1. Religion & Spirituality

Readers Respond: Essential to Buddhist Practice?

Responses: 78


From the article: Buddhism and Vegetarianism
The First Precept of Buddhism is do not kill. The Buddha told his followers not to kill, participate in killing or cause to have any living thing killed. To eat meat, some argue, is taking part in killing by proxy. Do you think vegetarianism is essential to Buddhist practice? Why or why not? What Do You Think?


I won't judge anyone for eating meat and neither will try to force/persuade them. I will, however, let them take it at their own pace. My own concern is whether I am doing everything else properly to further my own enlightenment. Personally, I will not participate in eating meat since it is killing by proxy. All sentient beings were bestowed a soul by heaven and should be treasured as such. Killing merely to fulfill one's sense of taste is not justified, regardless of how people twist it to let themselves sleep at night. One could argue killing germs and such are unethical but they do not possess as much sentience as function. So one could conclude that they do not possess a soul. Purchasing meat are only fueling the slaughter of animals as well as the greed of others. If you are really that concerned about this that you can't sleep at night, why don't you just become a vegetarian on the safe side? Who knows what they did and ate back then. That was a different condition and time. But as of right now, if you truly want to reach enlightenment and escape nirvana, self awareness of your actions are important. Being aware that you are craving meat, being aware you are hurting others with your words; it's catching things like this that should be top priority and detach from wanting it. There is a distinct difference between need and want. Those who want deceive themselves and rework arguments against it to suit their need. Those who need will really ask themselves, do they REALLY need it to live on? I've been a vegetarian since birth. I am perfectly healthy. In fact, I hardly get sick compared to fellow students who aren't on a vegetarian diet. Although I am thin, I also know of larger vegetarians. So really, one could claim they get sick when eating only vegetables but are you really? Or is it just your mind?
—Guest Naisho

higher life forms pain

well its been said that insects don't feal pain as such, nothing like a cow for example a mammal which humans are as well, I think the souls of the insects are less or non exstant, because I feal they are like the earths little robots not realy having souls, but then the larger animals might have souls, well they deffinitly feal pain and fear some are quite intelligent unlike me, the bugs getting killed so you can just be veg man. or the anmails getting killed meat man, then to take the anaiamls milk/ produce, the gas form the cows anaimals, what do you do, vegan must be the way to go because the earth has soul to a collective one, so a vegan diet would probably I don't know be the best remady for the earth and possibly a mass cull, think of all the food it takes to feed the billions of animals
—Guest Kieron

Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama ate meat for health reasons,
—Guest Kieron


Yes what our blessed one said that eating meat does affect your enlightenment . But Buddha stated that if you have !"seen,heard or even suspect" then that your meat cannot be consumed. It is your desire to eat meat im sure you will be what yoy eat in your next life because you have zero compassion.If you have not seen then take a cab to senoko to take a good look at poultry factory . Please have some loving kindness. Your perspective is narrow and self-centered only think for own comfort but i totally agreed with you there is holy or wholesome about being vegetarian it just loving kindness and compassion.How are you to be enlightened when you extinguished your taste buds. Sir go to slaugher factory and be seen. Thank you hope i dont see you at macdonald. Our supreme lord buddha the gre
—Guest Thomas Lee

Living is Killing

Why is it that we are so fussy about the things we eat? To me, that meat is just a body, a physical mass whose consciousness once occupying it has been reborn elsewhere. If killing is such an issue, I think we should be more concerned of real killing, eg the parasites and bacteria we are about to kill when cooking, which is, sadly all around us, our clothes, drinking water, our vegetables etc. It is impossible not to kill without killing ourselves. If one goes with the logic that eating meat bought from a grocer is killing, then living is also killing. If living is an act of killing, then living on alms is also killing. If that is so how is it that the Buddha can achieve enlightenment as a human? Because there is no way we can live our whole lives without consuming anything. To what extent exactly do we observe the 5 precepts and abstain from killing, as lay people?
—Guest Curious


To cause unneccesary suffering is unethical and eating flesh, or even dairy products, is definitely not necessary. Any one may call themselves a Buddhist- there are no laws prohibiting it. But if you believe the Compassionate One really said eating animals that others have killed is blameless then you are very foolish. Whatever distortions have accumulated down through the ages in various texts can't contrvene the basic message of compassion for all sentient life. Westerners in particular will twist anything to suit their greed and craving because basically they are simply materialists. How sad for them and their victims!
—Guest Fred


I put to those that say you are not a buhdist if you eat meat that if you try to instill guilt in those that do, if you look down on others and feel anger towards those that do not live as you choose to then you are not have not truly grasped the core teachings the Buddha left us. His final words "be a light into yourself"
—Guest Dharmakarma

