to humans by animals such as the cow. There is no place in Buddhism for destruction of life of animals to appease gods. The Buddha condemned such practices unreservedly. It is these Buddhist values that form the core of the civilization of this country and prevail to this day. The Buddhist public expect these values to be respected by the descendants of those who arrived in this country much later bringing a form of culture and attitude to the life of non -” human sentient beings as anything but intolerant and deplorable, and a defective code of ethics in respect to the treatment of animals.

‚ Dhammapada

The Dhammapada encapsulates the attitude of Buddhism and its reverence for life as follows:

‚ Verse 129 – Of Others Think Of As Your Own Self

All tremble at force,
of death are all afraid.
Likening others to oneself
kill not nor cause to kill.

Explanation: All tremble at violence, all fear death. Comparing oneself with others do not harm, do not kill.

‚ Verse 130 -To All Life Is Dear

All tremble at force,
dear is life to all.
Likening others to oneself
kill not nor cause to kill.

‚ Explanation: All are frightened of being hurt or any threat to one-â„¢s life. To all life is dear. Seeing that others feel the same way as oneself, equating others to oneself, refrain from harming or killing.

‚ An inexcusable request

Therefore, the act of issuing a letter by a Governor who had been holding the post for numerous years to suddenly request Buddhist public servants to take part and provide assistance to animal sacrifice and cattle slaughter and view it as a -˜ pinkama-™ (meritorious deed) is tantamount to a perversion of Buddhist values well entrenched in this country. It is a trespass on the Buddhist ethos and brings to the level of humiliation all that the Buddhists are fighting to save in a world where Buddhists wish to co-exist peacefully with Muslims in spite of being well aware of the historical reality that Muslim nations have all been created by conquest and conversion making inroads even to this day of what constitutes traditional Buddhist space and territory.

‚ The cries for mercy and agony of animals awaiting death and their behavior in the last moments of their precious lives including urinating and defecating unfortunately have no impact on those who are desensitized to suffering of other living beings, and who believe that shedding of blood and sacrificing the lives of others is the way to earn points from -ËœGod-â„¢ and one-â„¢s -Ëœreward in heaven-â„¢.

‚ To be asked to view cattle slaughter as humane and meritorious is a huge insult to Buddhists.The only real pinkama associated with cattle slaughter is the granting of freedom to the animal from slaughter by paying the Butcher or the owner of the animal destined for slaughter. This is practiced heavily in Sri Lanka by lay Buddhists, monks and Buddhist organisations. This is true religion.

‚ The state machinery of a Buddhist country (Article 9) should be associated with granting freedom to animals. Arahant Mahinda recommended it to King Devanampiyatissa and it led to the establishment of the world-â„¢s first wild life sanctuary in Mihintale 2300 years ago, and a resolve on the part of succeeding Buddhist Kings of Sri Lanka to follow suit in extending state protection to animals.

Moral conscience

Buddhist public servants have a moral conscience and they must be allowed the right to exercise their moral conscience and refuse to carry out orders which are repulsive and violate their fundamental Buddhist religious beliefs. If it is in order for the Muslims to claim the right to conduct themselves according to their religious beliefs (special Friday prayers, dress code or unwillingness to serve alcohol or pork), likewise such rights should also be extended and recognised among Buddhists. ‚ 

The conduct of a former Muslim minister and present Governor in brazenly calling upon Buddhist public servants to support -Ëœgava gathana-â„¢ (cattle slaughter) as it is a -Ëœpinkama-â„¢ (meritorious act) shows the extent to which Islamic values are rapidly replacing Buddhist values and the contempt some of these people have for Buddhist ethics and our ways of living. It is also an indication of the extent to which Islamic influence has grown to now be demanding from 74% Buddhists to view cattle slaughter as meritorious act completely slapping the doctrine with which Buddhism rests and bringing up exactly how (in)tolerant and (dis)respectful Islam and Muslims are of the indigenous Sinhala Buddhist race while accusing Buddhists.

‚ Peaceful co-existence between communities can be achieved only when those who came later with different beliefs and cultures are prepared to respect the original foundational ethos of a country long observed for more than two millennia, and not by disregarding them,‚ manipulating them, bypassing them and overruling them.

14 Responses to “In calling cattle slaughter a ‘Gava Gathana Pinkama’ Governor Moulana has deeply hurt Buddhist sensitivities”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    SHENALI !! IT IS DIGUSTING TO HEAR THIS.

    WHERE ARE THE BUDDHIST PRIESTS ? WHERE ARE THE BUDDHIST LEADERS ?

    THIS FELLOW MAVILANA HAS TO BE TAKEN TO TASK BY THE MINISTER OF BUDDHA SASANA. GET THIS FELLOW TO WITHDRAW THAT LETTER, AND APOLOGISE TO THE SINHALESE BUDDHISTS OF SRI LANKA.

    HE SHOULD BE KICKED OUT AS GOVERNOR, AND SENT TO THE MOSQUE TO GET THE REST OF IT CUT.

  2. Nanda Says:

    If this cowardly act is not punished, even Mervyn Siva is better than Maha Ranee.

  3. Nanda Says:

    Shenali,
    Can you please attach a copy of this letter ?
    They might say they did not issue such a letter but by “Buddhist Extremist”.
    Maha Ranee should ban the use of words “Buddhist Extremists”, “Sinhaha Buddhist Extremist” etc., because extremist Buddhists are the Arahants who do not harm to even an ant.
    I noticed “Lanka Page”, “Colombo Page” self proclaimed “journalist” often use these words.

