Promote Peace with Love and Compassion – towards all living beings
Posted on September 3rd, 2012

By Senaka Weeraratna

The peace which was won in May 2009 after a hard won struggle against terrorism running for over 30 years in Sri Lanka was welcomed universally as it was meant to put an end  to bloodshed  once and for all. It was also meant to be an all inclusive peace encompassing everyone, irrespective of race, religion or creed. It would indeed be tragic if this much vaunted  peace dividend were to be restricted only to one species i.e. human beings,  while at the same time overlooking the claims of other sentient beings to be left in peace, dignity and out of harm’s way. A genuine peace must embrace non “”…” violence (Ahimsa) even towards other living creatures.  

The adjourned animal sacrifice in Munneswaran has led to intense soul searching among many Sri Lankans in respect to the ethical and moral direction of our country and in turn question whether Buddhist idealism which has formed the corner stone of our moral bearing and civilization since the time of King Devanampiyatissa (300 BC) still continues to operate or has been thrown overboard.

High ideals are important for any civilized nation. It is for this reason that the framers of the Indian Constitution have clearly set out the following provision in its Constitution:

“It shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the Natural Environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for all living creatures.”
– The Constitution of India Article 51-A(g)

The ideal of compassion for all living creatures is very much in step with Buddhist teachings. It is to the credit of pre-dominantly Hindu India, that it has enshrined this noble sentiment as a fundamental duty of every Indian Citizen in its Constitution, though fundamental duties are treated in the Indian Constitution as non “”…” justiciable, The constitutions of pre – dominantly Buddhist countries such as Sri Lanka have yet to incorporate this noble sentiment as a fundamental duty required of their country’s citizens.

The Buddhist opposition to animal sacrifice vividly seen in Sri Lanka today stems from both a civilizational ethic rooted in Lanka’s history and the deep seated moral influence flowing from the Buddha’s teachings and his own personal conduct.

Duties of the Cakkavatti King

In the Buddha’s discourse in the Cakkavatti “”…” Sihanada Sutta (Digha Nikaya of the Sutta Pitaka) the Buddha spells out the duties of an ideal ruler as follows:

” The Cakkavatti King (Righteous King) will give protection, shelter and ward both to the different classes of human beings, and also to birds and beasts”

Emperor Asoka of India (3rd Century BC) promoted the policy of Rule of Righteousness. As King he accepted state responsibility for animals and granted them protection via edicts inscribed on rocks all over India (the Asokan Edicts). These edicts were legal pronouncements based on ethical teachings.

Asokan Model of benevolent state

Arahant Mahinda’s declaration to King Devanampiyatissa in their very first encounter at Mihintale about 2300 years ago, in the following words:

 “Oh! Great King, the birds of the air and the beasts have an equal right to live and move about in any part of this land as thou.  The land belongs to the peoples and all other beings and thou art only the guardian of it.” 

set the tone for the creation of an Asokan model of benevolent state in Sri Lanka. The social and legal history of Sri Lanka provides innumerable examples of the Buddhist attitude to animal life. Our former Kings established some of the worlds’ first wild life sanctuaries.  Five of the kings governed the country under the ‘Maghata’ rule, which banned completely the killing of any animal in the kingdom.  The five kings were 1)  Amanda Gamini (79 – 80 AD), 2) Voharika Tissa (269 – 291 AD) 3) Silakala (524 – 537 AD) 4) Agga Bodhi IV (658 – 674 AD) 5) Kassapa III (717 – 724 AD).

 Prohibition of Animal Sacrifice in the history of Sri Lanka

 State interference in respect to protection of animals, particularly from animal sacrifice is deeply ingrained in the history of Sri Lanka. From the time of acceptance of Buddhism by King Devanampiyatissa (300 BC) to the last days of the Kingdom of Kandy (1815 A.D.), Animal Sacrifice was prohibited by Royal decree in Sri Lanka.     

