Be kind to animals to mark Vesak Day. Remember what the Buddha teaches 卫塞节的标誌是爱护动物。紧记佛陀的教诲。

The Straits Times Forum Online 26 Apr 05

Be kind to animals to mark Vesak Day. Remember what the Buddha teaches

During Vesak Day, Buddhists celebrate the birth of a religion that teaches compassion and wisdom.

Releasing or liberating animals has become a traditional practice in Vesak celebration.

However, the unskillful release of animals has resulted in more suffering to the released animals as well as to other animals in the environment as a result of ecological incompatibility.

Some 2,600 years ago when the Buddha was traveling through the region of Kosala in India, he came across a group of people known as the Kalamas, to whom he gave a sermon that was recorded as the Kalama Sutra.

This was what he taught: ‘Rely not on the teacher/person, but on the teaching. Rely not on the words of the teaching, but on the spirit of the words. Rely not on theory, but on experience.

‘Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumoured by many.

‘Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.’

Within our communities, we can ‘liberate’ animals by being kind to stray cats and dogs, by teaching our children to be kind to them, by speaking out against abuse, by advocating the humane method of animal population control with sterilisation instead of culling, by adopting rescued pets in shelters instead of buying them from pet shops and by supporting animal welfare organisations.

We can also ‘liberate’ animals from our dining tables by becoming vegetarians or eating less meat.

卫塞节,佛教徒庆祝教导慈悲和智慧的宗教的诞生。

放生已经是传统实践行善,庆祝卫塞节的活动之一。

不过,不适当的放生,会令它们承受更大的痛苦,也使它们无法在新的生态环境与其他动物和谐并存。

2600年前,当佛陀游化至印度各地区,他所宏扬的义理已经纪录成经典。

他教导:信任不是在老师或人类而是教育;不是文字的教导而是它的精神;不是理论而是经验。
不要听信他人所说,不要相信世世代代流传的传统,也不要相信不实的谣言。

不要完全相信宗教经典的记载,也不要完全相信有威信的导师或长者的言论。不过经过仔细的观察及分析后,整理出有益於大众的思想而加以宏扬。

在我们的社会,我们必须护生及善待野生的猫和狗,教导孩子们爱护它们。大胆的指责虐待者,提倡以人性的方式为它们节育取代捕杀,购买宠物不如从庇护所领养,和支持动物福利团体。

我们同时可以成为素食者或少吃肉来保护动物。

Dr Tan Chek Wee

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