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The Pali Canon is permeated with Suttas (Sutras) that espouse the virtues of not killing or causing to kill.
“Monks, one possessed of three qualities is put into Purgatory according to his actions. What three? One is himself a taker of life, encourages another to do the same and approves thereof.
Monks, one possessed of three qualities is put into heaven according to his actions. What three? He himself abstains from taking life, encourages another to so abstain, and approves of such abstention.”
Anguttara Nikaya, 3.16

“All beings tremble before danger, all fear death. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill. All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill.”
Dhammapada, 129-130

“Whereas some ascetics and Brahmins, feeding on the food of the faithful, remain addicted to the enjoyment of stored-up goods such as food, drink, clothing, carriages, beds, perfumes and meat, the ascetic Gotama refrains from such enjoyment.”
Brahmajala Sutra, Digha Nikaya

In the following verse, the Buddha describes the only thing that should be killed:

“What is the one thing, O Gotama, whose killing you approve? Having slain anger, one sleeps soundly; having slain anger, one does not sorrow; the killing of anger, with its poisoned root and honeyed tip: This is the killing the nobles ones praise, for having slain that, one does not sorrow.”
Samyutta Nikaya, chapter 2

In the following verses, we find more direct causal connections to refrain from meat eating in the Theravada Pali Canon:
". . . he abstains from killing living beings, exhorts others to abstain from killing living beings, and speaks in praise of the abstention from killing living beings." Samyutta Nikaya 55.7

"He should not kill a living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should he incite another to kill. Do not injure any being, either strong or weak, in the world.”
Dhammika Sutta, Sutta Nipata, Khuddaka Nikaya

"Monks, possessing forty qualities one is cast into purgatory . . . he takes life himself, encourages another to do so, approves of taking life, and speaks in praise of thereof . . ." Anguttara Nikaya 10. 213

Four ways one can break the precept of killing living beings:

1. One kills living beings by one's own hand

2. One asks another to do it

3. One grants permission to another to do it or allows it or approves of it

4. One speaks in praise of killing

(Note that receiving alms food according to the 3 fold rule appears to allow for meat for those who are in the monastic Orders, but not for lay people who must make a request or order at the grocer, butcher, or restaurant.)

(from Majjhima Nikaya, Anguttara Nikaya, book of tens V.305)

The above quotes show that is not just okay to not do the killing yourself, it is also unacceptable to encourage another, approve of another's killing, or speak in praise of it, such as defending the eating of meat.

In numerous places in the Pali Canon, the Buddha or one of his chief disciples reports about seeing ghostly type beings who are suffering as a “skeleton” or a “piece of flesh” or another woeful existence and being tormented by crows and other animals. The Buddha reports that these beings are suffering in these states because of a past life as a butcher of cattle or pigs or sheep (Samyutta Nikaya 19.1, Vinaya, Suttavibhanga 3.105). Although they were doing the actual killing, who would do the killing if everyone were Buddhist? Since there can be no slaughterhouses if everyone were Buddhist, at the very least, vegetarianism can be seen as an ideal to strive for.

In one (Pali Canon) discourse (Majjhima Nikaya 22, snake similie sutta), the Buddha gives 10 analogies to describe how bad attachment to sense desires can be. He compares attachment to sense desires with ten really bad things. This includes things such as a skeleton, a burning torch that is about to burn our hands, and a poisonous snake. The final analogy the Buddha makes to describe something very bad, is that of a slaughterhouse. He used the description of a slaughterhouse as one of the analogies to describe something bad (Majjhima Nikaya 22).

The first precept in both the Mahayana and the Theravada is not to kill or cause to kill any living being. The above quote from the Sutta Nipata clearly states not causing the killing of any being, nor inciting another to do so..

Responses (18)

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    Posted by Unborn108 at 12/29/11 07:56:08

    Lankavatara Sutra

    (Tripitaka No. 671)

    Translated during the Yuan,Wei Dynasty by Tripitaka master Bodhiruci from India.

    Chapter 16: Do not eat meat

    (Not eating meat is very important for Bodhisattva practice)

    At that time, Arya(sage) Mahamati(Great Wisdom) Bodhisattva-Mahasattva said to the Buddha:

    "Bhagavan(World Honored One), I see that in all worlds, the wandering in births and deaths, the enlaced animosities, and the falling into evil paths, are all caused by meat eating and cyclical killing. Those behaviors increase greed and anger, and make living beings unable to escape from suffering. That is truly very painful."

    "Bhagavan, people who eat meat are destroying the great merciful seed of their own, thus the people who practice the holy Way should not eat meat. "

    "Bhagavan, the Exterior-paths practitioners preach the incorrect theories which may fall into the mundane views, nihilism, eternalism, existentialism, or non-existence-ism, however, all of their theories forbid meat eating, they do not eat meat and do not allow others to eat meat. So would it be possible that, for the cultivators who practice Brahma-behavior(Brahma-carya) according to the pure Dharma of Tathagata(Thus Come One), there is no rule to forbid meat eating? The Tathagata, the Bhagavan equally gives his mercy and compassion to all living beings, how could he allow meat eating? Virtuous Bhagavan, please tell us the offences of meat eating, and the meritorious virtues of not eating meat. Once we have heard it, all the Bodhisattvas and I will faithfully practice it, widely preach and spread it abroad, to make all living beings of the past, the present, and the future be aware of it."

    The Buddha told Arya Mahamati Bodhisattva: "Good, good, Mahamati, you are greatly compassionate, having pity on all living beings, you asked this question. Now listen attentively and I'll tell you."

    Mahamati Bodhisattva said to the Buddha: "How virtuous, Bhagavan! Yes I'll accept the teaching."

    The Buddha told Mahamati: "Meat eating has countless offences. All Bodhisattvas should cultivate their great mercy and compassion so that they should not eat meat. Now I am telling you in brief the merits of not eating meat, and the offences of meat eating, please listen attentively."