The Buddha’s condemnation of animal sacrifice

The Buddha’s gentle disposition was offended by the unnecessary cruelty performed on the altars of the gods, leading him to visit and engage the priests officiating in the temples, and make the following remarks:

”  Ignorance only can make these men prepare festivals and hold vast

meetings for sacrifices. Far better to revere the truth than try to

appease the gods by shedding blood.

 ” What love can a man possess who believes that the destruction of

life alone will atone for evil deeds? Can a new wrong expiate old

wrongs? And can the slaughter of an innocent victim blot out the evil

deeds of mankind? This is practicing religion by the neglect of moral

conduct.

 ” Purify your hearts and cease to kill; that is true religion.

 ” Rituals have no efficacy; prayers are vain repetitions; and

incantations have no saving power. But to abandon covetousness and

lust, to become free from evil passions, and to give up all hatred and

ill will, that is the right sacrifice and the true worship. “

 See “ƒ”¹…” The Gospel of Buddha ‘ compiled from ancient records by Paul

Carus, (Senate, London, 1997 reprint, page 33). 

Suttanipata

The Buddha preached the doctrine of infinite compassion for the suffering of all living creatures alongside his rejection of animal sacrifices, which had corrupted Yajnas due to greed of Brahmins. The following verses are from the Suttanipata.

Suttanipata: 2:7:23-26: But largesse (of the king) fired their (Brahmins’) passions more to get; their craving grew. Once more they sought Okkaka; with these verses newly framed: “As earth and water, gold and silver, so are cows a primal requisite of man. Great store, great wealth is thine; make (cow) sacrifice!

Then the king, the lord of chariots, persuaded by these Brahmins, killed hundreds of thousands of cows in sacrifice. Cows sweet as lamb, filling pails with milk, never hurting anyone with foot or horn -the king had them seized by the horns and slaughtered by the sword.”

The Buddha expresses his horror:

Suttanipata: 2:7:27-30: Then the gods, the Pitrus (ancestral spirits), Indra, the Asuras, the Rakshasas cried out as the weapon fell on the cows, “Lo! This is injustice!” Of old there were only three diseases -desire, want of food, and decay. Owing to the killing of the cattle, there sprang ninety-eight diseases. This old sin of injury to living beings has come down (to this day). Innocent cows are killed. Priests have fallen off their virtues.

“This is how,” The Buddha concluded, “Kshatriyas and self-styled Brahmins and others protected by rank destroyed the repute of their caste and fell prey to desires.”

The Buddha told Kshatriyas not to waste money on Yajnas. Kutadanta Sutta describes a parable told by the Buddha to a Brahmin who wanted to perform a big sacrifice. In this parable, a king by the name of Mahavijita decides to perform a great sacrifice, “that would be to my benefit and happiness for a long time.” Recognizing the fact that the additional taxation required for this ostentatious Yajna would ruin people and the country, his wise minister, a capitalist to boot, tells the king instead to invest that money to, “get rid of the thieves and robbers plaguing the country; distribute grain and fodder to peasants; give capital to businessmen; and pay government servants proper wages.”

This quintessential minister concludes, “Then those people, being intent on their own occupations, will not harm the kingdom; your majesty’s revenues will be great; the land will be tranquil, and not beset by thieves; and the people, with joy in their hearts, playing with their children, will dwell in open houses.” Thus enlightened, the king followed his minister’s advice and consequently his kingdom prospered.

Emperor Asoka followed this example and acted selflessly promoting the welfare of the people in his kingdom. (see “ƒ”¹…”Buddha decries animal sacrifices’ by Dr Prabhakar Kamath )

Sri Lanka’s Former Rulers

Heavily influenced by the Asokan form of Government our former Rulers like in so many other Asian Buddhist lands and communities in ancient times saw themselves as Buddha Putras with a noble mission to fulfill.  This is evident from a reading of the Mahawansa and other historical chronicles.

Sri Lanka became a heavy ethics and value based society with the entry of Buddhism. Among the primary duties of a Buddhist ruler was to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana. The promotion of Buddhism was not to be confined to this small island alone.

