Use Buddhist Quotations in pro – active Vesak Cards highlighting protection of animals and natural environment
Posted on May 12th, 2016

Dharma Voices for Animals Colombo, Sri Lanka Chapter

With Vesak around the corner it is an appropriate time to place stress on the Buddha’s teachings particularly on the protection of animals, natural environment and the value of forests. Because once they disappear from our midst as a result of unsustainable development there is no known human method of getting them back again. 

Buddhism is an animal rights religion par excellence. It has long subscribed to the belief that all life forms including that of non – human animals are sacred and deserving of respect, and extolls Metta (Loving – Kindness) and Karuna ( Compassion) as utmost virtues worthy of cultivation.

Buddhism unreservedly embraces all living beings in its moral universe without discrimination on ground of species, race or creed. Buddhist tenets—including the first precept, Do not kill”—extend to both human and non – human sentient beings. The Buddha was so adamant and protective of the weaker members of our moral community namely the animals that he declared:  

He who has laid aside the cudgel that injures any creature whether moving or still, who neither slays nor causes to be slain — him I call an Arya (Noble person) ” (Dhammapada)

So influenced were the people of Sri Lanka by Buddhist teachings both in understanding and in their practice that in the pre – Portuguese era (before 1505 A.D.) people of neighbouring countries used to call the Sinhalese the ‘Aryavansa ’ (Noble Race).

The Buddhist teachings are rich with moral sayings and ethics that the more outspoken statements of the Buddha in relation to Rights and Welfare of Animals, Trees, Forests and the larger natural environment deserve to be published in Vesak Cards this season to inspire people particularly the younger generation to be pro – active and take moral responsibility for the protection of these precious resources in the present and the future. Animal rights should be in the forefront of thought of Buddhists interaction with non – human sentient beings.

Here are some inspiring Buddhist quotations:                

  • “Let creatures all, all things that live, all beings of whatever kind, see nothing that will bode them ill. May naught of evil come to them”.

                                                                                             The Buddha

  • The Mahavanija Jataka teaches us to cultivate compassion and gratitude towards nature especially the tree thus: The tree that gives you pleasant shade, to sit or lie at need, you should not tear its branches down. One who harms his friend (the Banyan tree) is cruel indeed.”
  • A Righteous King should extend his protection not merely to different classes of people equally, but also to beasts and birds ”


  • Emperor Ashoka taught his people to have compassion for animals and to refrain from harming or killing them.  In one of his famous pillar edits he declares “I have enforced the law against killing certain animals. The greatest progress of Righteousness among men comes from the exhortation in favour of non-injury to life and abstention from killing living beings.”
  • As a mother even with own life protects her only child, so should one cultivate immeasurable loving-kindness towards all living beings”.

                                                                                    Karaniya Metta Sutta


  • He who both day and night takes delight in harmlessness sharing love with all that live, finds enmity with none”.

                                                                                     Samyutta Nikaya

  • Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to a man. Compassion and living kindness are the hallmarks of achievement and happiness.

People think of animals as if they were vegetables, and that is not right. We have to change the way people think about animals. I encourage the Tibetan people and all people to move toward a vegetarian diet that doesn’t cause suffering.


I do not see any reason why animals should be slaughtered to serve as human diet when there are so many substitutes. After all, man can live without meat ”.

                                                       Dalai Lama


  • In the Samyutta Nikaya (S. I. 33), the planting of trees is encouraged as it is considered to be a good deed which brings about birth in heavenly worlds. It is well recorded that the Buddha spent a good part of his life in a site called the Jetavanārāma (the temple of Jeta’s forest grove). In the Petavatthu (Pv.259), it is said that to destroy a tree that has contributed much to the cleansing of the air that we breathe and has provided delightful shade during the hotter part of the day is looked upon as tantamount to the betrayal of a friend (mittadubbha).


  • “The perpetuators of the Buddha dharma have a moral responsibility to the rest of humanity to be at the forefront of the change away from blood-letting and killing, and not surreptitiously fostering it because of their lack of will to change their habits or mode of thinking concerning the animal kingdom.”

                          Bodo Balsys                                                                                                                 Ahimsa Buddhism and the Vegetarian Ideal

  • “The member of Buddha’s order “should not intentionally destroy the life of any being, down even to a worm or an ant.”

                      ~ Mahagga (khandhaka 1, ch. 79)

  • “I love living things that have no feet, “four-footed creatures, and things with many feet” May all creatures, all things that live, all beings of whatever kind, may they all behold good fortune.”

                                                   ~ Cullavagga (khandhaka 5, ch. 6)    


  • “Put your picket signs up if you are true compassionate Buddhists trying to walk the Bodhisattva path; and help end the war against animals. A little one sided war of course, but many forget that it is actually a war and that the animals are the innocent casualties of war. But there is no Geneva convention as to how to best look after these prisoners of human predatoriness, so people continue to entertain and feed themselves on the slaughtered bodies of those whim they have captured and then bred for their gluttony.”

                                          Bodo Balsys

                  Ahimsa Buddhism and the Vegetarian Ideal


  • “When we hunt or fish, we deliberately kill a defenseless being who wishes us no harm. This is a direct violation of the First Precept. It is absolutely forbidden to Buddhists. As to eating meat, we know that the only way we can obtain it is for an animal to be killed. Therefore, when we eat meat, it is our intent that an innocent animal should die to satisfy our addiction to flesh. And that underlying intention, no matter how well hidden behind a smokescreen of rationalizations will block the growth of compassion and create negative karma.”

                                     Norm Phelps

             The Great Compassion: Buddhism & Animal Rights


  • “Kill and eat is not a Buddhist principle.”

                                    Senaka Weeraratna

From “Export of meat products from Sri Lanka harms  country’s Buddhist image,” Buddhist News Network

15)       “The birds and beasts and creeping things?

  “tis writ”

  Had sense of Buddha’s vast embracing love,

  And took the promise of his piteous speech.”

      ~ Sir Edwin Arnold

        Light of Asia, bk. 8


Dharma Voices for Animals

Colombo, Sri Lanka Chapter

2 Responses to “Use Buddhist Quotations in pro – active Vesak Cards highlighting protection of animals and natural environment”

  1. charithsls Says:

    I agree absolutely with Buddhism being the one (only) religion teaching true compassion for the followers.
    Be it for animal killing or martyrdom there is absolutely no place in Buddhism.
    However I’m a bit surprised with no other comments from other bloggers here ,probably still digging in their meat plates!

  2. Dham Says:

    Doing no harm to any living being ? YES.
    No meat rule for monks ? – NO. It is up to them to take what is given of not to take. They did not went forth to eat.
    No meat for house holders ? – up to them but they have a choice. They will not starve not eating meat. So, it is easier for house holders to avoid meat.

    When Devadatta Thero asked Buddha to impose five rules, one was to be vegetarians. Why did Buddha did not allow it ?
    But how about harming elephants ? Sending them from Colombo to Kandy on foot on hot tar road surfaces to participate in Esala Perahera ?

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