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January 18, 2018, 06:48:45 PM

Author Topic: Must a good practitioner of Theravada Buddhism be a vegetarian?  (Read 2370 times)


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"...Ananda, I permit the bhiksus (monks) to eat only the five kinds of pure flesh" - Mahaparinibbana Sutta

"...Jivaka, I say that on three instances meat should not be partaken, when (1) seen, (2) heard, or when (3) there is suspicion. I say, that on these three instances meat should not be partaken. I say, that meat could be partaken on three instances, when not seen, not heard, and not when there is suspicion about it." - Majjhima Nikaya 55: Jivaka Sutta

Must Buddhists be vegetarian?

This is a constant debate among the Buddhists schools. In fact, many modern Buddhists do not know the reason or rational behind this 'rule'. The Theravada eat meat, the Vajrayana eat meat, the Mahayana in China are vegetarian but the Mahayana in Korea and Japan eat meat. So, what did the Buddha say?

Devadatta, one of the Buddha's disciples, suggested that the Buddha make vegetarianism compulsory, but the Buddha rejected the idea. Why? Because the Buddha understood that not all landscape can support the growth of vegetables to support the population. When living in places such as mountains and deserts, one has no choice but to eat meat due to the scarcity of vegetables.

According to the Pali Tipitaka, the Buddha did not put a ban on the eating of meat. The Buddha and his Sangha ate meat when they went on alms. A monk is allowed to accept "what has been put in his alms bowl".

According to the Jivaka Sutta, monks are allowed to eat meat with the following exceptions :

In three cases meat may not be eaten by a monk if he has :
(1) seen
(2) heard
(3) suspected that the meat has been especially acquired for him by killing an animal (i.e. the animal has been killed specifically for the monk).

This rule is called the Rule of Tikotiparisuddha (Pure in Three Ways).

However, the meat of the following ten beings is forbidden to be eaten by the monks : human, elephant, horse, dog, snake, lion, tiger, leopard, bear, and hyena.
(Vinaya, Mahavagga, Book 4)

« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 12:39:00 AM by Jayden »


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