Buddhist vegetarianism

Buddhist vegetarianism is the belief that following a vegetarian diet is implied in the Buddha's teaching. In Buddhism, however, the views on vegetarianism vary between different schools of thought. According to Theravada, the Buddha allowed his monks to eat pork, chicken and fish if the monk was aware that the animal was not killed on their behalf. The Mahayana schools generally recommend a vegetarian diet; according to some sutras the Buddha himself insisted that his followers should not eat the flesh of any sentient being.[1] Monks of the Mahayana traditions that follow the Brahma Net Sutra are forbidden by their vows from eating flesh of any kind.

A vegetarian dinner at a Korean Buddhist restaurant.
Japanese temple vegetarian dinner
A vegetarian dinner at a Japanese Buddhist restaurant.
A vegetarian dinner at a Taiwanese Buddhist restaurant.

Early Buddhism

The earliest surviving written accounts of Buddhism are the Edicts of Asoka written by King Asoka, a well-known Buddhist king who propagated Buddhism throughout Asia and is honored by both Theravada and Mahayana schools of Buddhism. The authority of the Edicts of Asoka as a historical record is suggested by the mention of numerous topics omitted as well as corroboration of numerous accounts found in the Theravada and Mahayana Tripitakas written down centuries later. [2] Asoka Rock Edict 1 dated to c. 257 BCE mentions the prohibition of animal sacrifices in Asoka’s Maurya Empire as well as his commitment to vegetarianism; however, whether the Sangha was vegetarian in part or in whole is unclear from these edicts. However, Asoka’s personal commitment to, and advocating of, vegetarianism suggests Early Buddhism (at the very least for the layperson) most likely already had a vegetarian tradition (the details of what that entailed besides not killing animals were not mentioned, and therefore are unknown.) [3]

Views of different schools

There is a divergence of views within Buddhism as to whether vegetarianism is required, with some schools of Buddhism rejecting such a requirement. The first precept in Buddhism is usually translated as "I undertake the precept to refrain from taking life". Some Buddhists see this as implying that Buddhists should avoid meat consumption, whereas other Buddhists argue that this is untrue. Some Buddhists do strongly oppose meat-eating on the basis of scriptural injunctions against flesh-eating accorded in Mahayana sutras.

Mahayana view

According to the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra, a Mahayana sutra purporting to give Gautama Buddha's final teachings, the Buddha insisted that his followers should not eat any kind of meat or fish, even those not included in the 10 types, and that even vegetarian food that has been touched by meat should be washed before being eaten. Also, it is not permissible for the monk or nun just to pick out the non-meat portions of a diet and leave the rest: the whole meal must be rejected.[4]

The Aṅgulimālīya Sūtra quotes a dialogue between Gautama Buddha and Manjushri on meat eating:

Mañjuśrī asked, “Do Buddhas not eat meat because of the tathāgata-garbha ?”

The Blessed One replied, “Mañjuśrī, that is so. There are no beings who have not been one’s mother, who have not been one’s sister through generations of wandering in beginningless and endless saṃsāra. Even one who is a dog has been one’s father, for the world of living beings is like a dancer. Therefore, one’s own flesh and the flesh of another are a single flesh, so Buddhas do not eat meat. “Moreover, Mañjuśrī, the dhātu of all beings is the dharmadhātu, so Buddhas do not eat meat because they would be eating the flesh of one single dhātu.”[5]

Certain Mahayana sutras do present the Buddha as very vigorously and unreservedly denouncing the eating of meat, mainly on the grounds that such an act is linked to the spreading of fear amongst sentient beings (who can allegedly sense the odour of death that lingers about the meat-eater and who consequently fear for their own lives) and violates the bodhisattva's fundamental cultivation of compassion. Moreover, according to the Buddha in the Angulimaliya Sutra, since all beings share the same "Dhatu" (spiritual Principle or Essence) and are intimately related to one another, killing and eating other sentient creatures is tantamount to a form of self-killing and cannibalism. The sutras which inveigh against meat-eating include the Nirvana Sutra, the Shurangama Sutra, the Brahmajala Sutra, the Angulimaliya Sutra, the Mahamegha Sutra, and the Lankavatara Sutra. In the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, which presents itself as the final elucidatory and definitive Mahayana teachings of the Buddha on the very eve of his death, the Buddha states that "the eating of meat extinguishes the seed of Great Kindness", adding that all and every kind of meat and fish consumption (even of animals found already dead) is prohibited by him. He specifically rejects the idea that monks who go out begging and receive meat from a donor should eat it: ". . . it should be rejected . . . I say that even meat, fish, game, dried hooves and scraps of meat left over by others constitutes an infraction . . . I teach the harm arising from meat-eating." The Buddha also predicts in this sutra that later monks will "hold spurious writings to be the authentic Dharma" and will concoct their own sutras and falsely claim that the Buddha allows the eating of meat, whereas he says he does not. A long passage in the Lankavatara Sutra shows the Buddha speaking out very forcefully against meat consumption and unequivocally in favor of vegetarianism, since the eating of the flesh of fellow sentient beings is said by him to be incompatible with the compassion that a Bodhisattva should strive to cultivate. This passage has been seen as questionable.[6] In a translation by D. T. Suzuki, a note is made that this section:

