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Landmark decision by Chinese Buddhists to ban killing wildlife

December 23, 2014:

Photo: Scientific American

The China Buddhist Association has issued a declaration calling all Buddhist followers to “Protect Life with Compassion and Mercy-Release Appropriately”.

The declaration stated:

“The Buddha’s nature is in all living things. The lives of animals are just as precious as those of humans. Malicious killing will bring bad karma. Buddhism teaches that ‘all living things in the Six Realms of Samsara are my father and mother”, therefore all Buddhist followers should love and protect all lives with gratefulness and compassion -- ‘if you see people killing an animal, you should try to save the animal and shelter it from suffering’.

Therefore, Buddhism considers killing as the worst crime, no-killing is its first precept, and protecting lives with compassion is a great accomplishment…..we call upon all Buddhists around the country in their daily life to always live with compassion, to refrain from killing and to protect lives; to obey rules and laws on wildlife protection, to refrain from participating in any killing or trade of wildlife; to refuse to buy and use wildlife products such as ivory and rhino horns; to actively inform law-enforcement or conservation organizations on activities involving killing or trade of wildlife; to help save those wild animals captured illegally; to encourage those who are available to participate in animal conservation NGOs or support wildlife projects.

We also call on Buddhist temples to advertise in different forms the ban against killing, a vow to protect life, to encourage a healthy vegetarian diet and to persuade people to protect life with compassion…”

"Buddhism considers killing as the worst crime, no-killing is its first precept, and protecting lives with compassion is a great accomplishment"
“We were delighted to hear from our colleagues in the State Administration for Religious Affairs that, inspired by the Daoist stance on the illegal wildlife trade, the China Buddhist Association has now launched their own statement," said Martin Palmer, ARC's Secretary General.

"This means all three of the historic faiths of China, Daoism, Confucianism and Buddhism have officially come out against the illegal wildlife trade. We look forward to our meetings in the New Year with the Buddhists as we see how together the three faiths can have a real impact on public opinion and behaviour.

"This is potentially great news for the many species around the world which the illegal wildlife trade is pushing towards extinction."

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