    "Mahamati, I see that from the beginningless time, because of the habit of meat eating and the greed for flavors of meats, living beings kill and hurt each others in never ending cycles, thus they are apart from sages and suffering from births and deaths."

    "Those who renounce the flavor of meat can taste the flavors of the true Dharmas, truthfully practice the Bhumi(stage)s of Bodhisattva, and attain Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi quickly. They can then make all living beings enter the resting-place of Sravaka(voice-hearer) and pratyeka-buddha(self-enlightened one), and after that make them enter the stage of Tathagata."

    "Mahamati, these benefits are based on the merciful heart. People who eat meat are destroying the great merciful seed of their own, then how could they get these great benefits?"

    "Mahamati, I see that living beings are in the transmigration of the six paths, being together in births and deaths, they give birth to and foster each others, and cyclically become fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters of each others; They may be men or women, may be the direct line of descent, may be cousins, affinities, uncles, aunts, sons, daughters, grandsons, and other various relatives of each others; They may also be born in other paths(of animal, ghost, god, and so on.), whether virtuous or evil, they frequently become the relatives of each others. Because of these relationships, I see that all meats eaten by living beings are of their own relatives. Due to the greed for flavors of meats, the living beings circularly eat each others, then they always have the thoughts of hurting each others. Their painful karmas are always increasing, so they are wandering in cycles of births and deaths and unable to escape."

    (* The six paths: god, human, Asura, animal, hungry ghost, hell-being)

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    Posted by Unborn108 at 12/29/11 07:59:17

    After the Buddha had said that, all the Raksas who heard the Buddha's words gave up their ferocious minds and stopped meat eating from then on. They persuaded each others to arouse the merciful heart, to make protecting the lives of all living beings prior to protecting the lives of their own, to give up eating of all meat. Weeping and sobbing, they said to the Buddha:

    "Bhagavan, having heard the Buddha said that, in the six paths, all the meat we eat are of the relatives of our own, we now know that meat eating makes us the big enemies of living beings, destroys our great merciful seeds, increases evil karmas, and is the root of great suffering. Bhagavan, from now on we stop meat eating, and will never allow my relatives to eat meat. If any disciple of Tathagatas does not eat meat, we will guard and support him day and night. For anyone who eats meat, we will do great bad things to them."

    The Buddha said: "Mahamati, the Raksas are ferocious ghosts who constantly eat meat. Having heard my words, even they can arouse the merciful heart and give up meat eating, so how could my disciples who practice virtuous Dharmas be allowed to eat meat? If anyone eats meat, we should know that he is the big enemy of living beings and is destroying his holy seed."

    "Mahamati, having heard my words, if any of my disciples does not honestly consider that and still eats meat, we should know that he is of the candala(killer) 's lineage. He is not my disciple and I am not his teacher. Therefore, Mahamati, if anyone wish to be my relative, he should not eat any meat."

    "Further more, Mahamati, Bodhisattvas should discern that all meats are from the filthy bodies, which are combined by pus, blood, dirtiness, red-bindu(Bright Drop)s, white-bindus of the parents. Thus, discerning the dirtiness of meat, Bodhisattvas should not eat meat."

    "Further more, Mahamati, for anyone who eats meat, his smell frightens living beings and makes them run away. Therefore, Bodhisattvas practice according to the truth, in order to enlighten all living beings, they should not eat meat."

    "Mahamati, for example, wherever there are candala(killer)s, hunters, butchers, fishers, or birders, when the living beings see them remotely, they will think: 'We are dying. These approaching killers are very atrocious beings, they are not aware of sins or bliss. They kill living beings for their current earning. Now they come to look for us, and we have flesh on our body, so when they find us, we will surely die."

    "Mahamati, due to meat eating, one can make the living beings who see him so frightened. Mahamati, all living beings, whether they are celestial or terrestrial, when they see a meat eater, they will all be frightened and think: 'I don't know whether I am going to die now. This flagitious being does not cultivate his merciful heart, he is like a jackal and a wolf, who cruises in the world and seeks for meat. He is insatiable, like a cow eating grass, like a dung beetle pursuing dung. My body is make of flesh so I am his food, I should not encounter him'. Thinking of this, they turn aside and escape hastily, just like human being fears raksa."

    "Mahamati, a meat eater can make the living beings who see him so frightened, thus we know that meat eating makes one the big enemy of all living beings. Therefore, Bodhisattvas should cultivate mercy and compassion, in order to gather in and teach all living beings, they should not eat those living beings. Meat is not the food for sage and wise people. Meat eating is infamous and is criticized by sages. Therefore, Mahamati, in order to gather in and teach all living beings, Bodhisattvas should not eat meat."

    "Further more, Mahamati, in order to protect the faith of living beings, Bodhisattvas should not eat meat. Why? Mahamati, all living beings know that, anyone who is called 'Bodhisattva' is the inheritor of the merciful heart of Buddhas/Tathagatas. He can be the refuge of all living beings; he makes the living beings who hear his name have no fear; he makes the living beings think that he is the relative, the friend, and the good knowing advisor of them; he makes the living beings say that: 'We now have the place of refuge and peace, and have the virtuous teacher.' Mahamati, not eating meat can make living beings have such faith. Anyone who eats meat makes all living beings have no faith in him, then the living beings would say: 'There is no trusty person in the world', so they would lost their root of faith. Therefore, Mahamati, in order to protect the faith of living beings, Bodhisattvas should not eat any meat."

