Wednesday, January 19, 2011
What the Buddha taught about not eating meat
Yesterday's post, What the Buddha taught about eating meat, was a teaching directed to his disciples, and there was much more to the Buddha's reasoning than simply eating meat or not eating meat.
As you can imagine, most other teachings point towards not eating meat. As lay-practitioners, not dependent upon alms, we have the option of choosing our meals. Anyone with even a bit of wisdom and compassion can understand the option of not eating meat, whether they choose to or not.
Here is the last section of a very detailed discussion between the Buddha and his disciple, Mahāmati, taken from the Lankavatara Sutra. I'm not sure of the authenticity of it being directly from the mouth of Gotama Buddha, but even if it's not, it was certainly from the mind of a compassionate and wise being...
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.
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.