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Thứ Tư, tháng 10 04, 2006

No. 1163(Upekha dịch)
3 October, 2006
Some Nepali Hindus and Buddhists say ‘No’ to sacrificing two million animals
by Prakash Dubey

The large scale slaughter takes place in just three days during celebrations in honour of the goddess Durga. Buddhists instead urge the faithful “to butcher their sins,” not innocent animals, and express appreciation for Christians who have abandoned cruel sacrifices.
Lumbini (AsiaNews) – A reform-minded group of Hindus and Buddhists has called on the Nepali government and their respective religious leaders to ban the annual animal sacrifice in honour of the goddess Durga, which can entail the butchering of up to two million animals in three days.

Dasai celebrations to honour the goddess, one of the most loved divinities in the Hindu pantheon, takes place every year for ten days. In the last three days, about two million animals—chickens, pigeons, geese and even buffaloes—are sacrificed. Both Hindus and followers of Tantric Buddhism practice this age-old ritual.

Until last April’s popular revolts against King Gyanendra, which turned the hitherto ‘Hindu’ kingdom into a secular state, the ritual was untouchable. Now the presence of a democratic government has encouraged many reform-oriented Hindu and even Buddhist groups to call for a ban on the ritual, which they see as “diabolic”.

Jaya Prakash Agarwal, head of Nepal Anubrata Samiti (an organisation dedicated to Hindus’ spiritual reawakening) told AsiaNews that “the blood bath at the expense of innocent animals is a sacrilege. We have been working for quite some time among the people even though few have actually listened to us. But we are optimistic; sooner or later this practice will be banned.”

“We have been able to strip the king of the prerogatives that made him a despot. I don’t see why we cannot succeed in ending this ritual,” Agarwal said. However, “I am concerned that although Nepal now defines itself as a secular state, the government is still allocating money for the slaughter of innocent animals. This year it has set aside US$ 250,000 in Kathmandu alone to buy animals to sacrifice in more than 700 temples. It is a stigma on Hinduism that we have people who do not mind taking lives just for fun”.

“Some Nepalese Buddhist practice this sacrifice,” added Bhante Satyabrata, a Buddhist monk from Lumbini (Buddha’s birthplace). “This is horrible. Lord Buddha would never have allowed such a monstrous act.”

In a bitter tone, the monk added that instead of butchering animals “we should [. . .] butcher our avarice, jealousy, hatred and enmity, [. . .] emulate Christians whose religion, primordially originated in Jewish culture with its tradition of animal sacrifice, never sacrificed animals to please their God.”

“Christians,” he said, “believe that Jesus was the last lamb to be sacrificed and His blood is enough to cleanse all the sins of mankind. But ironically, we, the followers and progenies of Lord Buddha in Nepal, indulge in such an obnoxious act of animal sacrifice”.

Ruben Gurung, an Evangelical Christian from the Good Hope Church, said that “it was a good sign that some Hindu and Buddhist reformers were coming forward to call for a ban on the cult of animal sacrifice”.

“I have nothing against their religious ritual. But I don't approve it because it is the major cause of poverty in rural Nepal,” the Evangelical Christian said. “Poor Nepalese families sell off their valuables to perform such rituals. They dare not shun them because [. . .] they fear some disaster would fall upon them if they don't perform the sacrifice ritual.”