    "Further more, Mahamati, in order to prevent the mundane persons from slandering the Three-Treasures(tri-ratna), my disciples should not eat meat. Why? Because if someone in the earthliness finds that any of my disciples is eating meat, he would slander the Three-Treasures, saying: 'In Buddhism, would there be any true sramana(monk) or Brahmana(Indian religious practitioner) who practices Brahma-behavior? How come they abandon the sage's food and eat the flesh of living beings? They are like the raksas who fill their stomachs with meat and then sleep drowsily without moving. They rely on the richness and force of the mundane persons to find meat to eat. They frighten living beings as the Raksa-kings do.' Therefore, he would spread these words everywhere: 'Where are the true sramanas and Brahmanas who practice pure behaviors? There is no Dharma, no sramana, no vinaya(precept/discipline), and no pure practitioner at all.' If people have such immeasurable evil minds, my Dharma-Wheel would be broken and the seeds of sage would be strangled. These tragedies are all due to the offences of the meat eaters. Therefore, Mahamati, in order to prevent the villains from slandering the Three-Treasures, my disciples should not even think of meat, not to mention eating."

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    Posted by Unborn108 at 12/29/11 08:01:45

    "Further more, Mahamati, in order to turn the worlds into pure Buddha-worlds, in which all living beings can be enlightened, Bodhisattvas should not eat meat. They should discern that all meats are like the dead bodies of human being, we cannot even bear looking at or smelling them, how could we put them into our mouths? Mahamati, the burned dead bodies are stinky and feculent, the cooked meats are as stinky and feculent as the burned dead bodies, so how could we eat such things? Therefore, Mahamati, in order to turn the worlds into pure Buddha-worlds, to enlighten all living beings, Bodhisattvas should not eat meat."

    "Further more, Mahamati, in order to get out of births and deaths, Bodhisattvas should intently practice mercy and compassion. They should have few desires, be content with a little, dislike the suffering in the world, and seek for liberation urgently. They should renounce the blatancies of the world and stay in quiet places. They may stay in graveyard(sita-vana)s or monasteries(arinya), they may stay in the midst of tombs, or sit alone under trees to meditate. They should discern that there is no true happiness in the world, wives and relatives are like shackles; palaces, houses and courts are like prisons; all jewels and treasures are like masses of dung; all drinks and foods are like pus and blood; drinking and eating are like applying something on the tumours and sores, that is not for greediness, but for maintaining the life to practice the sage Way. All alcohols, meats, shallots, leeks, garlic, and scallions are feculent so that we should not eat them. Mahamati, if anyone practices in this wise, then he is a true cultivator who deserves offerings of all celestial and human beings. If one does not dislike the world and does not wish to get out of it, in the meantime he has the greed for alcohol, meat, and the five pungent plants, then he is not worthy of faiths and offerings of the world."

    (* The five pungent plants: shallot, leek, garlic, scallion and hingu)

    "Further more, Mahamati, some living beings had cultivated innumerable causes, conditions and affinities in the past, then they have a little virtuous roots now so that they are able to hear my Dharma. Having faith, they became Buddhist monks. However, some of them may had been relatives of raksas, or had been tigers, wolves, lions, cats, dogs, and so on. Although they are studying my Dharma, they may still have the residual habit of meat eating, so they may like to be close to meat eaters. They may drink alcohol and eat meat in cities, states, villages, towers or temples and think that this is happy, while people in the world find that they are like raksas contending for eating dead bodies. They don't know that they are no longer my disciples and have become the relatives of raksas. Even though they are in kasaya(monk's robe)s and had all their moustache and hair shaved, they make living beings who see them frightened like seeing raksas. Therefore Mahamati, if anyone regards me as his teacher, he should not eat any meat."

    "Further more, Mahamati, for those wizards with wrong views, if they eat meat then their conjuring will not succeed. In order to make their conjuring successful, even they do not eat meat. For my disciples, in order to seek for the supreme sacrosanct Way of Tathagatas and the supra-mundane liberation, they diligently cultivate great mercy and compassion and practice austerities. In such a way, they still fear that they cannot achieve the goal, so how could the liberation be achieved by those ignorant persons who eat meat? Therefore, Mahamati, in order to seek for the joy of supra-mundane liberation, my disciples should not eat meat."

    "Further more, Mahamati, meat eating can increase desires, meat eaters are greedy. We should discern that in the world, every being who has body and life cherishes his life and fears the pain of death. For the instinct of protecting and cherishing the life, there is no different between human and animal. They would rather live in their scabby fox bodies than give away the body to enjoy the heavenly happiness, why? because they fear the pain of death. Mahamati, observing in such a way, we know that death is a great suffering and is a fearful thing. For every living being, he himself is afraid of death, how could he eat the meat of others? Therefore, Mahamati, anyone who want to eat meat should first discern the pain of cutting his own body, and then discern the pains of all living beings, and then gives up meat eating."

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    Posted by Unborn108 at 12/29/11 08:04:31

    "Further more, Mahamati, those meat eaters are abandoned by all celestial beings, not to mention sages. Therefore, in order to see sages, Bodhisattvas should cultivate mercy and compassion and should not eat meat. Mahamati, meat eaters are suffering both when they are sleeping and when they are awake. They often see various terrible things in their dreams, which frighten them and make their hair staring. They are always in a state of discomposure. Because they are not merciful, they lack the virtuous powers. If they are alone in void places, ghosts and spirits will often disturb them, tigers, wolves and lions will also wait for the chance to eat their flesh, so their hearts are often filled with fears and unable to rest."

    "Further more, Mahamati, the greediness of those meat eater is hard to satisfy. They eat too much and are unable to digest, this aggravates burdens of their bodies and makes their mouth-smell foul. There are innumerable fierce worms living in their bodies, and there are a lot of tumours, ringworms, scabs, and other various skin diseases on their bodies. Even the mundane people would not like to smell and see them in their present lifetime, how could they acquire the healthy and clean human bodies in their next lifetime?"

