An example of killing animals

Update: 01/10/2021

An example of killing animals


“Story about food offerings for the dead (Matakabhatta’s Previous life)”, Discipline section, the fourth Khuddaka nikaya is about:

“One day, disciples come to ask Buddha:

-        Dear Buddha, we saw many people killed living beings to offer the dead, do they feel happy or benefit something?

Buddha replied:

-        Offering food for the dead like that benefits nothing, as killing animals cannot benefit themselves.

Then, Buddha told a story in the past:

There was a Brahmin who was going to kill a goat to offer food for the dead. Before killing, he had asked his disciples to take the goat bathing by the river, eating and wearing flower chain for it. The disciples followed the master’s instruction. But when they just wore the flower chain for the goat, it laughed very loud, and then it cried very loud, too.

They surprisingly asked:

“Why are you laughing and then crying?”

The goat replied:

“I will answer this question in front of your master.”

They took the goat back and told the story to the Brahmin, then he asked the goat:

“Why did you laugh?”

The goat replied:

“In the previous life, I was a Brahmin and knew Veda sutra like you. For killing a goat, I become a goat as a result, and being killed for 499 times already. This is the 500th time and the last time. Today I can deliver from this suffering. I am so happy about that. That is the reason.

The Brahmin continued to ask:

“So why did you cry?”

The goat replied:

“I just kill only a goat for offering and then being killed for 500 times as a result. When killing me, you would have the same result like me. I cry for you, Brahmin.”

Hearing from that, that Brahmin was so scared that hair stands on end. He said:

“Now I let you free, I don’t kill you anymore”.

“Thank you, but I will be killed anytime whether you kill me or not”.

Brahmin said:

“It’s ok, I will protect you.”

“Dear Brahmin, my bad effect is bigger than your protection”.

Then, Brahmins and other disciples would protect the goat in order that nobody could kill it. Being set free, the goat ate the grass behind a rock. Suddenly, there was a lightning striking at the rock, a piece of rock was broken and cut at the neck of the goat, it died right after that. So many people came to see the frightening truth. After, they would never kill any animals for offering.

Following causal principle, if we plant the seeds of cucumber, it will become a cucumber plant, not a tomato plant. We could see the result the same as the cause we made. Like the story of the goat, a Brahmin killed a goat and then he had to become a goat for 500 times and being killed. But sometimes the result was not the same as the cause we made. The causal principle is fair, if you do it, you will take the result. For example, if you borrow a motorbike but you lost it, you would return a motorbike or the money costs the same value of it. Thus, cause and effect may not be the same, but the value should be the same.


The Sen. Ven. Thich Chan Tinh 

Translated into English by Nguyen Hoang Thoai

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