sublime teaching on compassion and loving kindness, was
not only for humanity. A person who practice compassion
and loving kindness should, extend his compassion
through all kingdoms, in the three realms of existence.
The �stanza on loving-kindness� expounded by the Master,
guides the followers to have �metta�, on every kingdom
in the three realms. It summarises the whole sublime
doctrine, in ten simple versus. Others come in close
association, with pious persons radiating loving
kindness, and, experience and also who have got
benefited by those benevolent emanations.
There is a story of a boy, whose death, it says, would
occur within seven days, as foreseen by seers.
Bewildered parents, sought the advice of the Thathagatha.
The Master advised the Bhikkhus, to recite the sutta of
loving kindness, for seven days and nights continuously,
till the bad period is over.
The misfortune was averted, and the boy �Digayu� lived
for 100 years, thereafter. Illustrious Fa-Hien, in his
memories refers to Dhammaguptha, a �Bhikkhu� who
meditated for 40 years in a cave radiating thoughts of
loving kindness where snakes and mice occupy the same
cave, without harming each other.
A practising Buddhist layman, has to observe Five
Precepts. A novice of the order, observes seventy
precepts, in addition to these five.
In addition to these seventy-five precepts, a Buddhist
monk observes, 151 more precepts. The very first precept
to be observed by the practitioner, is to abstain from
destroying the life of beings.
The Thathagatha implemented rules, forbidding
manufacture and sale of arms, poisons, intoxicants, and
slaughter of animals for food or for sacrifices. �All
beings fear death, all living beings love life, remember
thou art like unto these, and do not kill or cause
slaughter� (130-Dhammapada), are the words of the
Master. �Let him not kill; nor cause to be killed any
living being, nor him approve of other�s killing� (v-Dhammika
Sutta), were the instructions of the Master to his
The Thathagatha advices the laymen, not to offer meat to
a Bhikkhu. (Jeewaka Sutta). One who offers, does what is
not pleasing to a Bhikkhu. The Master declared that,
there were three kinds of diseases among human beings,
originally. Those three were, desire, need of food; and
old age. Since man began to slaughter animals for food,
ninety-eight diseases arose in the world. (Brahmana
Dhammika Sutta of S.N.). A true sincere person is
necessarily a vegetarian, and fruitarian, not an
omnivorous animal. The last meal of the Master offered
by Chunda, as most erudite scholars agree, consisted of
truffles, and not flesh, as most Buddhists believe.
Compassion is the basic structure of our ethical system.
Care of the old and the infirm, and kindness to bird and
beast, would reduce the tendency for purposeless
destruction. Even the purposeless felling of a tree
amounts to a sin.
There are thousands of under-nourished mothers and
children living in slums and shanties around the world,
without proper sustenance, sanitary and living
conditions. Turning a blind eye towards the suffering,
would be as bad as intentional killing. The Master
always stressed the spirit of self-denial. The
Thathagatha was the first to oppose sacrifice of animals
in places of worship and spoke against cruelty to
animals. It is Thathagatha who showed compassion towards
all living beings.
Once the Master saw a Bhikkhu suffering from dysentery,
laying alone in his abode, abandoned by other Bhikkhus.
With great compassion, the Master washed the body of the
ailing Bhikkhu, and nursed him to health the Master
stressed the value of nursing the sick, by such noble
examples. There are so many instances where the Buddha
showed practical compassion towards animals. When Prince
Devadatta shot down a swan with his arrow, Prince
Siddhartha rescued the swan and gave him necessary
On another occasion he saved a lamb awaiting at his
journeys, end. The Master Himself, was born in the
animal-realm in so many previous births. Fulfilling the
�Paramis� as �Bodthisatwa�, he gave his body, to be
eaten by a hungry tigers, in order to save its� kid.
Countless such examples, are in Buddhist literature.
It is to the Thathagatha and his disciples, the world
owe, apparently, the establishment of hospitals to the
sick. They were the first to establish, a system of
state medicine and one physician was appointed for every
ten villages in India. They laid down laws, regulating
burials and sanitation, prohibited adulteration of food.
The medical terms �therapy, attest these facts. These
were the ideas of �Theras, the followers of the Master.
Once Dhevadattha wanted to implement strict
vegiterianism as a rule by the Master. Instead the
Master made meat-eating more prohibitive by denying all
killing using direct or indirect means, and refuse to
accept the request made by Dhewadhatta. The teaching
says that one should not destroy cause, nor allow, or
encourage, to be destroyed any living thing. As such, it
is a disquace for us as Buddhists if we fail to
suppreses our desires.
It is also a disgrace to secure law, for closing of
slaughters houses and butcher-shops, only for the sacred
days, or, close down only those, in the visinity of
places of worship. We make good promises daily without
intending to fulfil them.
The Master never expected dishonesty, from disciples and
followers. As practising Buddhists we must think anew be
and honest to overselves.
We purchase jars, cans, cartons of meat, fish or eggs,
which hide the original form of flesh food from
supermarkets. We believe while doing so, we do not
commit the actual killing, and it is quite permissible
to eat it is not proper, to allow another to stock these
things for us as traders or to allow yet another, to do
the dirity and cruel work of killing the creatures for
us to eat. All one involved, and committed together,
here. It is not proper for a layman to offer meat, fish
or eggs to a Bhikkhu, or a Bhikkhu to justify eating
whatever meat put into the alms bowl. Most of us would
refuse, to eat meat, foul or fish, if we have to kill
and prepare these creatures, ourselves.
A chain of sinful events, is associated with the
unfertilized egg. Most animals are deliberately brought
into existence today, by breeding programmes, mostly by
artificial insemination, in order to bring larger
profits within a shorter period.
The supply continue to exist, because of the demand.
These are produced in great quantity. Mothers of these
new borns suffer, when they are taken away. They undergo
a life of cruelties, uncertainties, ending in terrible
pain, and slaughter. Buddhists are instructed to resist
evil, by refusing to co-operate with it.