    "Further more, Mahamati, I teach mundane people that they should eat pure food for purifying their lives, and should regard all meats as the meat of their own son, so how could I allow them to eat the foods that sages do not eat? Why all sages abandon meat? Because meat eating produce innumerable offences, and lose all supra-mundane merits and virtues, so how could I allow my disciples to eat meat, blood, and the feculent flavors? If anyone says that I allow meat eating, he is slandering me."

    "Mahamati, I allow my disciples to eat what sages should eat, and do not allow them to eat what sages abandon. The sages' foods can help us to produce innumerable merits and virtues, and help us to keep away from the offences. Mahamati, the foods for sages of past, present, and future are: rice, barley, wheat, bean, various vegetable oils, honey, sugarcane, sugarcane juice, and other vegetable foods. They are seasonal products, are allowed to be eaten and can be considered pure foods."

    "Mahamati, in the future, there will be some ignorant persons saying that many Buddhist precepts(vinaya) allow meat eating. They love the flavors of meats due to their past meat eating habit, they said those words simply according to their own views. But in fact Buddhas and sages have never said that meats are foods."

    "Mahamati, in the future, anyone who does not eat meat must have offered and sustained many Buddhas and have cultivated his virtuous roots, so he is able to believe the Buddhas' words, keep precepts firmly, and believe in cause and effect. He has self discipline of his body and mouth, not greedy for the various flavors in the world, and can arouse his merciful heart when he see meat eaters."

    "Mahamati, I remember that in the past, there was a king named lion-slaver. He eats many kinds of meat and loves the flavors of meat, so as to eats the flesh of human. Because he eats human flesh, his parents, brothers, wives and relatives all abandoned him, all his officials, people, states, villages then rebelled and killed him. Because meat eaters have such offences, we should not eat any meat."

    "Further more, Mahamati, in the past, the king of creation-enjoyment heaven(Nirmana-rataya) had been a pigeon. Then Sakra-Devanam-Indra, who is the lord of Trayastrimsha heaven, driven by his past meat eating habit, transformed himself into an eagle and pursued the pigeon. The pigeon came to me for shelter. At that time, I was the Sibi king, having pity on the cyclically killing and eating of living beings, I substituted myself for the pigeon, weighed the flesh of my body and give the flesh to the eagle. Since the flesh I cut down is not enough, I walked up onto the balance and suffered the great pain. Mahamati, because of this meat-eating habit of innumerable lifetimes, both oneself and others have such offences, how much more of those who often eat meat and have no shame!"

    "Mahamati, and there was another king who does not eat meat, once when he was riding on a horse and strolling, his horse was accidentally scared and carried him into the deep of the mountain, then he lost his retinue and lost the way out. But because he does not eat meat, lions and tigers did not want to harm him when saw him, the female lions walk together with him and wished to serve him. The animals even gave birth to their babies in front of him."

    "For another example, there was a king named fleck feet. Because of the meat eating habit of his past lifetimes, when he was a king he also eat meat frequently. He loves to eat meat and having eaten too much meat, so that he ate human flesh. Subsequently, all the children he borne, no matter sons or daughters, are raksas. Mahamati, due to the past meat eating habit, it is very likely that the meat-eating living beings would become raksas, lions, tigers, wolves, jackals, leopards, cats, palm civets, hawks, owls, vultures, eagles, owlets, chooks, and so on. All living beings protect their bodies severally to prevent those flesh-eaters from getting the chance of hurting them. The meat eaters often suffer from hunger, they often have the atrocious mind of eating flesh of others. Upon their death they will fall into the evil paths again, it is very hard for them to become human beings, even harder to get to the Way of Nirvana."

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    Posted by Unborn108 at 12/29/11 08:08:07

    "Mahamati, we should know that meat eaters have so many countless offences, thus vegetarians have masses of countless merits and virtues. But, Mahamati, the mundane persons do not know these offences of meat eating and the merits of not eating meat, so now I say in brief that I do not allow meat eating."

    "Mahamati, if no one eats meat, then no one kills living beings for food. Because there are people who wish to eat meat, if they have no meat to eat they will go everywhere to buy meat, then the others who wish to earn money will kill living beings and sell the flesh to the meat eaters. The killings are for the buyers, thus the buying is the same as the killing. Therefore, meat eating can obstruct the holy Way."

    "Mahamati, meat eaters love the flavor of meat, if they have no animal meat to eat, they would even eat human flesh, not to mention if they get other kinds of living beings, including roes, deer, pheasants, rabbits, swans, wild geese, pigs, sheep, chooks, dogs, camels, donkeys, elephants, horses, dragons, snakes, fishes, turtles, and so on, whether living in water or on the ground, it is very likely that they will eat those animals. Because they love the flavor of meat, they use many methods to kill living beings. They will setup various equipments, machineries, traps, holes, nets, bows, arrows, swords, poisons, etc throughout mountains, earth, rivers, weirs, seas, etc, innumerable living beings in sky, in water, or on the ground are being killed. All these are caused by meat eating."

    "Hunters, butchers, meat eaters and the like are atrocious and hardhearted, they can do what others cannot have the heart to do. When they see the living beings whose bodies are fresh, fat or fleshy, they would think of eating them. They would point to those animals and say to each other: 'Those animals are edible!' without even a little bit of mercy. Therefore, Mahamati, I say that meat eaters are destroying their great merciful seed."

    "Mahamati, I see that in the world, all meats are gotten from the bodies of living beings. If people do not kill, do not ask others to kill, and nobody kill for earning, then where are the meats come from? If there are meats that are not gotten from the bodies of living beings and are indeed delicious foods, how come I do not allow eating them? But there is no such meat all over the world, thus I say that meat eating is a sin, which destroys the seed of Tathagata. Therefore, I do not allow eating meat."

