This is Tikiiri, a 70 year old ailing female. She is one of the 60 elephants who must work in the service of the Perahera Festival in Sri Lanka this year. Tikiri joins in the parade early every evening until late at night every night for ten consecutive nights, amidst the noise, the fireworks, and smoke. She walks many kilometers every night so that people will feel blessed during the ceremony. No one sees her bony body or her weakened condition, because of her costume. No one sees the tears in her eyes, injured by the bright lights that decorate her mask, no one sees her difficulty to step as her legs are short shackled while she walks.
For a ceremony, all have the right to belief as long as that belief does not disturb or harm another. How can we call this a blessing, or something holy, if we make other lives to suffer?
It was World Elephant Day a few days ago. We cannot bring a peaceful world to the elephant if we still think that this image is acceptable.
To love, to do no harm, to follow a path of kindness and compassion, this is the Way of Buddha. It is time to follow.
Photos by @lek_chailert via #SaveElephantFoundation
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