We were amoral and ethical values exporting country through Buddhism long before Sri Lanka became an export of tea, rubber and coconut being cash crops introduced by the British. The Buddhist monks and nuns of both the historic Mahavihare and Abhayagiri temples under the sponsorship of the Sri Lankan Royal state  took Buddhism to the then known parts of the world. Sri Lankan nuns took the Bhikkhuni Sangha to China in the fifth century. Likewise the histories of Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and most importantly India, have significant references to the Buddhist missionary efforts of the Lankan clergy with the support of the King of Sri Lanka.

Aryadeva

In Sri Lanka’s long intellectual history none can match the accolades won by Prince Aryadeva of Anuradhapura, son of King Voharaka Tissa, who not only became the closest disciple of Nagarjuna, but also the Rector of the famed Nalanda University. Other well known teachers, pundits and rectors of Nalanda were Nagarjuna, Dharmapala, and Silabhadra among others.  Metaphorically speaking, Aryadeva’s achievement was the equivalent of winning the Noble Prize in that era.

Only the intellectual with the highest academic attainments was offered and allowed to function in that post. Ariyadeva’s fame spread far and wide. The Chinese pilgrim traveler Hseun Tsang in his seventh century writings refers to Aryadeva in glowing terms.    

Sri Lankan Buddhist missionary efforts in the 20th Century

In ancient times Sri Lankan Buddhist missionaries were also peace educators. It had to be since the doctrine of the Buddha was one of peace and non “”…” violence. There is no provision in Buddhism for a Holy War or Jihad under any circumstances.

The challenge of promoting peace and compassion through Buddhism in the external world was again accepted by Sri Lankans beginning in the latter part of British colonial rule. Anagarika Dharmapala brought lustre to Sri Lanka by becoming the world’s first global Buddhist missionary. His London Buddhist Vihara established in 1926 is the first Sri Lankan Buddhist Vihara established in the western world.

Ven. Prof. Hammalawa Saddhatissa Maha Thera (1914″”…”1990) was closely associated with the London Vihara since 1957. He was sponsored by the Maha Bodhi Society.

Asoka Weeraratna under the banner of the German Dharmaduta Society established the first Theravada Buddhist Vihara in Germany (and continental Europe) in 1957 when he bought with funds collected in both Sri Lanka and Germany, Das Buddhistiche Haus founded by Dr. Paul Dahlke in 1924. This Buddhist Haus which was situated on a six acre block of land in a lovely Berlin suburb called Frohnau, was considered the Center of German Buddhism during Dr. Dahlke’s time. Asoka Weeraratna was instrumental in negotiating the purchase of this property from the heirs of Dr. Paul Dahlke. It was converted into a Buddhist VihƒÆ’†’¢ra, by the Society by providing residential facilities to Buddhist Dharmaduta monks drawn mainly from Sri Lanka

Asoka Weeraratna also accompanied the first Buddhist Mission to Germany in July 1957, which he pioneered under the banner of the German Dharmaduta Society. The three monks in the mission were Ven. Soma, Ven. Kheminde and Ven. Vinita.

Since 1957 there has been a stream of Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka and other countries, taking up residence in the Berlin Buddhist VihƒÆ’†’¢ra. Of these dedicated monks, special mention must be made of Ven. Athurugiriye ƒÆ’†'”‘ƒÆ’†’¢navimala MahƒÆ’†’¢thera who served as the VihƒÆ’†’¢radhipathi of the Berlin VihƒÆ’†’¢ra for a period of 15 years (1966 – 1981).

The next significant Lankan Buddhist missionary effort in the West was when Ven. Madihe Pannasiha Maha Thero along with Mr. Olcott Gunasekera took pioneering steps to establish the Washington Vihare in the United States in 1964. Ven. Bope Vinita Thera and later Ven. Henepola Gunaratana Thera were closely associated with the development of the Washington Vihare.

Today in many parts of the world particularly in the western world, Europe, North and South America, and also in Africa, Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka are manning temples and giving leadership on Buddhism related religious and cultural activities.    