  4. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    NANDA !!
    Just one more phrase:- RACIST SINHALESE BUDDHIST SCOUNDRELS, uttered at the media briefing presided by the Bearded Tamil Scoundrel.

  5. Nesta Says:

    Our Rev. Monks – are they all 100% non-vegetarian? – avoiding meat? If so, I apologize for this comment.

  6. Nanda Says:

    Nesta,
    Buddhist do not have “Rev Monks” – they have Venerable Monks.
    They rely on alms food – so up to them to avoid or not to avoid food given by others.
    They make no big deal on food – not important to them.

  7. Nanda Says:

    Bearded Tamil Racist ( who looks like Saudi murderer to me) can utter any name to the Noble Sinhala Buddhist , which will only make him a SCOUNDRAL.

    Buddhist will always be the Noble people as long as they follow Noble Eightfold Path , even though the Saudi murderers pray all day to Allah with their asses facing towards him pbuh.

  8. Caesar Says:

    This is sadly a situation that we Buddhists are humiliated by the inaction by the state. This regime is damaging Sinhelas and Buddhism in a large scale than that it saved from LTTE Terrorist clutches

  9. Nihal Fernando Says:

    Copy of the letter by Moulana appears on On-Lanka News Report with the same article by Shenali.

    On the other hand, sinners are unable to diffrentiate between the good deeds (pinkam) and the bad deeds (paukam). Thye are so engrossed with their own blind beliefs. It is always simple to think, do not do unto others what you would not want them do unto you.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    Mr Moulana must be referring to his version of a ‘Pinkama’ (act of merit) by feeding the needy off the flesh of the slaughtered beasts. Mr Moulana has written his note of invitation on a govt. letterhead which to us seems quite inappropriate. Why he must coin the word ‘Pinkama’ to the slaughtering of beasts is hard to understand.That can be done by READY MADE MEATS (if meat must be served), with animals slaughtered according the modern humane methods in an abattoir, with Muslim prayers on a tape played in the background, if that is the belief.

    Feeding the Needy is an act of Merit, a true Pinkama. Sacrificing a beast to God/gods is NOT an act of Merit according to Buddhism, Jainism and Hindu religions. Sacrificing animals in this manner is the practice among Dalits of India as well some Islamic sects. Dalits were earlier denied any religion. In these parts of the world, sacrificing animals (in the name of God) belonging to the wealthy people to feed the poor, is an act considered to be one to win the favor of God. These are ancient beliefs.

    In the eyes of practicing Buddhists, Jains & Hindus (except for people of Dalit origin who also slaughter beasts as offerings to God/gods), slaughtering a beast in such as manner is an act of ignorance and highly offensive. That this practice has gone on in Sri Lanka unaddressed is mainly due to some 500 yrs of Colonial rule followed by the ltte terrorism of some 30 yrs. It is only now that Lankans are somewhat freed up to take a good hard look at social issues here, thanks to writers such as Shenali.

    The practice of offering a living beast to God/gods and slaughtering them was also done in Greece (the cradle of western civilization), , but they realized the folly and cruelty of it all over 2,000 yrs ago and discontinued the practice.
    Meantime, we really ought to look at Soy products taking the place of meat, at least in part, in Sri Lanka. Soy products are far more healthy to human beings. Then less cows will be slaughtered. Cows when aged will get slaughtered and their body parts used in various ways. This is done all over the world, except in areas with no cows, such as China (probably due to Buddhist past).

    We agree that slaughtering beasts in sacrifice ought to stop in Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu has already passed laws to stop these outdated, ancient and barbaric acts. No country in the west allows such practices. Sri Lanka must pass similar laws.

  11. Nesta Says:

    O.K. What about fellow Buddhists – all fully avoiding meat?

  12. Fran Diaz Says:

    It’ s not a question of meat eating as such. People are free to eat their meats.

    It is the RITUAL SACRIFICE OF ANIMALS THAT IS PROTESTED.

  13. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    In order to fight such movements the first thing to do is expose it, which this article has done an excellent job. the second is to find in history if Sri Lanka has faced similar forced conversions and how the Buddhists dealt with it. The colonial period springs to mind where not only there was forced conversion but deliberate attempts to destroy the Buddhist icons of Sri Lanka such as the tooth of Buddha.

    In order to survive the Buddhists Sanga emulated some of the Christian practices. When the Christians had Sunday Christian studies so did the Buddhists. In this light how is modern day Buddhism to deal with converting faiths such as Christianity and Islam? Do what they do. As in India the Shiv Sena have successfully reconverted Hindus who converted to Islam or Christianity.

    But what is good is that Sri Lanka is a small nation with a manageable population. If Sri Lanka or the Buddhist Sanga were to adopt the same laws in Muslim nations that prohibit any conversion away from Islam then Muslims and Christians will be prohibited to convert Buddhists to other faiths.

    One would immediately jump to the conclusion that the UNHRC would see this as a human rights issue. Since the UNHRC do not see the strict laws of over 50 odd Muslim nations that not only prohibit conversions to other faiths in their lands but have on their books draconian punishments for those who try Sri Lanka has every right to protect and spread the word of Buddha across her land including to Hindus, Muslims and Christians. If they do not like it they can leave.

  14. Fran Diaz Says:

    Tamil Nadu passed a Bill to ban conversions. It’s still in mid-air, not law and not revoked.

    In TN the conversions are due mostly to Caste & poverty. In Sri Lanka, conversions are due to monetary inducement, desiring education, jobs, marriage, to go abroad etc . It’s better to put a stop to causes for conversions than to put laws against conversions, isn’t it ?. While the causes remain, the laws will probably not work.

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