Tamil and Sinhala-Buddhist Unity: Cow Slaughter Ban
By Dr. C. G. Ilangakoon
It’s high time we made use of the power of intelligence, gifted by God and discard fake concepts of political deception and obfuscations of scriptural texts, rooted, consecutively, in communal violence and religious racism. The Tamil voters, in the void of destructive racist politics and power-greedy opportunism, must understand that their peace and prosperity is a possibility, in the main, with the unity of the Sinhala Buddhist absolute majority.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, with the blessings of the President of Sri Lanka has courageously pioneered the initiative of proposing the cow slaughter ban. This is clearly the hands of friendship stretched out in cooperation and communal unity. The proposal comprises not only communal, but also religious unity, since the value of the cow slaughter ban is well analysed and thoroughly elucidated in Buddhism and Hinduism both being dignified global religions.
Division destroys and unification builds. Unity is impossible by electing leaderships weakened by imbecility. That was what the Tamil and Muslim voters were engaged in, when electing strengthless and irresolute leaders of governance, demoralised by the absence of patriotism, respect and love for the rights of the original community and ever ready to brutally betray the community, Nation and religion.
They enjoyed the fruits of weak leadership after the election of ‘good governance’. The Tamil and Muslim voters should be intelligent enough, not to underestimate the majority of the original community in this country. They are well capable of uniting, if and when really needed. The best examples were the last Presidential and General Elections. They successfully defeated even the system of proportional representation, branded to have been the judicial messiah, which constrains the absolute majority in Parliament.
Now, the Nation has elected a powerful and courageous leadership, well capable of naming things, for what they truly are. Hence, this is the best chance for Tamil voters to reshape their racist deception, inculcated by a politics of racist opportunism and be reframed into an innovative, farsighted, non-racist and profit-making vision. Spring was brought to the North subsequent to the eradication of the exacerbation of the LTTE terrorism by the SLPP founded by the Chairperson of the Economic Prosperity Task Force of Sri Lanka, Basil Rajapaksa.
It is true that Sri Lanka, notwithstanding the presence of its multi-ethnicity and multi-religiosity, predominantly is the land of the Buddha. The title, ‘The Land of Buddha’, the pearl of the Indian Ocean has won to own, by the strength of the firm Buddhist roots, gripped in Heladiva, for an unbroken colossal period of more than 2,500 years, when no other community or religion ever existed in this land, to a degree, to the exclusion of the Tamils. The Dharma or the Teachings of Buddha is, one of the most beautiful and doctrinally deep, intelligently logical, above and beyond blind belief religions in the world, enriched with absolute tolerance of other religions and multi-culturalism, though some extremist groups of so-called religions try to abuse the innocence of its tolerance, to destroy Buddhism itself.
The first Commandment among the universal precepts of Buddhism is ‘Thou shall not kill’, which no other religion contains as its first Commandment and hence, it perfectly demonstrates the depth of its innocence and the altitude of loving-kindness it showers, towards life and the environment in general. And this is where; the killing of innocent animals to gratify the human greed of flesh consumption flexes its ignominious muscle of disgrace to the total contravention of wondrous ethics, compassionately elucidated by the Buddha.
Animals are killed for consumption in the presence of a demand for their flesh. In the absence of a demand, no sane-thinking person is crazy to kill animals for joyous entertainment. Therefore, the actual sin of slaughtering animal’s falls, not on the butcher, but on the greedy community, whose insistence for flesh is the real cause that causes the slaughter. Thus, the sinful responsibility for killing innocent animals is to be ascribed to those, who are gripped by the greed of demanding flesh.
Who demands blood-oozing out flesh? Muslims can be pardoned. Their religion and tradition is not specific in prohibiting flesh. The Tamil banning focuses on the cow, though many Tamils are vegetarians. But, the Buddhists, in this respect have no excuse whatsoever. They simply are not supposed to kill and devour animal flesh!
Some religionists, who seasonally or on an ad-hoc basis propagate the stoppage of cow slaughter, design attacks against Muslims. For example, when a Buddhist priest set himself on fire and sacrificed his life, demanding the abolition of cow slaughter, an anti-Buddhist tendency of attacking Muslim abattoirs and flesh-selling outlets erupted across the country. A team with two Buddhist monks came to the office of the current writer as well and demanded to join them in the charging campaign.
It was categorically refused and they were compassionately explained that the true path to stop the cow slaughter is not attacking those who slaughter the animal. Instead by conquering oneself of the greed in one’s own mind for ‘stinking’ flesh, through the realisation of its atrocious sinfulness and as a result relinquishing the consumption of flesh of innocent animals in general and cow-flesh in particular.
If people stop buying flesh, animals would not be killed, just to heap their flesh up in a corner until it will be spoiled with bundles of worms rolling around, defiling the environs with an unbearable stench. The majority of this country is Sinhala Buddhists. If they honestly observe the first Commandment of Buddha earnestly, 80 per cent of the cow-slaughter would stop with no necessity to attack anyone, proving the world, the beautiful silence, innocence and non-violence, elucidated by the Buddha.
If the 80 per cent of Sinhala Buddhists would refrain from eating flesh in general and from devouring beef in particular that benevolent act would trigger an enormous energy, which will inject the power of compassionate kindness in to the hearts of all communities, including Muslims, who’s religious and community traditions allow flesh consumption. They will begin to think and re-think. To intelligently analyse and re-analyse, what they, up to now knew and believed in. Adoubt in what they were confident hitherto would spring up and the question, “Can 80% of the populace of this island be wrong?” will begin to flex its muscle. This along can play the role of the catalyst, making ignorant people aware of the truth, innocently teaching a powerful lesson to flesh consumers, in the void of attacking them.
