Posted on August 1st, 2014

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane


 No mental or spiritual advancement is ever possible with the guilt of encouraging the slaughter of animals lingering in one’s mind. There cannot be kindness to animals without refraining from eating their flesh. Eating animal flesh, it is common knowledge, helps and encourages the slaughter of animals. Eating one or a few types of animals is as bad as eating any animal. No human dies of not eating animal flesh. No human weakens physically or mentally by not eating animal flesh.

Will flesh-eaters ever realize the violence that is involved and entrenched in eating meat. Cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chicken and fish are as innocent and lovable as your own pet. Eating their flesh is as bad and deplorable as eating your pet’s flesh. Kindness towards one animal, and eating the flesh of another, does not make any sense. Who are we fooling but ourselves.

When your mother ceased having milk to feed you, it was cow’s milk that you were fed to live and grow. So the cow is like you second mother. But, once you are grown up you start eating her flesh. Is that your form of gratitude for your substitute mother”? Why do you wash the blood off when preparing the cows flesh, the so-called beef that  you eat?. Isn’t  that a waste?  Why not make a drink out of it and call it blood wine”.

No sensible person should respect flesh-eaters. They support killing. How can anyone respect killers. They cannot hope to get the respect even from animals – in fact they are worse than animals. If animals can talk, don’t kill us” will be the first words they will utter. Their first question will be why do you eat our flesh?” – we don’t eat yours!


The first of our Five Precepts instructs Buddhists neither to kill nor to encourage killing.

The Dhammapada states emphatically that one should neither kill nor cause to kill and that life is dear for all and all living beings are like us and that we should treat them the way we want to be treated ourselves. Our Noble Eightfold Path forbids the trade in flesh and engaging in activities such as fishing, hunting.

It was the Buddhist Emperor Asoka who proclaimed in his well reputed Rock Edict I that “Here no animal shall be killed or sacrificed”. There were proclamations by many Buddhist kings of Sri Lanka forbidding the killing of any living being within their kingdom and also proclamations to protect wild life and fishes in the forests and lakes of Sri Lanka. These actions on the part of our royalty are reflective of the strong influence of Buddhist principles on the attitude towards animal life in the social and legal history of our nation from historic times.

Cultural norms of our nation are founded on values cherished in our Sinhala Buddhist civilization. These values were inculcated in us by the Buddha Dhamma and we have upheld them for some 2300 years. Therefore, understanding the culture of our nation involves knowing the basic values developed and promoted by Buddhism. They have exerted the greatest impact on all aspects of life in our motherland giving us an identity as a unique nation. .Buddhist values are geared at developing a social ethic which, would contribute to co-existence, mutual understanding, co-operation and total harmony.

The Buddha himself quite often admonished his followers not to blindly hang on to personal views and beliefs, upholding them on the sole truth and denouncing the rest as false, for such an attitude is a primary source of conflict. A fundamental value that Buddhism imbibes in people is that life is precious, that all sentient beings desire to live, fear death, harm and suffering and that one should act in such a way that would guarantee the safety of life of all, along with their possession and belongings. In order to successfully observe this ‘value’ one needs to adopt an enlightened outlook, where compassion, tolerance and charity are highlighted.


 The arrival and establishment in our country of meat-eating European Catholics and Christians and definitely the Muslims who are not averse to the killing of animals had a definite negative impact on the Buddhist principle of Ahimsa among the indigenous Sinhala Buddhists of the country. Muslims are virtually responsible for the establishment animal slaughtering and related businesses in our country, while fishing predominantly has been an occupation of the Catholics. These alien, non-indigenous life-styles, occupations and tendencies introduced to our country by non-indigenous foreign elements, often alongside other social vices and evil practices, have undoubtedly facilitated the subversion of Buddhist values and increasingly undermine the principle of Ahimsa which is a fundamental characteristics of a Buddhist nation. This is further   supported and intensified by unethical means adopted in the conversion of Buddhists to ideologies which are not averse to the killing of animals.

History of our country reveals vividly that the spirit of tolerance and accommodation of others irrespective of their religious or other differences has been a common distinguishing characteristic of Sinhala Buddhists of this country from very early times. Judging from the fanaticism and confrontational attitudes and actions of the Muslims, the Catholics and Evangelists in recent decades, it appears that this spirit of tolerance and accommodation on the part of Buddhists is not appreciated by them. It is being exploited as a weakness to pursue their self interests of promoting their alien religious norms and ways of life that are contrary to the traditional cultural norms of this nation.


 It is most encouraging to note that the indigenous Sinhala Buddhists of this nation are beginning to realize that they no longer can be mere silent onlookers in the face of this unjust and unwarranted onslaught on a humane and compassionate religious ethic which had stood the test of time for over two thousand two hundred years. It is clearly evident today that the ordinary Buddhists of this nation have got their act together to redeem themselves by rallying to the Buddha’s call to go forth … for the good of the many, for the benefit and well-being of the many…”  Concerned Buddhists, both the ordained and lay, have organized themselves countrywide and have developed appropriate strategies and measures to legitimately confront the threat faced by them, and to restore the socio-cultural norms and principles upon which their nation was founded. This is happening notwithstanding severe objections and obstacles from various quarters – local and foreign, hell-bent on undermining, impeding and disreputing   this active movement of Sinhala Buddhists to restore the wholesome integral qualities of their Sinhala Buddhist nation.

 Dr. Daya Hewapathirane


  1. AnuD Says:

    What we talk here is politics.

    We need proper leaders for that.

    Present leaders, weather the governing party or the opposition are for wealth and they are the old boys. All of them are there to strengthen their family wealth.

  2. AnuD Says:

    Sinhala Buddhists have become, and other religions want them so, a bunch of back bone less who always promote others need.

    Others want Sinhala Buddhists to become DODO birds and Sinhala buddhists have accepted it.

  3. Nanda Says:

    How about Champika for start.
    He is bright, educated ( not a stupid lawyer), Buddhist to the core, upright.

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