Cattle slaughter is not a Gava Gathana Pinkama – Dear is life to all
Posted on October 31st, 2013

-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.

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 what is happening. 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.

Stop cattle slaughter

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; not a defective code of ethics in respect to the treatment of animals.


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 abruptly requesting Buddhist public servants to take part and provide assistance to animal sacrifice and cattle slaughter and view it as a -Ëœpinkama-â„¢ (meritorious deed) is something curious. Where is the Buddhist ethos and all that the Buddhists are fighting to save in a world where Buddhists wish to co-exist peacefully with all in spite of being well aware of the historical reality that some nations have all been created by conquest and conversion making inroads even to this day into 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 through fear unfortunately has no impact on those who are desensitized to suffering of other living beings.

To be asked to view cattle slaughter as humane and meritorious is repugnant 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 done frequently in Sri Lanka by lay Buddhists, monks and Buddhist organisations. This is true religion.

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 exercise their moral conscience and refuse to do things that violate their fundamental Buddhist religious beliefs. If it is in order for other religionists 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. 74 per cent Buddhists cannot be asked to view cattle slaughter as meritorious act completely counter to the doctrine on which Buddhism rests.

Peaceful co-existence between communities can be achieved only when those 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.

3 Responses to “Cattle slaughter is not a Gava Gathana Pinkama – Dear is life to all”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    Sri Lanka should prohibit this barbaric custom of a barbaric people practising a barbaric religion. The main business of the adherents of this religion is killing, killing and more killing. It is a slur on the human dimension. When they are not killing animals and whom they consider non believers of this barbaric religion – they are killing each other. That is the long and short of it.

    The fact that the above shown letter is written by the Governor of the Western Province – the principal province and capital territory of Sri Lanka is a slur on all the Buddhists of Sri Lanka.

    Where is Malwatte and Asgiriya? Katawal walata henagahalada lokkange?

  2. Nanda Says:

    Using presidential powers, our king should sack this sub-human immediately.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    BAN all Animal Sacrifice to please/placate God/gods. We are now living in the 21st Century, not 2 B.C. Greece, the cradle of western civilization, discontinued this cruel and ghastly spectacle over 2,000 yrs ago.

    All Animal Sacrifice is archaic, barbaric and ignorant. Only some Islamic sects and some Indians (including Tamils) of Dalit origin practice it even today.

    Tamil Nadu has banned Animal Sacrifice. Why shouldn’t Sri Lanka ?

    Meat eaters can eat their meat, but no Animal Sacrifice in Lanka.

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