Once while Buddha was staying at Savathi, there came to him a number of Brahmins of great wealth and old age. After courteous salutation, they took their seats saying “If you answer our questions, we will accept that you are enlightened Buddha.” Their first question was “when man evolved on this earth did he have diseases?” Buddha answered “man evolved with three diseases: death due to old age; death due to not eating food; and, death due to not drinking water.” The Brahmins then asked “How did the other diseases originate?” The Buddha answered, “On the first day man ate beef 98 new diseases plagued to kill man.” Buddha explained that cows like parents, brothers, and kin were man’s best friends. The source of healthful things, of food well-being goodliness, and strength, they never slaughtered cows and were grateful for this.
Brahmin’s largesse fired their passion to get more. Their craving grew and grew. Once more they sought King Okkaka with these newly framed verses. “As earth, water, gold, silver so are cows a primal requisite of man. Great store, great wealth is thine. Make sacrifice!” There onwards the king, that douglity charioteer, won o’er by Brahmins, doomed cows for sacrifice by hundred thousand to the knife. He bade that the cows that do not hurt with horn or hoof, yes, gentle lamb, like cows that fill the pail, be taken by the horn and slain. ‘Tis unrighteous! Tis unrighteous!” arose the united wail of Brahmas, Indra, Titans, Ogres, and all Gods as cows were butchered for the sacrifice. Diseases, which of yore were only three – desires, hunger and senility – with cattle killing rose to ninety eight. “This outrage began of old. Harmless cows are slain by guilty sacrificers’ hands.
Here upon, those Brahmins of great wealth said to the Lord – Wonderful, Gautama quite wonderful! Just as a man might set upright what had been cast down or reveal what had been hidden away or tell a man who had gone astray which was his way of bring lamp into the dark so that those with eyes to see might see the things about them, even so Gautama has in many ways made his Doctrine clear. We come to the reverend Gautama as our refuge, and to his Doctrine and to his Community. We ask him to accept us as followers who have found an abiding refuge from this day forth while life lasts.”
Copied from – SUTTA – NIPATA
Translated by Lord Chalmers in 1932