In addition, these monks under varying living conditions and braving constant fluctuations of the weather, teach the Buddha Dharma and give instruction on meditation to foreigners earnestly seeking a philosophy that places an emphasis on self-reliance, non-violence and loving kindness to all living beings.

10 Responses to “Promote Peace with Love and Compassion – towards all living beings”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Do all the good things WITHIN a SECURE nation.

    Hard won victory must be protected to do any good thing.

  2. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Nationalism is the cancer of human race. It doesn’t make nationalism right any more than slavery or genocide or oppression based on gender, all of which have been rationalized by their practitioners. We have learned to swim as fish and fly as birds but we have not yet learned to walk as brothers and sisters. The real welfare of human race is to share love, peace, and prosper.

  3. jayt Says:

    how do you make peace with American and European? Biggest joke.
    third world war will broke out within next a few years or within next ten years
    Third world people will raise against them and blood shed will follow in a massive scale and with end of western economic and military power. The good part of the war is third world people will finally capture thousands of Western spies stationed in Indias, Middle East Africas, Chinas and rest of the world. Last 50 -60 years up until now, they freely operated in the world under names- diplomats, military officers, NGOs, medical personal, red cross workers, business men, construction workers, UN aid workers, advices, TV crews, Journalists and under many more disguised names.

    Then and until now, they have been murdering millions innocent of children, women and men around the globe and continues. Today, You can see Sri lanka is an example of Western spies crimes. In the fast, they have wowed to tigers destroy Singhalese in different way if they help them to buy India And West achieved. And today, you can seen American and European crimes in not only in Sri lanka but in the region. Drugs and alcohol, Rape AND MURDER inserted through Western tv programs, internet and Western dress code. Fashion industry is one of the leading cunning program to destroy Singhalese women cultural clothes.

    Western spies have openly talked that major barrier for them to carry out their program is Singhalese culture and second barrier is no enough tamil in rest of Lanka. As a part of it, they trick Singhalese to settle huge jaffna Tamil population in Colombo using war in Jaffna as excuse. Also, War crime have been used for many this and many other programs inserted into Singhalese and makes Singhalese unable to counter tricks

    And these historical western conspiratorial programs are slowly and smoothly inserted into India, china, Pakistan, Afghanistan, middle east and many other countries
    Today India’s capital is American rape and murder Capital.

    Indian movies. Before(1990s) West bought India, was the world most beautiful regional cultural classic of the world and indian movies were able to watch by mom dad and children and whole family. then movies watch by even most conservative and stick Islamic countries without fear of hijacking family values.
    Today western spies managed to infiltrated Indian cinemas and trying to destroy and promote rape culture in India
    They see a whole wherever available, they sneak into it and destroy that country women and children and that’s the beginning of the end of a race or culture.
    You can see some of the hipi gang culture of the US in Indian moves: Sharuk khan Wearing a Banium showing his muscle, wearing a ear ring dancing for hours with copied american hipies hop. Today, teledrama in India and sri lanka are all about murder, these were copied from US. American promote rape murder, drugs and other corruption from the movies and music. More murder in the USA the more movies in the USA.

    my conclusion is that sinhalese have to act now crack down on TV , internet, drugs. alcohol, western fashion industry and sinhalese collaborators. If it cannot by done joint Chinna or other countries open up local internet service. Shut down internet and allow only to use some news webs, govt and opisition webs, some email and technological website. Sinhalese have to conspire against India too in order to stop western program coming through India.
    and many more other western influence.
    Looking at this, I do not blame Islamic countries and their fierce resistance to western influences. Also, there is bad side in Islamic in countries which is inhuman abuse of little children and women. aLso, this happen largely in Hinduism India too.

    American and europea can do trade but do not need business men women, NGOs, UN workers and TV programs in other countries. they did trade before just with embassy and locally appointed import export agent , that’s enough

  4. Dham Says:

    Senaka,
    Unlike other readers, I fully approve your concept, unconditionaly.
    I also value the beautiful words by NT. How good is we can achieve this- this is real wisdom.

