Buddha went from village to village propagating Dharma. In one village, people were going to perform a Yagna, in which they were going to sacrifice an animal. Buddha stopped it by saying: “This should not be done! God is in all creatures. God is in every living being. The individual (Jeeva) is God and God is Jeeva. Therefore, it won’t be proper for you to sacrifice this animal.”
The chief priest of the Yagna turned to Buddha: “I’m giving this animal liberation by sacrificing it!”
When Buddha heard this, he jokingly said: “You are giving liberation to an animal which does not ask for it. Why shouldn’t liberation be given to a man who desires it? Which Shastra, Upanishad or Veda taught this? There is no truth in it. If one living creature is killed, will it get liberation? No, it won’t, it certainly won’t! this is untrue.
I will give you an example: This animal does not want liberation, but your mother wants and your wife and your son want too. Why, then, should you not offer them as sacrifice and give them liberation? Therefore, if there is liberation in such an act, why shouldn’t you start with your own people? You are giving liberation to these animals who do not desire it, but why shouldn’t you give this liberation to man who desires it? Why? Because liberation will not be gained by sacrifice. On the other hand it is a big sin.
Buddha stopped the Yagna by saying “Don’t do harm. The love that is in man is also in animals. Therefore, share equally with birds and beasts, and share this love with every single living creature. Share this love with every single human being. This is true liberation.”