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this topic came up in another thread and i wanted to talk about it, mostly because i have an opposing idea of what the buddhist take on eating meat is. i did a google search to find some of the sites i had read before that deal with buddhists and meat-eating, and i thought i'd link some of them up here for other's information. i was wrong when i said that it was okay for a buddhist to order meat at a restaurant, but it is not wrong for a buddhist (even a monk) to eat a meal that contains meat, as long as the animal was not specifically killed for him.

from http://www.diamondway-buddhism.org/faq/faq-03.htm

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What the Buddha said about eating meat is very interesting. He said to eat what you can afford, without making a problem of it, but not to allow animals to be killed directly for your sake. From the Buddhist point of view, the main reason for the killing is the bad karmic connection between the animal and the butcher. This karma would have ripened sooner or later even if you weren't there and didn't eat the steaks resulting from this bad encounter. The karma rotates between the butcher and the calf: the butcher in one life, the calf in the next. The point is that you shouldn't involve yourself with this.

What you can do is to say a mantra such as »OM MANI PEME HUNG« and blow on the meat. If it's more than seven weaks (sic) old (eg. in cold-storage), then there's no longer any connection between the mind and the body of the animal. Within seven weeks after the animal's death, however, its consciousness may still be present and sense that you are saying Mantras and have friendly feelings for it. This can be very helpful for the animal's rebirth.
from: http://www.acay.com.au/~silkroad/bud...ism_frames.htm

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The Buddhist philosophy is a teaching where minimal harm is made on the environment and compassion for all life is significant. Buddha was not strictly a vegetarian, and was, overall, a pragmatic man.

He would accept, and would allow his monks to accept any food, with or without meat, which was offered as long as it had not been specifically prepared for them. Any meal which the monks prepared, or which was made for them, had to be vegetarian. That is, no animal was to be killed specifically for them.

The last meal of the Buddha, which is said to have hastened his death, was a meal of tainted pork, so he certainly ate meals with meat.
from: http://online.sfsu.edu/%7Erone/Buddh...ist%20Diet.htm

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For instance, in the early Indian Vinaya (Monastic Code), since the monks were homeless wanderers, it was common practice to beg for food (this tradition is still practiced similarly in Theravada (or Hinayana) countries in SouthEast Asia). The monks "were expected to eat everything that was put in their begging bowl without discrimination, including meat or rotten food". (4) The Vinaya was so strict that monks had to watch out for any tiny organisms in their drinks or where they walked. Since the monks' food was obtained by begging, they were to have no knowledge of the food's source beforehand. If they received meat, "the monk had to be convinced that the meat was not specifically prepared for him. The criteria were that the monk had not seen, not heard, or did not have a suspicion that the meat had been prepared specifically for the monks." (4)

It was the monk's conscious effort to obtain vegetarian food that 'counted'.
from: http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma3/vegi.html

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Are all Buddhists vegetarians?

No. The First Precept admonishes us to refrain from killing, but meat eating is not regarded as an instance of killing, and it is not forbidden in the scriptures. (We are speaking here mainly of the Pali scriptures. Some of the Mahayana scriptures, notably the Lankavatara Sutra, take a strong position in favor of vegetarianism. Also see Note below)

As recorded in the Pali scriptures, the Buddha did not prohibit consumption of meat, even by monks. In fact, he explicitly rejected a suggestion from Devadatta to do so. In modern Theravada societies, a bhikkhu who adheres to vegetarianism to impress others with his superior spirituality may be committing an infringement of the monastic rules.

On the other hand, the Buddha categorically prohibited consumption of the flesh of any animal that was "seen, heard or suspected" to have been killed specifically for the benefit of monks (Jivaka Sutta, Majjhima Nikaya 55). This rule technically applies only to monastics, but it can be used as a reasonable guide by devout lay people.
there is plenty more where all that came from, but it gets kind of redundant, so i'll stop now.
i just found it interesting.
 

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Yeah it's pretty complex. One of the interesting things about Buddhism is the distinction between monastics and householders. The basic idea seems to be that although the monastic life is ideal, most people are not ready to make that kind of a commitment as a lifestyle choice. (Although temporary vows of renunciation are sometimes encouraged.)
 

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Now days monks tend to be vegetarian, as do many buddhists. Those who are not tend to follow the buddhist belief of everything is good in moderation.
 

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What luck, I just finished writing an exam which had a big section on Buddhism!

Kirk's right about what he said with the householder/monastic thing but it also depends on the individual and which type of Buddhism they ascribe to.