    How do you make peace with American and European?. Not all Americans and Europeons bad. If you go through every event in the last centruray, all the cruel actions were initiated by Zionist, riding on the back of excuse of holocaust. All the media, governments are under the control of Zionis. There is no other Mara bigger than them, not even LTTE.

    Yet there is no doubt that for one’s own good will one should practice love and compassion.
    LTTE war was won because of love and compassion of our sons and daughters who faught fearlessly, yet look after the welfare of tamil brothers and sisters as well. We would never have won this if they were cruel Zionist like Lorenzo and keep on killing every Tamil they encounter. They did not do that.
    After the war it is even easier to do it proper way.
    Mahraja can do it, with proper Sangha association.

  5. jayt Says:

    For Tamil people, Western nationalism is not a cancer. it promises Tamil Nadu refugee status and citizenship in US, CanadA Europe austraalia, Afirica, south america and potentially in middle east, China and other Muslim countries in the future. So Western nationalism is to take everything from Muslim and others and Tamil will enjoy it to the fullest because Tamil are given citizenship rights almost more than half of the world to operate free against Sri lanka
    So next third world war will begin by usual western nationalism and this time with help of Tamilism.

    However, when there is a good part of western nationalism, Sri lanka should no waste time, borrow it and implement it fast.
    Ex. Qubec bill 101 ban English and any other language outdoors and restaurants menus etc because it threaten the 150 year old French immigrant culture and French language. This was recognised by English Canada and France – both of whom are part of many western Hippo-crates who propagates to the world that Tamil are threaten by Singhalese. I know , Western Hippocratic do this to steal sinhalese rights in order to protect the interest of western Hippo- crates.
    Quebec nationalists cancer can be inported to Sri lanka and shut up western Hippocratic propaganda. HoW? introduce Q Bill 101 which atomically ban any other Language other than Sinhalese because Sinhalese unlike Quebecois not only threaten by Tamil lanuage. but Sinhalese are physically threaten by 60 million tamil from next door and another millions from around the world. Second, Qubecois want english out of Quebac. But in Sri lanka, still Tamil will have much more better than Quebecois offer to English until nex Elam war start. which is Tamil will be give Jaffna as tamil center and remove all tamil from rest of lanka to Jaffna under immediate effect to serve the Tamil culture and jobs for tamil in tamil lanuage. that’s way, Sinhalese culture are protected and defence forces are ready for next ealam war and Tamil culture are protected and tamil are ready to head off to Tamil nadu forever when next ealam war is ready. This way Sinhalese will not get kill because all tamil in Jaffna and surrounded by arm forces and tamil will not get kill either because all tamill in Jaffna and army will supply free passengers lines to Tamill Nadu and new Tamil countries like Norway Switzerland France Britain, US. and also, potential new tamil country Toronto.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    NT,

    “Nationalism is the cancer of human race.”

    I disagree.

    Nationalism is a VERY GOOD THING.
    The problem is RACISM, not nationalism.
    Ehtnicity based politics is the cancer of the world.

    All sporting events recognize nationalism but not ethnic BS or racism.
    UN recognizes nationalism via nationhood but NOT ethnic BS or racism.

    Unfortunately Tamils have mixed up nationalism and racism. “Tamil National” Allaince is nonsense. It is actually Tamil Racial Alliance because Tamil is NOT a nationality.

    No Sinhalese talks about Sinhala nationalism. They talk about SL nationalism which is very healthy.

    That is why there are,

    Illankai Tamil Arse Katchi
    Tamil National Alliance
    Tamil Elam Liberation Organisation

    winning seats in parliament but there are no

    Sinhala national alliance, etc. winning seats.

    Tamil and Sinhala are ethnicities NOT nationalities.

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    A very timely article considering what happens today.

    Even religion does NOT work with racists.

    In breaking news, Tamil Madu racists had attacked SL PILGRIMS when they were leaving Tamil Madu after SL govt issued a travel warning.

    This is disgusting.

