Dear Dalai Lama: “Is it permissible for Buddhists to eat meat?”

Via on Dec 11, 2011

Q & A with H.H. the Dalai Lama, Dharamsala, November 2009

Q: Is it permissible for Buddhists to eat meat?

HH: Some Buddhist texts say that it is not permissible to eat any meat, but others, including the Abhidharma-Kosa, say it is permissible to eat meat on the condition that the animal was not slaughtered specifically for the person who eats it.

The best thing is to give up meat entirely. Sometimes one’s lifestyle and circumstances provide no alternative but to eat meat, and in these cases one should eat as little meat as possible. Tibetan monasteries and nunneries in south India became entirely vegetarian 15 years ago. Festivals and ceremonies in all Tibetan monasteries and nunneries should be completely vegetarian. When I was in Tibet, aged 13 or 14, my government officially banned meat from religious festivals and ceremonies.

Bonus: The Dalai Lama on eating “conventional” eggs like those served in most restaurants:

“The abuse we inflict on hens has always been particularly disturbing to me and I have always been particularly concerned toward how these animals are treated in industrial food production. I am troubled to learn about the practice of confining egg laying hens in tiny cages. In these cages, birds cannot engage in their natural behaviours, such as spreading their wings, laying eggs in a nesting area, perching, scratching at the ground, even standing on a solid surface. Each hen has less space to live than the very sheet of paper I have written this letter on. Turning these defenseless animals into egg-producing machines with no consideration for their welfare whatsoever is a degradation of our own humanity. Switching to cage free eggs would reduce the suffering of these animals.”

Bonus: The Buddha, on eating meat.

“Monks, I allow you fish and meat that are quite pure in three respects: if they are not seen, heard or suspected to have been killed on purpose for a monk. But, you should not knowingly make use of meat killed on purpose for you.”

~ Gotama Buddha

About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive. Questions? info elephantjournal com

7,799 views

Appreciate this article? Support indie media!

(We use super-secure PayPal - but don't worry - you don't need an account with PayPal.)

3 Responses to “Dear Dalai Lama: “Is it permissible for Buddhists to eat meat?””

  1. Greg Eckard says:

    Made me think about my consumption of meat. I like how the Buddha discouraged the killing of animals for meat but also wasting the meat of animals that had already been killed.

  2. [...] of Buddhism AND a perfect practitioner, neither of which he claims…) eating meat. Regardless, here’s what he says (basically that being veg is best, and he’s encouraging Tibetan monasteries to be vegetarian, [...]

  3. Hello says:

    Watch "Earthlings" on youtube.

Leave a Reply