Plutarch's Animal and Vegetarian Treatises and the Concept of Maghata in Sinhalese Culture

Isha Gamlath
2015 Ploutarchos  
Plutarch's concern for animal life, in treatises devoted to the significance and preservation of animal life in the Moralia, expand upon his appreciation of simplicity in human life, specifically in the form of abstention from the unnecessary slaughter of animals and the consumption of their meat. The present paper studies a similarity between Plutarch's concern for simplicity in human life by the rejection of the slaughter of animals and indulgence in a meat diet, and its appearance in
more » ... pearance in Sinhalese literature. The Pali meaning of maghata is not to kill. Maghata, as part of a broader project for introducing Buddhism into Sinhalese culture, assumes the specific form of concern for animal life. Maghata was introduced into Sri Lanka by approximately the first century CE in the form of a ceremonial ban on the slaughter of animals and in the abstention from meat on special observance days (upavasa maghata) as well as the sympathetic treatment of animals by providing them food, drink, medicine, and security. The theme became explicit in the context of thaumaturgy. Plutarch's concern for animal life, in treatises devoted to the significance and preservation of animal life in the Moralia, expands upon his appreciation of simplicity in human life, specifically in the form of avoiding the unnecessary slaughter of animals and the consumption of their meat. The present paper studies a similarity between Plutarch's concern for simplicity in human life by the rejection of slaughter of animals and indulgence in a meat diet, and that of Sinhalese literature.
doi:10.14195/0258-655x_12_2 fatcat:rsm7bj666vgzvhz4ibk6ae7ynu