In Theravada Buddhism (the oldest kind) veg*nism is encouraged because they adhere most literally to the teachings of the first Buddha. There he said that the carnal desires should be repressed because grasping after them reinforces ties to samsara (the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, which is what Buddhists are trying to escape). Sex in all forms was discouraged and food should be regarded as medicine rather than something to be enjoyed. Meat is a luxury.. and way back then if you were gonna have a steak you usually had to kill the cow yourself or have somebody do it for you. Mahayana Buddhism has mainly the same views on this particular subject, though it differs in other ways.

Then there's Vajrayana Buddhism (or Tantric Buddhism), and that's where the meat thing gets really sketchy. Rather than repressing your desires, you use them to realize the emptiness inherent in them. So if you desire meat, you generally eat meat and then meditate on how empty your desire for it was. Unless it violates that do not harm thing, so I guess if you didn't kill the animal yourself, it'd be ok.

So I'm not really sure. It depends on you, I think. I doubt Buddhism would cause all that many people to become veg*n, because if you really don't want to be, there are ways around the karma.
 

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This is consistent with Buddha's teaching of the Middle Path. While seeking the Middle Path, he studied under the tutelage of two Jain monks also known as Nigganthas in ancient times. He found the Jain ahimsa (non-violence) practices too extreme and decided on a Middle Path between extreme non-violence and extreme indulgence.

Therefore, meat-eating is not really forbidden by Buddhism as long as it is done in moderation and the eater is not directly responsible for producing the animal flesh (i.e. someone else butchered the animal). Basically, Buddhism has a lot of "indirectness" exceptions.

There are no such exceptions in Jainism. Non-violence (ahimsa) is practiced to the extreme as much as possible and I believe that all Jain monks are fruitarians in their diet. Since non-violence in all aspects (mental, physical, and verbal) is the basis of the religion, all laypeople are encouraged to be as non-violent as possible including becoming vegans, avoiding excess wealth, being environmental-conscious, speaking only truth, doing all actions in moderation, etc. You should check out the minor vows (vrats) that all Jain laypeople are encouraged to take. Pretty interesting stuff.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Kreeli in another thread:

the stuff i've read says that buddhists, even monks, are free of the bad karma associated with killing other living beings as long as they had nothing to do with it's death or preparation. so, if a buddhist monk ordered a meal that he expected to be free of animal products and it arrived with meat or fish in it, he could probably still consume it without worrying about bad karma, because it was his pursuit of a vegetarian meal that "counted".
Interesting but flawed logic. Even if the monk ordered a veg meal and got a non-veg meal, the monk has contributed to the violence associated with the non-veg food and he would still get bad karma. Even if the monk received a veg meal, he has still contributed to the violence because he has begged alms at a place known for serving non-veg food. If the monk was really committed to non-violence, he should have sought alms at places where he was guaranteed to receive only pure veg food.

For your information, Jain monks only obtain alms from strict Jain households and Jain householders are explicitly prohibited (at the risk of accummulating enormous quantities of bad karma) from committing any type of violence when serving the alms to the monks (mixing veg with non-veg, serving non-veg only, serving veg using non-veg utensils, etc.). It is, in fact, one of the minor vows (vrats) that a Jain householder is obliged to take.

The monks are forbidden to prepare food (and indeed cannot even ignite the fire to cook it), and therfore ascetics must go on daily (or more) rounds to seek nourishment from the Jain households. The food can only be in the form of fresh fruits, nuts, and grains and and the food must be prepared under conditions of scrupulous cleanliness. Many monks simply mix all of their food with boiled water into a uniform gruel and gulp it down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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Originally posted by Rushabh

Interesting but flawed logic. Even if the monk ordered a veg meal and got a non-veg meal, the monk has contributed to the violence associated with the non-veg food and he would still get bad karma. Even if the monk received a veg meal, he has still contributed to the violence because he has begged alms at a place known for serving non-veg food. If the monk was really committed to non-violence, he should have sought alms at places where he was guaranteed to receive only pure veg food.
yes, i do actually agree with this. i was only speculating (as a non-expert) based on the reading i've done...i actually have no idea what would happen in that exact situation. i made that statement based on these ideas (which i posted earlier in this thread):

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If they received meat, "the monk had to be convinced that the meat was not specifically prepared for him. The criteria were that the monk had not seen, not heard, or did not have a suspicion that the meat had been prepared specifically for the monks." (4)

It was the monk's conscious effort to obtain vegetarian food that 'counted'.
and

Quote:
As recorded in the Pali scriptures, the Buddha did not prohibit consumption of meat, even by monks. In fact, he explicitly rejected a suggestion from Devadatta to do so. In modern Theravada societies, a bhikkhu who adheres to vegetarianism to impress others with his superior spirituality may be committing an infringement of the monastic rules.
(emphasis mine)

again, i'm no expert, and i personally would think it strange to see a buddhist monk eating a plate of meat in a restaurant.

i've always been interested in jainism, and i thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.
 
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