It is said that the Buddha discoursed that under certain circumstances a Buddhist is allowed to eat meat: If One did not kill the animal oneself, If one was not an accomplice to the slaughtering and one knows well that the animal was killed not for oneself.
This is totally disrespectful to such an innocent teacher of wisdom as Buddha. It is totally and utterly impossible. A beautiful human-being, who never sinned even in his dreams, will not teach such spiritual rubbish! Which indirectly coax spiritually uninstructed common people, to consume flesh? The Buddhist priests, who teaches such criminal nonsense, are either ignorant or if not, willfully selfish. Some priests are ignorantly trapped in this ecclesiastical hogwash innocently, blindly believing in what the seniors preach and believing in some limited scriptural writings. Such scriptures must be destroyed to save Buddha from disrepute, they cause. Thus, such brutal explications should not be applied in our beautiful discussion here.
The cow is virtually our second mother. It feeds us as our moms feed us by converting her blood to milk. The milk of the cow is not meant for us humans, but for its own calves. Yet, we get it. Then, the milk is not an end by itself. It is used to make lots of other products, we consume and relish like butter, cheese, gee, curd, fresh cream, ice cream and what not. It works in our fields. The bull carries our loads. Its dung is used as the manure. It is an innocent animal. It causes us no harm nor harms anyone else. It depends on grass for its survival. How can we slaughter this innocent animal and eat its flesh without remembering, pondering and feeling that we eat and devour our own Amma’s flesh? I am shocked. Perpetrating this heinous crime, can one call himself a human being? Hence, let’s drop eating cow-flesh.
Flesh-lovers, who trust that animals are in this world, for them to kill and eat, on being encountered with the present suggestion, forthwith bring forth the following argument: “Why must only beef be dropped? If flesh of other animals like goats, hens, rams etc. can be eaten, then why not beef?” The question seems to be logical, but not right. The appearance of its logicality is in the intelligence of one’s mind but the empirical existence of its righteousness is in the wisdom of the heart. The mind cannot feel.
The mind alone cannot make a being, a human-being. It is the heart, with its beautiful feeling and perceptions that makes a being, a man. Hence, the answer, for the intelligence of such people, who counter with the above argument, is that, the fundamental objective of this innocent and humble proposal is, not to eat only beef and continue to consume other flesh types. But, to respectfully and compassionately initiate an inception or beginning, to stop the most cruel and brutal type of flesh-eating and then,…. to generate a psychic foundation of self-respect and self-reliance, to relinquish the consuming of other-flesh types and be, if possible, a vegetarian. Hence, lets drop eating cow-flesh.
Buddhist and the Follower of Buddha‘s Dharma
The majority of this island is Buddhists. The First Commandment of Buddha is ‘Thou Shall Not Kill’. My suggestion is “Please don’t be a Buddhist, but, be a follower of the Buddha”. Until one becomes a follower of the Dharma of Buddha, one is destined to continue the animalistic instinct of devouring innocent animals’ flesh. While eating, you, not only eat its flesh, but also suck the blood of the animal. Now, what is the difference, between you and a vampire? One can become a Buddhist by means of a passport or an Identity Card or by being born in to a so-called Buddhist family. Yet, one cannot be a follower of the Buddha, without observing the Dharma, He taught.
Then, if one violates the First Commandment, elucidated by the Buddha, he cannot self-identify and proclaim to the world that he is a Buddhist. He is an anti-Buddhist and his religion is not the Dharma, as was educated by Buddha. Therefore, by giving up eating beef, we can set a beautiful start to becoming an authentic Buddhist, who follows the existential contents of Dharma. Hence, let’s drop eating cow flesh.
Negativities of Flesh Consumption
By eating flesh a Buddhist becomes an anti-Buddhist. Further he also becomes a hypocrite. It converts one’s stomach in to a graveyard, wherein dead bodies are buried. It reduces one in to a person of anger. Without anger one cannot eat others’ flesh. The stupidity of intelligence cannot grasp the depth of this truth. One needs to be wise. It ruins one with the contamination of hatred. Without hating one cannot eat others flesh. It empowers one’s greed. It makes one selfish and self-centred. Without greed one cannot eat others flesh.
The stupidity of intelligence cannot grasp the depth of this truth. One needs to be wise. It depicts that one is deluded. It is only someone who is deluded, who can eat flesh. With the right knowledge one cannot eat others flesh.
The stupidity of intelligence cannot grasp the depth of this truth. One needs to be wise. It causes pain and agony to the animal. That pain and agony, energetically are deposited in the dead flesh. Thus one becomes the eater of pain and agony. Naturally, one cannot be a happy person.It causes fear and fright in the animal. That fear and fright energetically are deposited in the dead flesh. Thus one becomes the eater of fear and fright. Naturally, one cannot be a life fulfilled person. Direct killing or indirect influencing to kill is a shameful sin. Eating animal flesh indirectly influences the slaughter of animals. Thus, one becomes a shameless sinner.There are thousands of negativities. I shall not waste your time. The above are only few.
About the writer:
Dr.Gamini Ilangakoon is a Lawyer, specialising in International Treaty Laws