By D P Atukorale
Living beings (animals, including men) can be classified into the categories according to what they eat for survival:
1) Most carnivores eat meat or flesh
2) Most herbivores eat only herbs or vegetables
3) Omnivores eat both flesh and herbs.
Uncivilised people in ancient times were mostly omnivores. Some in fact practiced cannibalism. On becoming civilised, they gave up eating flesh of others and learnt to live on herbs. The evolution of modern religions gave an impetus towards this end. Ancient religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism gave pride of place to a way of life sans evil deeds. However ,Buddhism became the most compassionate religion of all. In the case of other monotheistic religions or revealed religions which attribute the creation of everything to Jehovah/ Lord God/ Allah, their followers were given herbs for meat (food) at the beginning.
If Jews, Christians and Muslims truly believe in their Holy Scriptures (Torah/ Gospel/ Al Quran) and understand them, they must invariably be pure vegetarians, but not Buddhists who may partake in (a) flesh of animals that meet with natural death (b) remnants of carcasses of animals left behind by carnivores who kill the animals or (c) flesh of animals killed not for the purpose of obtaining flesh for sale or consumption.
Buddhists who observe the first precept that “they will abstain from killing” do not endorse wilful killing of any beings in any manner under any circumstances.
The original food (a vegetarian diet) for sustenance given to the adherents of the above three categories of monotheistic religions is described in unwavering terms in the Holy Bible, Chapter “Genesis” vide Genesis, 1:30: “To every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creeps upon the earth wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat” (food).
“Thou shall not kill” akin to “I will abstain from killing” in Buddhism is one of the Ten commandments (Holy Bible/ Guidance of Mercy (Al Quran) that was inscribed in Jehovah/Lord God/ Allah’s own handwriting in the stone tables/tablets, to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Men in their ignorance had sacrificed animals to unseen imaginary Jehovah/ Lord God/ Allah in the past, but did not partake of the sacrificed meat as food until Noah, after the great Biblical deluge, ate the meat of the sacrificed animals containing blood without the prior permission of Jehovah/ Lord God/ Allah as everything on earth was destroyed by floods that prevailed over 200 days. This incident compelled Jehovah/ Lord God/ Allah to make flesh of animals devoid of blood lawful for man to eat. The problem is that it is impossible to obtain flesh devoid of blood even by draining the blood completely.
Scientifically it is impossible for any person to get meat (flesh) without blood as, even after cutting the neck vessels (carotid arteries and jugular veins) all the blood of the animal (eg. cow) cannot be drained away by present day methods of slaughtering, as far as I am aware.
In the old days many uneducated people believed that when an animal got an infection, all the organisms (bacteria, etc) were found only in the blood and this maybe the reason to drain some of the blood of an animal. When animals and man develop an infection due to certain organisms such as bacteria, veterinary surgeons and doctors know that the bacteria is present in almost all the organs and blood of animals and men.
Meat Prohibited To Jews
For Jews, blood, carcasses of animals that die of natural causes and flesh of unclean animals are prohibited. For Muslims, the following four things are prohibited according to Al Quran (a) blood (b) carcasses of animals (c) swine flesh (D) flesh of animals not sacrificed to Allah. So for Muslims swine is the only animals that fall into the category of unclean animals. As far as I am aware the flesh of dogs, cats, crocodiles or even elephants can be consumed by Muslims as only pork has been prohibited.
According to Buddhism (a) alms containing flesh of animal carcasses that die through accidents, goring and other natural causes where there was no intention of killing the animals for consumption of their flesh, (b) carcasses discarded by hunters after obtaining their skin, horns or tusks where the killing was carried out with the intention of supplying flesh to satisfy hunger, (c) eaten and leftovers of the carcasses of animals killed by carnivorous beasts like lions, tigers, leopards, whose motive is only to satisfy their hunger, are suitable to be partaken by individuals (except for Muslims, Jews and Christians who are prohibited even to eat carcasses). The above three items (a), (b) and (c) are suitable (i) to offer as alms to the Enlightened Buddha and other enlightened monks (arahants) who have already eradicated the craving not to be born again, (ii) for laymen to consume as it will not tarnish the first precept they have undertaken to observe as a life long pledge.
Buddha had admonished his followers not to deal in five trades (buying and selling) as it would encourage killing (destruction of life), harming or causing death to animals and mankind. They are as follows.
a) Sale or buying of animals for slaughter (killing)
b) Sale or buying of flesh of animals killed
c) Sale or buying of arms and ammunition that will be used for killing
d) Sale or buying of poisonous, harmful drugs (such as insecticides used for killing)
e) Sale or buying of intoxicants (alcohol, heroine, hashish, opium)
f) Is the selling of flesh by Muslims allowed according to Al Quran?