    "Mahamati, after my Nirvana, in the future when Dharmas are about to disappear, in my Dharmas, there will be some monks who have their moustache and hair shaved and call themselves 'sramana' and 'Son of Sakyamuni'. Although they are in my kasaya(monk's robe)s, they are as ignorant as babies. They call themselves 'teacher of precepts' but fall into the two-extremes(two wrong views), with various fallacious apprehensions and analysis, their mind are disordered and not composed, and they are greedy for the flavors of meat. They follow their own minds to say: 'Buddhist precept(vinaya)s allow meat eating', and slander me: 'The Buddha, the Tathagata allows eating meat', and even slander me: 'The Tathagata, the Bhagavan himself also eats meat.'"

    "Mahamati, in all sutras, including Elephant-Armpit Sutra, Angulimalika Sutra, Nirvana Sutra, Great-Cloud Sutra, etc, I have never allow meat eating, and have never said that any meat can be added to foods. Mahamati, if I allow Sravaka(voice-hearer)s or any disciples to eat meat, then I am not qualified to praise the practitioners who honestly cultivate great mercy and compassion, to praise the practitioners who do Dhuta-practice in graveyard(Sita-vana)s, to praise those who practice and persevere to Mahayana(Great vehicle), and to praise vegetarians."

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    Posted by Unborn108 at 12/29/11 08:13:37

    (* Dhuta practice: twelve disciplines of restraint concerning food, clothing and shelter)

    "I do not eat meat and do not allow others to eat meat, thus I persuade people to practice Bodhisattva-behaviors, praise not eating meat, and persuade people to regard all living beings as their own sons. So how could someone say that I allow meat eating? For my disciples who practice any of the three vehicles to achieve their goals quickly, I forbid eating of any meat, how could someone say that my precept(vinaya)s allow meat eating?"

    "And some people will say: 'In other sutras, the Tathagata has allowed eating of three kinds of meat', they simply do not understand that the meaning of precepts is to stop meat eating gradually, so they will say that meat eating is allowed."

    "Mahamati, there are two kinds of meat, meat of the first kind are killed by others, and meat of the second kind are from the living beings that died of themselves. Mundane people say that some are edible, and some are inedible. They may say that meat of elephants, horses, dragons, humans, ghosts, macaques, monkeys, pigs, dogs, cows are inedible, and others are edible. But butchers do not care whether edible or not, they simply kill all and sell everywhere, thus innumerable innocent living beings have been killed. Therefore I constitute the precept: All meat, whether they are killed by others or died of themselves, are not allowed to be eaten. We call some meat are 'killed by others' if we see, hear or suspect so; we call other meat are 'died of self' if we did not see, hear or suspect that they had been killed. Therefore, Mahamati, my precept(vinaya)s say: All meats are impure for sramana(monk)s - the Sons of Sakyamuni. They pollute the pure lives and obstruct the holy Way, so there is no expedience that allows meat eating."

    "If someone say: 'The reason that the precepts mention three kinds of meat is to forbid meat eating, not to allow', we should know that he keeps precepts firmly, and does not slander me. Mahamati, now in this Lankavatara Sutra I say, at all times, all kinds of meats are inedible, unexceptionally. Mahamati, I forbid meat eating not only for one time, I mean that both in present and future, meat eating is forbidden."

    "Mahamati, if those ignorant persons who call themselves 'precept teacher' say that precepts allow meat eating, and slander me that the Tathagata himself also eats meat, then that become a great sin which obstructs them. They will fall into the places of no benefit, no sage and no Dharma for eons. They will not be able to see the sage disciples in present and future, not to mention seeing Buddhas and Tathagatas."

    "Mahamati, the everyday foods for voice-hearer(Sravaka)s are: rice, noodles, vegetable oils, honeys, various beans, and other vegetables. They can nourish the pure lives. As for any things that are stored, accepted, or gotten illegally, I say they are impure and do not allow to eat them, much less I would allow to eat the nasty things such as blood and meat."

    "Mahamati, for my disciples, including voice-hearers, pratyeka-buddha(self-enlightened one)s and Bodhisattvas, they eat Dharma and do not need any drinks or foods, not to mention the Tathagata. Mahamati, all Buddhas - Tathagatas eat Dharma and stay in Dharma, their bodies do not need any drinks or foods, and are not like any bodies which need drinks and foods. Mahamati, I regard every living being as a same son, how could I allow eating of their flesh? I do not compliantly rejoice eating of meat, much less I myself would eat."

    "Mahamati, all these feculent and nasty things: fleshes, shallots, leeks, garlic, scallions, etc can obstruct the holy Way, and prevent living beings from becoming human, heavenly or pure beings, not to mention the retribution of being reborn in the buddhas' pure lands. Alcohol also can obstruct the holy Way, can erode good karmas, can bring on offences. Therefore, Mahamati, for anyone who is coming to the holy Way, he should not drink alcohol, and should not eat meat, shallots, leeks, garlic, scallions, or other pungent things."

    At that time, to repeat the teaching, the Bhagavan said a verse(gatha):

    "Mahamati Bodhisattva asked:
    'The Buddha say that, alcohol, meat, shallots, leeks, garlic and scallions are all impure and not allowed to be eaten.
    They are what raksas eat, are not the foods for sages.
    Eating of them is criticized by sages, and is infamous.
    Bhagavan, please analyze the offences of eating them, and the bliss of not eating them.'

    Mahamati do listen carefully,
    I am telling you the offences of eating them.
    Alcohol, meat, shallots, leeks, garlic and scallions,
    are obstructions to the holy Way.
    I see that in the three-realms,
    all living beings, including sages,
    have cyclically become relatives of each others since beginningless time.
    How could we eat any of them?

    Discern where meats come from,
    then we know that they are very feculent.
    Meats are combinations of pus, blood, urine, dung, purulence, mucus, etc.
    One who practice pure behaviors,
    should discern that and should not eat meat.
    He also should not drink alcohol,
    should keep away from shallots, leeks, garlic, scallions, and sesame oil,
    should not sleep on through-hole-beds.
    And should not kill any lives, including those flying tiny insects.
    Meat eating increases hindrances of the body, and produces evil minds;
    Evil minds produce greed, thus I do not allow meat eating.
    The greed produced by meat eating can lead one to insobriety,
    and insobriety produces lustfulness,
    then one cannot extricate himself from births and deaths.

