An Appeal to Buddhists- Strive to become Vegetarians at least in the month of Vesak
Posted on May 1st, 2020

by Mrs. M. Weeraratna


This article was written by Mrs. Muriel Weeraratna in 2017 under the title ‘Buddhists must become vegetarians in the month of Vesak’ . She passed away on October 21, 2019 at the age 98 years (40 days days short of her 99th birthday anniversary). The views expressed in the article based on a high planetary sense have become increasingly relevant in the current epoch of the Coronavirus which had its beginning in the Wet Markets of Wuhan, China where rare wild animals are killed in full view of the public and smaller animals are some times even eaten alive. The world is paying a heavy price for abuse of animals. Is the Coronavirus pandemic a form of Karmic Retribution for slaughter of animals? Time to draw the appropriate lessons from this tragic crisis and move forward on a footing of compassion and loving kindness to all living beings as the Buddha taught continuously during his lifetime.

The practice of religion requires effort. It calls for personal sacrifice, self – restraint and discipline. Above all such practice must be over arched by compassion and kindness based on a clear moral footing. Then the practice becomes noble in character.

When we look around our society we see Muslims conduct an annual fast during the month of Ramadan. Not even a drop of water is taken during the time of fasting. The purpose is to simulate the pain and suffering and develop an insight into the plight of the poor who do not have enough food to eat and drink and therefore are forced to go hungry and thirsty regularly. Fasting helps one to better equip himself / herself morally and generate empathy for the disadvantaged.

The celebration of Vesak is not meant to make one indulgent. Vesak is the day that commemorates the themagula – Birth, Enlightenment and Parinirvana of the Buddha. It is a day for observance of Sil (meditation and quiet reflection on a disciplined footing). If Islam can promote empathy for the poor through fasting, likewise Buddhists can show compassion and loving kindness for all those beautiful innocent animals who are slaughtered, by becoming vegetarian at least for the month of May.

The consumption of flesh food invariably results in the slaughter of innocent animals. Buddhists can lessen the number of animals killed by not partaking flesh food at least during the month of Vesak i.e. May. There is enough Vegetarian and Vegan related food in the market today. No can go hungry by not eating meat.

The First Precept – Reverence for life including that of non – human sentient beings must be inculcated in every child in school. Life is dear to all (Dhammapada). Peace and Reconciliation should not be confined to only one (human) species.

Mrs. M. Weeraratna
Colombo 05

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