This chapter on meat-eating is another later addition to the text, which was probably done earlier than the Rāvaṇa chapter....It is quite likely that meat-eating was practised more or less among the earlier Buddhists, which was made a subject of severe criticism by their opponents. The Buddhists at the time of the Laṅkāvatāra did not like it, hence this addition in which an apologetic tone is noticeable.[6]

In several other Mahayana scriptures, too (e.g., the Mahayana jatakas), the Buddha is seen clearly to indicate that meat-eating is undesirable and karmically unwholesome.

Some suggest that the rise of monasteries in Mahayana tradition to be a contributing factor in the emphasis on vegetarianism. In the monastery, food was prepared specifically for monks. In this context, large quantities of meat would have been specifically prepared (killed) for monks. Henceforth, when monks from the Indian geographical sphere of influence migrated to China from the year 65 CE on, they met followers who provided them with money instead of food. From those days onwards Chinese monastics, and others who came to inhabit northern countries, cultivated their own vegetable plots and bought food in the market.[7][8] This remains the dominant practice in China, Vietnam and part of Korean Mahayanan temples.

Mahayana lay Buddhists often eat vegetarian diets on the vegetarian dates (齋期). There are different arrangement of the dates, from several days to three months in each year, in some traditions, the celebration of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara's birthday, enlightenment and leaving home days hold the highest importance to be vegetarian.[9]

Theravada View

The Buddha in the Anguttara Nikaya 3.38 Sukhamala Sutta, before his enlightenment, describes his family being wealthy enough to provide non-vegetarian meals even to his servants. After becoming enlightened, he accepted any kind of food offered with respect as alms, including meat,[10] but there is no reference of him eating meat during his seven years as an ascetic.

In the modern era, the passage cited below has been interpreted as allowing the consumption of meat if it is not specifically slaughtered for the recipient:

… meat should not be eaten under three circumstances: when it is seen or heard or suspected (that a living being has been purposely slaughtered for the eater); these, Jivaka, are the three circumstances in which meat should not be eaten, Jivaka! I declare there are three circumstances in which meat can be eaten: when it is not seen or heard or suspected (that a living being has been purposely slaughtered for the eater); Jivaka, I say these are the three circumstances in which meat can be eaten. —Jivaka Sutta, MN 55 , unpublished translation by Sister Uppalavanna [11]

Also in the Jivaka Sutta, Buddha instructs a monk or nun to accept, without any discrimination, whatever food is offered in receiving alms offered with good will, including meat, whereas the Buddha declares the meat trade to be wrong livelihood in the Vanijja Sutta, AN 5:177

Monks, a lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison. These are the five types of business that a lay follower should not engage in.[12]

But this is not, strictly speaking, a dietary rule. The Buddha, on one particular occasion, specifically refused suggestions by Devadatta to institute vegetarianism in the Sangha.[13]

In the Amagandha Sutta in the Sutta Nipata, a vegetarian Brahmin confronts Kassapa Buddha (a previous Buddha before Gautama Buddha) in regard to the evil of eating meat. The Buddha countered the argument by listing acts which cause real moral defilement and then at the end of the verse, he emphasized that the consumption of meat is not equivalent to those acts. ("... this is the stench giving defilement, not the consumption of meat").

"[t]aking life, beating, wounding, binding, stealing, lying, deceiving, worthless knowledge, adultery; this is stench. Not the eating of meat." (Amagandha Sutta).

There were monastic guidelines prohibiting consumption of 10 types of meat: that of humans, elephants, horses, dogs, snakes, lions, tigers, leopards, bears and hyenas. This is because these animals can be provoked by the smell of the flesh of their own kind, or because eating of such flesh would generate a bad reputation for the Sangha.

Paul Breiter, a student of Ajahn Chah, states that some bhikkhus in Thailand choose to be vegetarian and that Ajahn Sumedho encouraged supporters to prepare vegetarian food for the temple.[14]

In the Pali Canon, Buddha once explicitly refused suggestion by Devadatta to institute vegetarianism in the monks' Vinaya.[15]


Some Vajrayana practitioners both drink alcohol [16][17] and eat meat.[18][19] Many traditions of the Ganachakra which is a type of Panchamakara puja prescribed the offering and ingestion of meat and alcohol, although this practice is now often only a symbolic one, with no actual meat or alcohol ingested.