    Those who kill living beings for earning, or sell flesh for money,
    will fall into the Screaming-Hell after their death.
    The so-called three-pure-meat are: did not see the killing, did not hear the killing, and do not suspect that they were killed;
    But in fact there is no such meat in the world.
    If one fall into the type of meat eaters,
    He is stinky, feculent, and disgusting, and probably would be mad.
    He will most likely be born in the families of killers, hunters, butchers, raksas,
    or other meat-eating places,
    or will become cats, weasels, or the like.

    In Elephant-Armpit Sutra, Great-Cloud Sutra, Nirvana Sutra, Srimala Sutra, and Lankavatara Sutra,
    I forbid meat eating;
    Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and voice-hearers also criticize meat eating.
    The one who eats meat without feeling shame,
    will always be mad in his every lifetime.
    The conditions mentioned above: did not see the killing, did not hear the killing, and do not suspect that they were killed,
    have already excluded all kinds of meat,
    but those with mistaken thoughts do not understand that,
    so they still think that some meat are edible.
    Just like the offences produced by greed can obstruct the holy liberation,
    alcohol, meat, shallots, leeks, garlic and scallions,
    all are obstructions to the holy Way.
    In future there will be ignorant people who say:
    'Meats are pure, eating them is sinless, and is allowed by the Buddha.'
    But in fact what I always say is,
    Eating meat is like eating the flesh of ones' own son.

    My disciples are content with very little,
    they dislike the suffering in the world,
    seek for liberation,
    and practice mendicancy.
    I always say that,
    If anyone wish to keep his peaceful and merciful heart,
    he should keep away from meat eating.
    For example,
    People do not dare to walk and live together with lions, jackals, tigers and wolves,
    Because those are meat eaters, they make everyone who sees them frightened;
    Meat eating frightens many living beings, how could we do that?
    Thus, Practitioners should be merciful and should not eat meat.
    Meat eating destroys the merciful heart,
    obstructs Nirvana and liberation,
    and violates the teachings of sages,
    thus I do not allow eating meat.
    Not eating meat cultivates the pure-heavenly(Brahma) seed and many practice-Ways;
    Wisdom, richness and nobleness,
    all come from not eating meat.

    (* Note: The word "meat" in this translation means any fleshes and innards of any animals, including human, beast, fish, bird, mollusk, and so on, no matter they are cooked or uncooked, edible or inedible, killed by themselves or killed by others, or died of themselves. In brief, "meat" simply means any body-parts of animals, without any exception.)

    (End of translation)
    (Translated into English by Silfong Tsun)
    (Special thanks to Padma Te Yuen for grammar correction)
    (Last revised: Aug/11/2011)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Unborn108 at 12/29/11 08:45:47

    The Mahaparinirvana Sutra On Vegetarianism:

    In the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the Buddha gives his final instructions on the matter of vegetarianism, insisting that his followers should not eat meat or fish and that even vegetarian food that has been touched by meat should be washed before being eaten. If a meal is offered to a Buddhist monk or nun which contains a lot of meat, then it is not permissible for the monk or nun just to pick out the non-meat portions and leave the rest: the whole meal must be rejected - so strictly does the Buddha wish his injunction against meat-eating to be upheld.

    Some Buddhists claim that eating meat is acceptable according to the Buddha, and that even the Buddha himself ate meat. But this claim is gainsaid by the Buddha in this final of his Mahayana sutras. If one wishes to cultivate Great Loving-Kindness and not frighten sensitive sentient beings by the stench of death which meat-consumption causes to linger about one's person, one should refrain from eating all and every kind of meat. This is the Buddha's final Mahayana pronouncement on the matter.

    Here is the whole relevant section – a mini-seminar between the Buddha and his Bodhisattva follower, "Maha-kasyapaika-gotra" - on vegetarianism, from the Tibetan version of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra:

    Then Maha-Kasyapaika-gotra asked, "If it is very important to uphold the

    impropriety of meat-eating, would it not then be wrong to give meat to those

    who do not want meat?"

    [The Buddha replied:] "Excellent, noble son, excellent! You have understood

    my intention. One who protects the authentic Dharma should not do that.

    Noble son, henceforth I do not permit my sravakas [disciples] to eat meat. If I

    have said that [one should view] the country's alms-food as the flesh of one's

    son, how could I permit the eating of meat? I teach that the eating of meat

    cuts off Great Loving-kindness [maha-maitri]."

    "Blessed One, why did you permit the eating of meat that was blameless in

    three respects?"

    "Because I stipulated these three types of blameless as a provisional basis of

    training; I now discard them."

    "Blessed One, what was your intention in talking of the ninefold great benefit

    and the abandoning of the ten types of meat?"

    "Because those pronouncements were stipulated to restrict the eating of

    meat; they are also withdrawn."

    "Blessed One, what was your intention in stating that meat and fish are

    wholesome foodstuffs?"

    "I did not say that meat and fish are wholesome foodstuffs, but I have said

    that sugar-cane, winter-rice, ordinary rice, wheat, barley, green lentils,

    black lentils, molasses, sugar, honey, ghee, milk and sesame oil are

    wholesome foodstuffs. If I have taught that even the various garments for

    covering the body should be dyed an unattractive colour, then how much

    more so [i.e. undesirable] attachment to the taste of meat foods!"

    "In that case, does it not follow that the five milk products, sesame, sesame

    oil, sugar-cane sap, conch-shell, silk and so forth also violate the precepts?"

