February 9, 2007

Buddhism and the Art of Eating Meat

Meat is widely eaten in Bhutan. Yak meat, especially dried, seem to be the favorite among the Bhutanese meat lovers. Despite claiming to be the land of Buddha Dharma, meat is a necessary dish for the Bhutanese Buddhists.

‘If we did not kill the animal, it is okay to eat, right?’ said a lively young man, ordering a huge chunk of pork.

I am not so sure about that. But for whom was the animal killed in the first place if not for people like us?

Buddha said something like,

"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."

The Mahayana Buddhist holds the view that eating meat conflicted with the principles of compassion, harmlessness and non injury to living creatures. They asked how a bodhisattva, who wished to treat all living beings as though they were himself, would accept eating the flesh of any living being. They declared that men should feel affinity with all living beings, as if they were their own kin and refrain from eating meat.

But are we bodhisatvas? Are we monks? What makes us a Buddhist?

May you take the hint and be kind to animals.

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