Why Are There Wars?

How can we wish for world peace
for all our lives,
while we wish to feed on victims of violence
for all our lives?


A disciple once asked the Buddha, “Why are there wars? When will there be no more wars? When will there be no more wars? When will there be world peace?” The Buddha replied, “If you want to know when there will be peace, just listen to the cries from the slaughterhouses at night. Only when there are no more cries from the slaughterhouses will there be no more wars.”…

Killing is a very thing. Whether it is a cow, sheep, chicken, duck, fish, shrimp or crab, an animal will feel indescribable terror when it knows that it is about to be killed. When the knife cuts through its body, the pain is completely  intolerable. Human beings cruelly kill animals in order to satisfy their craving for good food. Rivers of blood have been shed. Animals have consciousness like us, so they feel a sense of loathing towards their killers and want to get revenge, which they may carry out when they are reborn as human beings. Hence we can see why there is no way to stop wars from happening [unless killing is ended].

Furthermore, since  all living beings are continually reborn through the cycle of the Six Realms, those pigs, chickens, ducks or other animals could have been our parents, relatives or friends in previous lives. So do we dare to eat their flesh just to satisfy our craving? We who are learning to behave like the Buddha should have compassion. Refraining from eating meat is in accord with the Five Precepts that all Buddhists follow [though this is not stated directly]. The first of these precepts is ‘no killing’ Following this rule helps to nurture compassion and loving-kindness.

Related Article:
Does Meat-Eating Break the First Precept?

Three Ways to the Pure Land: Lectures by Dharma Master Cheng Yen
Translated by Lin Sen-shou

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