    "Don't cleave to the views of the Nirgranthas [Jains]! I have imposed the

    bases of training upon you with a different intention: I stipulate that you

    should not even eat meat blameless in the three respects. Even those

    meats other than the ten [previously forbidden] kinds should be abandoned.

    The meat of corpses should also be abandoned. All creatures sense the odour

    and are frightened by meat-eaters, no matter if they are moving around or

    resting. If a person eats asafoetida or garlic, everybody else feels

    uncomfortable and alienated – whether in a crowd of many people or in the

    midst of many creatures, they all know that that person has eaten them.

    Similarly, all creatures can recognise a person who eats meat and, when they

    catch the odour, they are frightened by the terror of death. Wherever that

    person roams, the beings in the waters, on dry land or in the sky are

    frightened. Thinking that they will be killed by that person, they even swoon

    or die. For these reasons, Bodhisattva-mahasattvas do not eat meat.

    Even though they may appear to eat meat on account of those to be

    converted, since they do not actually eat ordinary food, then how much less

    so meat! Noble son, when many hundreds of years have elapsed after I have

    gone, there will be no stream-enterers, once-returners, non-returners or

    arhats. In the age of the Dharma's decline, there will be monks who preserve

    the vinaya and abhidharma and who have a multitude of rituals, but who also

    look after their physical well-being, who highly esteem various kinds of meat,

    whose humours are disturbed, who are troubled by hunger and thirst, whose

    clothing looks a fright, who have robes with splashes of colour like a cowherd

    or a fowler, who behave like cats, who assert that they are arhats, who are

    pained by many hurts, whose bodies will be soiled with their own faeces and

    urine, who dress themselves well as though they were sages [munis], who

    dress themselves as sramanas [ascetic wanderers], though they are not,

    and who hold spurious writings to be the authentic Dharma. These people

    destroy what I have devised – the vinaya, rites, comportment and the

    authentic utterances that free and liberate one from attachment to what is

    improper, selecting and reciting passages from each of the sutras according

    to their inclinations. Thus there will appear [bogus] sramanas, sons of

    Shakyamuni [the Buddha], who will claim that, 'According to our vinaya, the

    Blessed One has said that alms of meat-stuffs are acceptable' and who will

    concoct their own [scriptures] and contradict each other.

    "Moreover, noble son, there will also be those who accept raw cereals, meat

    and fish, do their own cooking and [stock-pile] pots of sesame oil; who

    frequent leather-makers, parasol-makers and royalty …

    The person I call a monk is one who abandons those things."

    "Blessed One, what should be done by monks, nuns, upasakas [male lay

    followers of Buddhism] and upasikas [female lay followers of Buddhism],

    who depend upon what is offered to them, to purify alms-food that contains

    meat in such places where the food has not been verified?"

    "Noble son, I have taught that it does not contradict the vinaya in any way if

    they wash it [i.e. the non-meat food] with water and then eat it. If it appears

    that the food in such places contains a lot of prepared meat, it should be

    rejected. There is no fault if one vessel touches another but the food is not

    actually mixed together. I say that even meat, fish, game, dried hooves and

    scraps of meat left over by others constitute an infraction. Previously,I taught

    this in cases arising from the needs of the situation. Now, on this occasion, I

    teach the harm arising from meat-eating. Being the time when I shall pass

    into Parinirvana, this is a comprehensive declaration."

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Unborn108 at 12/29/11 08:59:05

    The Surangama Sutra On Vegetarianism:

    "Ananda, if living beings in the six worlds of existence cease to kill they will not be subject to the continual round of births and deaths. Your practice of Samadhi should free you from defilements but if your murderous mind is not cut off, they cannot be eliminated. You may acquire much wisdom but if you fail to stop killing, when dhyana manifests, you will fall into the way of spirits, in which the high rank is attained by the mighty ghost (preta), the middle one by flying yaksas(i)*1 and chief ghosts, and the low one by earth-bound raksasas(ii)*2. These have followers and boas that they have attained the Supreme Path. After my nirvana, in the Dharma ending age, these ghosts will be found throughout in the world, and will boast of how they feed on flesh which leads them to realize Bodhi. Ananda, I permit the bhiksus to eat only the five kinds of pure flesh {166}*3 which are the product of my transcendental power of transformation and not of animal slaughter. You, Brahman, live in a country where vegetables do not grow because it is too damp and hot and because of all the gravel and rock. I use my spiritual power of compassion to provide you with illusory meat to satisfy your appetite. How then, after my nirvana, can you eat the flesh of living beings and so pretend to be my disciple? You should know that those who eat meat, though their minds may open and realize a semblance of Samadhi, are but great raksasas who, after this life, will sink back into the bitter ocean of samsara and cannot be my disciples. They will kill and devour one another ceaselessly; how then can they escape from the three worlds of existence?

    In addition you should teach worldly men who practise Samadhi not to kill. This is called the Buddha's profound teaching of the second decisive deed. Therefore, Ananda, if killing is not stopped, the practice of dhyana-samadhi is like shutting one's ears while crying in the hope that people will not hear one's voice, or like trying to hide something that is already exposed to full view. All bhiksus who live purely and all Bodhisattvas always refrain even from walking on the grass; how can they agree to uproot it? How then can those who practise great compassion feed on the flesh and blood of living beings? If bhiksus do not wear garments made of (Chinese) silk, boots of local leather and furs, and refrain from consuming milk, cream and butter, they will really be liberated from the worldly; after paying their former debts, they will not transmigrate in the three realms of existence. Why? Because by using animal products, one creates causes (which are always followed by effects), just like a man who eats cereals grown in the soil and whose feet cannot leave the ground. If a man can (control) his body and mind and thereby refrains from eating animal flesh and wearing animal products, I say he will really be liberated. This teaching of mine is that of the Buddha whereas any other is that of evil demons."

