Birthday celebrations are usually joyous occasions. Party hats, balloons (disposed of in an environmentally correct way), sweets, and presents. When it’s the celebration of the birth anniversary of Buddha, one would hope for all and more but instead some factions in Nepal decided to slaughter over 700 animals to mark the occasion. The irony does not go unnoticed: celebrating the birth anniversary of a man of peace, one whose basic precept is that of doing no harm, by killing living, breathing, sentient beings.
Animal sacrifice has been a part of some culture for centuries, from the Greeks and Romans to the Aztecs and Hindus. Examples of ritual animal sacrifice appear in the Bible, Koran, Torah, and other sacred books. Even today, the Spanish bullfight can be seen as a ritual animal sacrifice. And, in the Jewish and Islamic religions, ritual animal slaughter is required to ensure the meat has been properly handled.
But to celebrate the birth anniversary of an icon of everything anathema to violence and death is to make a mockery of that icon’s beliefs. When you think about, shouldn’t every celebration of life spare life, not destroy it? Every time we celebrate an event, whether a birthday, religious or secular holiday, or just the joy of the day, we should also celebrate the lives of the other sentient beings who share planet Earth with us. To destroy life in the name of peace…when you think about…makes no sense.