“Buddhist Scriptures” translated by Penguin Classics
Anyone who knows me know that I’m not a particularly religious person. Though I was raised as a Buddhist, I’ve never really considered myself one. (It’s just so much cooler to call yourself an atheist.)
I recently picked up a Penguin Classics translation of Buddhist Scriptures from Strand for $4 bucks—75% off the cover price!—and I can’t be more thrilled about it.
A bunch of passages really made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, it’s either just the animal person in me or my inner Buddhist breaking out—maybe a combo of both. At the risk of sounding like a hippie, I think it’s pretty cool knowing that us vegans are carrying on enlightened thoughts shared by great minds that passed our realm hundreds of years ago.
from The Dedication of Merit—8th century
Let the animals be free from the fear of being devoured…
Let the bodhisattvas’ wishes for the well-being of the world become reality. May everything that these protectors intend be realized for all sentient beings…
Let all the sufferings of the world come to an end in me…
from Against Animal Sacrifice—Dated Between Year 964 to 1032
What need to destroy so many lives in quest of rich and exotic flavors? People gorge themselves from cup and tray to the music of reed pipe and song, as butchered animals scream on the chopping block. Alas! Could anyone with a human heart be so insensitive as this? That the whole world engages in this without realizing its error, surely this is [an] example of something so painful that one weeps endlessly with grief?
When you know that the creatures on your tray come, struggling and squealing, from the chopping block, then you are making their extreme anguish your greatest delight. You would never be able to get them down, even if you tried to eat them. Is it not the height of insensitivity?
It is not appropriate to take life in order to make one’s living. In the quest for food and clothing, some people may take up hunting, others fishing, others the slaughtering of oxen, sheep, pigs, dogs in order to make food and clothing, all with the thought of obtaining a regular livelihood. And yet, I find that persons who do not engage in such professions still have clothing and still have food to eat. By no means are they fated to die of exposure or starvation. To make one’s living by taking life is something that in principle is condemned by the gods…There is no more certain means than this when it comes to planting the seeds for rebirth in the hells and evil retribution in lives to come. How could you face such pain and not seek a different livelihood?
I tell you people that, if you have no other means to make a living, it is far better to beg for your meals. To live by killing is no match for bearing your hunger and dying of starvation. How could you not restrain yourself?
I pray that all will refrain from taking life, and that household after household will observe vegetarian fasts. The buddhas will be filled with joy, and the myriad gods and spirits will extend their protection to you. Armed conflict will for ever cease; punishments may never need be applied; the hells will be emptied; and people will for ever depart from the causes that produce the ocean of miseries.