Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Who Owns Yak?

Soon after enforcing the Cow Slaughter Ban Bill in India, the paa brand in Bhutanese dish has shifted to pricey yak Sha (meat). The meat shops never run in shortage of stock. It is now Bhutanese who slaughter the yaks to substitute the beef stuffs.

Yak is one of the endangered mountain animals, and soon it will fade away like Dragon and Dinosaurs. Slaughtering a yak doesn’t only matters the sin, but will have greater impact on ecology. Slaughtering a cow cannot be weighed against slaughtering a yak. I am neither ecologist nor a great Buddhist preacher to talk on sins and system. But, I am just sharing my random thoughts as always.  

His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “Life is as dear to the mute creature as it is to man. Just as one want happiness and fears pain, just as one want to live and not to die, so do other creatures.” Likewise, the Buddha said, “Life is dear to all beings. They have the right to live the same as we do”. No killing (a respect for life) is the foremost of the five percepts that had been passed down from Buddha himself.

Deliberately hurting or killing another creature is totally against Buddhist percepts. Buddhist feel mercy on animals in the border towns of India, which are subjected to slaughter for their flesh. But, the irony in it is that, more than 80 percent of is exported to Bhutan – the Buddhist country, and it is consumed by the people of Bhutan. Yaks are continued to slaughter by the Bhutanese nomads.

There should be no discrimination among animals – they are the same. For an instance, if we keep an exquisite cat as our pet animal, a cat will for sure kill a countless rats in his life span. We never feel sympathy on rats. As we love our pet we also have to love the rat. Animals are very much same to us. They have feelings; they have same mind as we have; and they also want happiness, like we do.

George Orwell, in his famous book, Animal Farm writes, “Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals”. It is thus, questionable to expect our prayer for mercy to be heard by our Gods above us, when we show no mercy to what is under us.

We often believe that there won’t be sin for eating meat, as long as we don’t kill animal by ourselves. But, if there is no meat eater, there will be no animal killer as well.

The sin of slaughtering animal is immeasurable. However, since the very beginning of Buddhism over 2500 years ago, Buddhist monks and nuns have to depend on almsfood including meat. To clarify the position of meat eating to the monks, the Buddha said: “Monks, I allow you fish and meat that are quite pure in three respect: if they are not seen, heard or suspected to have been killed on purpose for a monk. But you should not knowingly make use of meat killed on purpose for you.”

As the country of sublime religion – Buddhist is flourished, saving life is happening everywhere. Yaks are saved in the north, and goats and fishes were saved in the south.

The benefit of saving life is immeasurable. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has spoken of saving lives many times, especially in his autobiography, “Freedom in Exile”. In it he tells the story of how he would spend all monastery’s money as a young boy purchasing sheep that were about to be slaughtered for meat. At the end of the story he recounts that later in his life he saw in his meditation that this practice actually increased his life and will be a cause for him to live a long.

We are Buddhist and we need follow Buddhism. As a Buddhist follower, we have to refrain from slaughtering animals, minimize the consumption of meat, and practice saving lives. Likewise, as we are conscious about environment, we should also think over slaughtering of yaks which is becoming rampant in the northern part of the country.     

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