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Buddhist attitude towards Gadhimai

I am very much saddened by the slaughter of animals that is beginning today in Gadhimai and about which I have read in the papers.
Do you know whether this Hindu tradition existed at the time of the Buddha and if it did, what was the Buddha’s stance towards this?
Is it enough to refrain from killing animals ourselves or should we do something to stop this slaughter? When human beings are slaughtered it’s generally considered ethical to intervene to stop the violence. So what about the animals?

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The Kūṭadanta-sutta (DN 5) seems relevant:

A brahmin wishes to undertake a great sacrifice, and asks for the Buddha’s advice. The Buddha tells a legend of the past, in which a king is persuaded to give up violent sacrifice, and instead to devote his resources to supporting the needy citizens of his realm. However, even such a beneficial and non-violent sacrifice pales in comparison to the spiritual sacrifice of giving up attachments.

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Thanks for the interesting reference. One thing that I have remarked is that the Buddha gave advice to the Brahmin that went to see him; so what about the religious people at Gadhimai who do NOT go and see Buddhists to ask for their view on animal sacrifice?
Should they just be allowed to carry on with their religious rites even if they are violent and cruel? Or should Buddhists take the initiative and try to do something to stop these sacrifices, out of compassion for the animals?

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The Buddha condemned all animal sacrifice, and while it is not completely gone, it is largely absent from Buddhist countries.

As it happens, in a longer study of the meaning of sacrifice, I have discussed (and condemned) the Gadhimai festival, this was in White Bones Red Rot Black Snakes.

I certainly think that Buddhists should continue the Buddha’s work of trying to make an end of such sacrifice. I am sure the Buddhists of Nepal would do what they can.

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“Here (in my domain) no living beings are to be slaughtered or offered in sacrifice. Nor should festivals be held…”

This is from Ashoka’s Major Rock Edict number 1. So a few hundred years after the Buddha these things were ‘officially’ forbidden.

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Thanks. That’s very interesting indeed. :pray:

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I have recently read AN4.198 and the sacrifice described there really scared me, sounds like something from a cult horror movie.

“And how does one person mortify themselves and others, pursuing the practice of mortifying themselves and others?
It’s when a person is an anointed king or a well-to-do brahmin.
He has a new temple built to the east of the city.
He shaves off his hair and beard, dresses in a rough antelope hide, and smears his body with ghee and oil.
Scratching his back with antlers, he enters the temple with his chief queen and the brahmin high priest.
There he lies on the bare ground strewn with grass.
The king feeds on the milk from one teat of a cow that has a calf of the same color.
The chief queen feeds on the milk from the second teat.
The brahmin high priest feeds on the milk from the third teat.
The milk from the fourth teat is offered to the flames.
The calf feeds on the remainder.
He says: ‘Slaughter this many bulls, bullocks, heifers, goats, rams, and horses for the sacrifice!
Fell this many trees and reap this much grass for the sacrificial equipment!’ His bondservants, workers, and staff do their jobs under threat of punishment and danger, weeping, with tearful faces.
That’s how one person mortifies themselves and others, pursuing the practice of mortifying themselves and others.”

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Yes scary and sad :unamused:

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