Theravadin Monks Speak Out

15135887_1262871007107107_8379974597916121676_nBuddhists are encouraged to love all living beings and not to restrict their love only to human beings. They should practice loving kindness towards every living being. The Buddha’s advice is that it is not right for us to take the life of any living being, since every living being has a right to exist. Animals also have fear and pain as do human beings. It is wrong to take their lives.  —Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera

Some Buddhists maintain that the Buddha never said we should be vegetarians, and that monks may eat whatever is offered to them, as long as they do not see, hear, or suspect that the animals, fish or fowl were killed especially for them; if they so see, hear or suspect, they are forbidden to eat the flesh. But this standpoint is totally indefensible, as anyone who looks at things a little objectively can see.  —Ven. Abhinyana

There is a common belief in some Buddhist countries that one may eat flesh provided he does not kill the animal with his own hands; but it is not so, because eating is the cause of slaughter. If we become vegetarians, all the butchers will have to close their shops and turn to a better profession. By eating flesh we keep a class of people in a miserable profession. It is not fair that we should force the butchers to go to hell for our sake. If we became vegetarians, then the whole world would be at peace.  —Ven. U Lokanatha

Buddhism offers definite and positive instructions with regard to the manner in which humans should develop universal loving-kindness towards all sentient beings that exist in the universe, whether in close proximity or at a distance, seen or unseen, large or small, fierce or timid. Even those seeking to come into existence, like unborn babies or those in the stage of eggs, are encompassed within this range of universal loving kindness in Buddhism. It specifies this attitude thus declaring ‘May all beings be well and happy’.  —Ven. Dhammavihari

When we recite the first precept, we say, “I undertake the training to refrain from killing living beings.” This is a challenge, and in itself is a powerful ethics. Yet it is merely a short summary of a principle. It was never meant to fully describe the virtue of harmlessness. When the Buddha spoke of this precept in more detail, this is what he had to say:

“Having abandoned the taking of life, refraining from the taking of life, one dwells without violence, with the knife laid down, scrupulous, full of mercy, trembling with compassion for all sentient beings.”

This is not just an ethic of allowability. It doesn’t merely set a minimum standard. It calls us out, asking us to aspire to a higher sense of compassion, an ethic that deeply feels for the welfare of all beings. More than just asking, ‘Does this act come from an intention to harm’, we ask ourselves, ‘Is this act the best I can possibly do to promote the welfare of all?’ Rather than simply escaping bad kamma, we create good kamma.  —Ven. Ajahn Sujato


About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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3 Responses to Theravadin Monks Speak Out

  1. Upāsaka says:

    Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu!

  2. Upāsaka says:

    Reblogged this on Cattāri Brahmavihārā and commented:
    From a blog I follow.

  3. Dorit Sar-Shalom says:

    Thanks you Tashi.

    Sent from my iPhone

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