    Note 1 : Demons in the earth, air or lower heavens.
    Note 2 : A female demon.
    Note 3 : p166: The five kinds of pure flesh which may be eaten by a beginner who does not see, hear of, or doubt about the animal having been killed purposely for him to eat, but is certain that it either died naturally or that its flesh had been abandoned by birds of prey.

  • Longdrive's avatar
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    Posted by Longdrive at 01/01/13 08:38:55

    I personally find these long religious teachings not only to be tiresome but also misleading. Some Buddists eat meat, others not. Much depends on sect and personal choice. Buddism teaches 'the middle way' and part of that teaching stipulates not becoming fanatically attached to vegetarianism. Historically the Budda and his disciples were not vegetarian. But, religion aside, (well partly) both Buddists and vegetarians tend to share the same viewpoint namely not to cause anything to be killed. Let's look at that view (as admiral as it is) from a logical view point: Who do you think causes more animals to be killed, either (a) A carnivore who has a steak each month but dislikes, cheese, milk, eggs and leather, or (b) A vegetarian who loves all animal products but who refrains from eating their flesh. It's a mute point. Things are invariably never as clear as ANY religion would have us believe.

  • crisafugate's avatar
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    Posted by crisafugate at 06/27/13 09:37:04

    Brahmanet Sutra

    "A disciple of the Buddha should not deliberately eat meat. He should not eat the flesh of any sentient being. The meat-eater forfeits the seed of great compassion, severs the seed of the Buddha Nature and causes beings to avoid him. Therefore, Bodhisattvas should not eat the flesh of any senient being. Those who do so are guilty of countless offenses. If instead, he deliberately eats meat, he commits a secondary offense."

    The term "sentient being" allows for some leeway as a vegetarian. There are some forms of meat which do not come from sentient beings (clams, oysters, scallops, etc.)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Happy wild horse at 04/05/14 04:19:28

    Buddha was an inligntind man so I think was vegetarian Jesus Christ was the son of God and God does not like animal cruelty so I think Jesus was vegetarian all true religions point to being vegetarian because God made animals and loves them and dos not want us to eat them or be cruel to them in any way because he is a good loving God.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by ahimsa32fa at 04/05/14 06:29:14


    Why do you say that clams, oysters and scallops are not sentient? They have a central nervous system and a brain center, and thus a conscious experience of life. Sentience becomes a debatable issue only when we get to microscopic forms of life.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Happy wild horse at 04/05/14 12:09:39

    I had pet woodlice once and they were very intelligent despite their small size.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by savetheanimals at 04/06/14 03:08:06


    The only post I think your not being a troll in is:"I had pet woodlice once and they were very intelligent despite their small size." That comment actually brought something important to this discussion and you were not attacking anyone. I don't think you made that post just for the laughs like you normally do. I thought I should point that out. I hope to see nontroll happyhorse more often. Small animals can be intelligent too. Even if they were not intelligent they are sentient and should not be abused. Ahimsa was talking about microscopic forms of life but, I think you honestly thought lice are microscopic. Ahimsa forgot plants are not sentient but,that just shows you everyone makes mistakes. I make mistakes too.

    I will talk about your other post you made on this thread a different day.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by savetheanimals at 04/06/14 05:12:50

    Jesus is a fictional character but, in his fiction book he was a carnist. He eats fish. Fish is not vegan or even vegetarian. Therefore Jesus is not vegetarian. The writers of the bible wrote the bible to control people. The fiction book was used to justify cultural practices. The people who wrote the bible was living in a place that ate murdered animals and other things that they torchered animals for.

    Buddha ate what people brought him. He was a monk and that is what they ate in those times. Buddha actually has a chance of being real. I have read some buddhist books and they are fiction books. They make stuff up in buddhist text and any logical person knows none of the spiritual parts of the books are real if any of the books have anything truthful in them. If buddha did live nothing we know about his life has survived to modern day. People perfected him and made him almost into a god. I am not a buddhist but, am just saying that buddha has the possibility of having lived on this earth at one time.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by ahimsa32fa at 04/06/14 11:30:44

    I didn't "forget" that plants are not sentient. I've made that point countless times in essays, articles, lectures, on radio and television, in classroom discussions, here, and in my books.

    I don't mention it in all my comments.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Happy wild horse at 04/06/14 16:09:33

    I never attack anyone on here you always attack my religion and that's not nice and I never post anything onhhere for a laugh I have just inosently posted stuff about my religion and by the way Jesus is real and I amnot aasking you to believe in him but to respect that I do and if you say anything about him not being real again I will report you to happycow!

  • Star the magic vegan's avatar
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    Posted by Star the magic vegan at 08/19/14 19:03:58

    Longdrive, like so many, does not appreciate the truth in the actual transcripts of the Buddha's teachings.

    India in 500 BCE, during the life of Buddha, was in general a Vedic vegetarian society. All true holy men were at least vegetarian and many were vegan. The Buddha and his men begged from lay people of their religion for food. No none would give such a revered holy man meat. It would be unthinkable.

    Yes, there are many pseudo Buddhist sects that eat meat and they are basement Dharma door access to Buddhism for carnivores. Just because some group does something wrong for thousands of years does not make it right.

    The Buddha was vegan and promoted a vegan lifestyle. He understood the compromising situations that might arise, so he wisely explained exceptional circumstances if meat eating should occur. The original monastics carried water filters to ensure no living beings would be drunk in their water. This is not a carnivorous method for drinking water.

    Buddhism also is not a religion as Longdrive would have us believe. Buddhism is a way of life and not a religion. Longdrive appears to criticize Buddhism as a spectator and as an individual who disdains religion but not as one who ever has been a participant. I may be wrong, but Longdrive appears to be an atheist. If this is the case, he should know that many Buddhists are atheists. In Buddhism, one may extract any part of the teaching and apply it in life if it helps you, your family and your community. Then, you should live up to that teaching.

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