    They are mostly Sinhala Christians.
    Previously Sinhala Buddhists were attacked.
    Even Hindus were attacked including President’s brother in law Nadarajah and his MP wife.

    How can they be so uncivilised?

    Shame on Tamils for not STOPPING these attacks. This is not the first time. They should PREVENT these unruly elements in their community. They CANNOT stay silent. Silence supports and approves it.

    Stop racist attacks on innocent Sinhalese PILGRIMS and other SLs. They have not done any harm to anyone.

    Please promote love and compassion to all. Drop racism.

    If Tamil Madu continues like this, they will sink in sorrow and sin.

  8. jayt Says:

    sinhalese nationalism should be reintroduced with more sticker code. otherwise singhalese will disappear. last 30 years of murder bombing, drugs and alcohol introduction to sl is western nationalists products to eradicate singhalese
    and which is going around the world.
    these methods are not new to western nationalists white men.
    sri lanka president himself being spied and arrange a marriage to a tamil by by a spies group to ridicule proud sinhalese and laugh at them. they did open and told openly how they Practised their barbaric espionage on innocent singhalese by smuggling murderous tigers and arraigning marriages to innocent singhalese mainly during war period.
    how sri lanka president and singhalese got controlled by war mongers is by laying war crime charges.

  9. jayt Says:

    singhales still believing they won a war but it is big trick played by tricky nationalists spies to fool Singhalese. it is just an another big ‘make believing story”. what they did was after achieving the goal in india, they wanted get rid of main tigers leadership for several reasons while saving tigers who know less about sl war for future use.

    some of the reasons they allow sl army is to kill most important tigers are A) these tigers carries the names of western and western based spies who ordered thousands of bombings and killing leaders sl leaders like pramadasa,
    Gamini, Lalit, attempted killing of kumaratunga, attempted killing of fonsaka, dalada maligawa attacked.

    B) most importantly killing of Rijive gandi. this is the biggest case that the spies wanted to desperately avoided because it become world news.

    C) if sl army and govt did not get caught to spies tricks and saved the tigers. tigers definitely co operate with indian and sl authority and reveal all secrets.

    D)if it was the case, india history could have changed and indian could have already expelled four groups-american, british, israelis and norwagian this could have led indian refuse to sale indian businesses which is selling of indian sovereignty plus no billion dollar arm deals.

    And this is the reason they came out another plan which is allow sl army to kill tigers while propagating to the world to sound like they tried to save tigers to fool sinhalese and fool india and promised Karuna a chief minister post in a province and kp a government post. Both were given this promised long before war end. they were used to bring the war end deliver promises given to Tamil after buying India. Karuna mentioned it about a year ago that that the war win not because SL army and it is because of him and foreign groups. which is right.

    And that’s how war crimes were born as a result of that to get President to give Tamil what various western nationalists want. a Tamil was arraigned to marry president family was a part of this greatest plot .

    Here is the other trick. When a tamil is link to president either sinhalese overthrow him or Sinhalese lose everything through him. either way, it bring victory to this spies to achieve their goal. they did after studied well what happened in Kandian kingdom and arraigned this Tamill Marriages hopping sinhalese overthrow him, if overthrow him then , they process somebody into power who serve their interest, if not, they will get Prez to betray sinhalese and then Jaffne will be their interest. Either way.

    I do not know Why western spies and israelis are so bloodthirsty. why they do not enjoy present neutrality of sl avoid creating mass killing of some innocent Jews by Jews them self. sl avoided backing of their enemies despite mounting evidence of disguised peace makers send by Israelis and the west.

    Their enemies, they know they have legal right to dismantle israel, so why they are looking for more enemies?

    r

  10. samaraweera Says:

    Senaka, Thank you very much for the interesting article. It is timely as well because of the intending sacrifices planned at the Kovil. We hope the govt puts more pressure on the Kovil guardians as well as the stupid people who are crazy on sacrificing innocent harmless animals for their greedy expectations, so that they abstain from this crime.

    P.A.Samaraweera, Melbourne

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