Vegetarian Buddhism

I am a western buhdist and an omnivore, I have tried to become a vegetarian many times and have become sick and weak. I am a large mammal 6'6 and 110kg with a very fast metabolism and almost no body fat, I do very phsyical work and unfortunately I need animal proteins to function. I feel compassion for animals and feel bad that they suffer so I may live but the universe saw fit to make me a predator with eyes at the front I am still in an animal body but work through buhdist teachings to see within and be present while acknowledging that my inner being still resides in an animal body. The Buddha ate what was given and taught others to eat what was necessary to survive. If you try to twist his wisdom into dogma and rules and guidelines then you have completely missed the core of what he was trying to convey and I suggest you look within again take a breath...
—Guest Dharmakarma


some buddhists want to eat meat. nobody, including monks, has the right to say they must not. if anyone does that, he/she is not following Buddhism anymore. with compassion, nobody should force other to do what one wants them doing or not to do what one doesn't want to do. the actual point is not to eat with desire. eat but only for nutrition (but make it with edible good taste).
—Guest Me.Min

It's About Not Judging

@marcus harrington -- The historical Buddha was not a vegetarian. The original disciples were told to eat whatever they were given as alms, and if they were given meat, they were to eat it. The exception was that if they knew the animal had been slaughtered specifically to feed monks, they would reject it. There were practical reasons for this. They were taking food people were willing to spare, and not making too much of a demand on the local food supply, for example. Some of those practical reasons don't apply today. Vegetarianism is a principled and healthful choice. But don't attach to it. If you can't put it aside even to honor your elderly grandmother and spare her feelings, or if you find yourself getting bent out of shape about what other people are eating, this attachment is spiritual poison. Go eat a burger and get over it.

Meat-Eating Buddhists are Hypocrites?

The inherent greed of man allows him to twist anything to get his way, convincing himself of any useful argument to justify his greed. So called 'Buddhists' need a serious lesson in accountability."It's okay to eat a supermarket chicken because otherwise it would have died for nothing"! My word, can you truly be that disconnected from the world around you? You buy something and you ARE the market which kills the animals. Your money DIRECTLY GOES TO PAY the men who kill animals. In what way do you really think you've disconnected yourself from the killing! So it's okay to give money to terrorist groups then, as long as you're not directly doing the killing? It's okay to buy trainers made in sweat shops 'otherwise the child who made them would have suffered for nothing?'. WAKE UP!!! Buddhists who eat meat are FUNDING THE PLANET'S MOST VIOLENT BUSINESS, responsible for horrific suffering and killing of some 50 billion young animals every year. If the Buddha could see you now.
—Guest marcus harrington

Vegetarianism represents Peace

To achieve peace in the world, we have to first eradicate violence within ourselves. Eating the flesh of a humble creature - however way it is killed - means it died terrified, alone and in pain in the very same way we humans do. It is so simple yet the majority of people choose to ignore these facts. If all major religions supported peace they would be preaching against all forms of violence and only then would places of worship fill to capacity, creating more compasionate people.
—Guest Mozart


Which sect of Buddhism has the most non-asian followers (as in eehtir not of asian blood or not living in asia, both combined). My guess would be the Vajrayana form of Buddhism, the Tibetan variety is rather popular in America.What are the most popular chinese buddhist sects? Chan (or Zen) would probably be the most popular, Zen originated in China.Also, what do other religions think of Buddhists (officially (such as maybe the pope, priests and other religious leaders) and also unofficially (your opinion, state your religion) Not sure. I love the Buddha though, he was genial.
—Guest UWktmBqSdbYjDH

keep it real

Let's stop patronising grandma. If she wants to be with you let it be the real you. Surely she'd appreciate your honesty and be interested in your ethics.
—Guest gofigure

Culture of Speciesism

If Buddha ate other beings body parts I'm sure it was because he lived in specieist society http://www.animalperson.net/on-speciesism-by-joan-dunayer/ used to not according non humans care and respect based on a species prejudice.We still live in a dominant speciest society, non humans are still exploited, experimented on and killed for human pleasure. If all suffering is my suffering then why would i wish to be complicit in an act of violence, my aspiration is to liberate myself and support others in their liberation, how is this possible if i rely on eating them. Regardless of what the Buddah's diet was, in this day with so much reason,information,experience and scientific data to prove without doubt animals have lives of importance to them. why would we eat them if not because of a deep ingrained condition. A vegan diet is easy these days. Those that eat body parts always try to justify it. how can 52 billion non human murders a yearly justifed
—Guest Pears

What Do You Think?

Essential to Buddhist Practice?

Receive a one-time notification when your response is published.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.