Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sacrifice: Goat that Laughed and Wept (sutra)

Ken and Visakha Kawasaki (retell the Jataka Tales of the Buddha, Part I, Matakabhatta (Jatatka 18) edited by Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly
Oh, God of the universe who created everything, do you want to me to kill this one?
People really kill animals for their religion and to devour. (Yum!) God demands a sacrifice.
The Goat That Laughed and Wept
God told me to the Bible.
One day, while the Buddha was staying in Jetavana, some monastics asked him if there was any benefit to sacrificing goats, sheep, and other animals as offerings for departed relatives.
"No, monastics," replied the Buddha. "No good ever comes from taking life, not even when it is for the purpose of providing a Feast for the Dead [Japanese Obon]." Then he told this story of the past.
Jews slaughter animals for Passover (DS)
[In a past life...] Long, long ago, when Brahmadatta [like Kalinga] was reigning in Baranasi [aka Kasi], a Brahmin decided to offer a Feast for the Dead and bought a goat to sacrifice. "My boys," he said to his students, "take this goat down to the river, bathe it, brush it, hang a garland around its neck, give it some grain to eat, and bring it back."
Teaching Muslim kids to kill goats (SS)
"Yes, sir," they replied and led the goat to the river.
While they were grooming it, the goat started to laugh with a sound like a pot smashing. Then, just as strangely, it started to weep loudly.
The young students were amazed at this behavior. "Why did you suddenly laugh," they asked the goat, "and why do you now cry so loudly?"

Christians/Jews worship Satan?
"Repeat your question when we get back to your teacher," the goat answered.

The students hurriedly took the goat back to their master and told him what had happened at the river. Hearing the story, the master himself asked the goat why it had laughed and why it had wept.

"In times past, Brahmin," the goat began, "I was a Brahmin who taught the Vedas like you. I, too, sacrificed a goat as an offering for a Feast for the Dead. Because of killing that single goat, I have had my head cut off 499 times. I laughed aloud when I realized that this is my last birth as an animal to be sacrificed. Today I will be freed from my misery.

The mass slaughter of the animals for the Gadhimai festival (AFP/The Telegraph)
I like being vegan and nice to animals.
"On the other hand, I cried when I realized that, because of killing me, you also may be doomed to lose your head 500 times. It was out of pity for you that I cried."

"Well, goat," said the Brahmin, "in that case, I am going to spare you. I am NOT going to kill you."
Some Gods: death for a death and more death!
"Brahmin!" exclaimed the goat. "Whether or not you kill me, I cannot escape death today."
"Don't worry," the Brahmin assured the goat. "I will guard you."
"You don't understand," the goat told him. "Your protection is weak. The force of my misdeed is very strong [karma of killing]."
The Brahmin untied the goat and said to his students, "Don't allow anyone to harm this goat." They obediently followed the animal to protect it.
Karma ripens, brings forth results (kalibhakti)
After the goat was freed, it began to graze. It stretched out its neck to reach the leaves on a bush growing near the top of a large rock. At that very instant a lightning bolt hit the rock, breaking off a sharp piece of stone which flew through the air and neatly cut off the goat's head.

A crowd of people gathered around the dead goat and began to talk excitedly about the amazing accident.
  • NOTE: A synonym for "many" is 500. This is the way it is literally translated but should not be misunderstood as meaning exactly 500. Therefore, 499 means "one less than the number to complete 'many.' This is very common. What for simplicity's sake is done as a shorthand should not be mistaken as literal.
Tree deva (Evelyn De Morgan)
A tree deva (devas are "shining ones," light beings, ranging from the highest gods to simple tree spirits) had observed everything from the goat's purchase to its dramatic death, and drawing a lesson from the incident, admonished the crowd:

"If people only knew that the result would be rebirth into sorrow, they would cease from taking life. A horrible doom awaits one who slays." With this explanation of the law (tendency) of karma the deva instilled in his listeners the fear of the downfall.

The people were so frightened that they completely gave up the practice of animal sacrifices. The deva further instructed the people in the precepts and urged them to do good.
Eventually, that deva passed away to fare according to its deserts. For several generations after that, people remained faithful to the precepts and spent their lives in charity and meritorious works, so that many were reborn in the heavens.

The Buddha ended his lesson and identified the rebirth by saying, "In those days I (the Bodhisatta) was that deva."
What about the Bible?
Q: Hey, but doesn't the Bible say "an eye for an eye"? A: Actually it says no more than an eye for an eye, a lesson in moderation from people going Old Testament/Medieval on each other's asses.

Anyway, if you really think you should do what the Bible says, then do it: There are about 800 commandments/rules to live by in the Old Testament, and you will be stoned or killed and then punished by God after you're dead for breaking any of them. They are not "suggestions"; they're orders. Do as you're told!

So go be an unreformed Christian or Jew or Muslim and kill away, in the name of God. Or start thinking a little. There are plenty of good Christians, Jews, and Muslim who don't kill.

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