One of the most important tertöns of Tibet, Jigme Lingpa, wrote of his great compassion for animals:

Of all his merit-making, Jigme Lingpa was most proud of his feelings of compassion for animals; he says that this is the best part of his entire life story. He writes of his sorrow when he witnessed the butchering of animals by humans. He often bought and set free animals about to be slaughtered (a common Buddhist act). He ‘changed the perception’ of others, when he once caused his followers to save a female yak from being butchered, and he continually urged his disciples to forswear the killing of animals.[20][21]

In The Life of Shabkar, the Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogin, Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol wrote:

Above all, you must constantly train your mind to be loving, compassionate, and filled with Bodhicitta. You must give up eating meat, for it is very wrong to eat the flesh of our parent sentient beings.[22]

The 14th Dalai Lama and other esteemed lamas invite their audiences to adopt vegetarianism when they can. When asked in recent years what he thinks of vegetarianism, the 14th Dalai Lama has said: "It is wonderful. We must absolutely promote vegetarianism."[23] The Dalai Lama tried becoming a vegetarian and promoted vegetarianism.[24] In 1999, it was published that the Dalai Lama would only be vegetarian every other day and partakes of meat regularly.[25] When he is in Dharamsala, he is vegetarian, but not necessarily when he is outside Dharamsala.[26] Paul McCartney has taken him to task for this and wrote to him to urge him to return to strict vegetarianism, but "[The Dalai Lama] replied [to me] saying that his doctors had told him he needed [meat], so I wrote back saying they were wrong."[27]

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche became vegetarian in 2008.[28]

Arjia Rinpoche became vegetarian in 1999.[29]

On 3 January 2007, one of the two 17th Karmapa, Urgyen Trinley Dorje, strongly urged vegetarianism upon his students, saying that generally, in his view, it was very important in the Mahayana not to eat meat and that even in Vajrayana students should not eat meat:

There are many great masters and very great realized beings in India and there have been many great realized beings in Tibet also, but they are not saying, "I'm realized, therefore I can do anything; I can eat meat and drink alcohol." It's nothing like that. It should not be like that.

According to the Kagyupa school, we have to see what the great masters of the past, the past lamas of Kagyupas, did and said about eating meat. The Drikung Shakpa [sp?] Rinpoche, master of Drikungpa, said like this, "My students, whomever are eating or using meat and calling it tsokhor or tsok, then these people are completely deserting me and going against the dharma." I can't explain each of these things, but he said that anybody that is using meat and saying it is something good, this is completely against the dharma and against me and they completely have nothing to do with dharma. He said it very, very strongly.[30]

Common practices


In the modern world, attitudes toward vegetarianism vary by location. In Sri Lanka and the Theravada countries of South East Asia, monks are obliged by the vinaya to accept almost any food that is offered to them, including meat, unless they suspect the meat was slaughtered specifically for them.

Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Taiwanese traditions

In China, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan and their respective diaspora communities, monks and nuns are expected to abstain from meat and, traditionally, eggs and dairy, in addition to the fetid vegetables – traditionally garlic, Allium chinense, asafoetida, shallot, and Allium victorialis (victory onion or mountain leek), although in modern times this rule is often interpreted to include other vegetables of the onion genus, as well as coriander – this is called pure vegetarianism (純素, chúnsù). Pure Vegetarianism is Indic in origin and is still practiced in India by some adherents of Dharmic religions such as Jainism and in the case of Hinduism, lacto-vegetarianism with the additional abstention of pungent or fetid vegetables. A minority of Buddhist lay believers are year-long vegetarians in the monastic way. Many lay followers followed monastic style vegetarianism on Lunar New Year's Eve, Saints days and ancestral feast days as well as the 1st and 15th day of the lunar calendar. Some lay followers also followed monastic style vegetarianism on the six-day,ten-day, Guan-yin (Avalokitesvara) vegetarian, etc., set lunar calendar schedule. Other Buddhist lay-followers also follow less stringent forms of vegetarianism. Most Buddhist lay-followers however are not vegetarians. Some Zhaijiao lay adherents also do not eat any meat.

Japanese traditions

Japan initially received Chinese Buddhism in the 6th century. In the 9th century, Emperor Saga made a decree prohibiting meat consumption, except that of fish and birds. This remained the dietary habit of Japanese until the introduction of European dietary customs in the 19th century. Again, around the 9th century, two Japanese monks (Kūkai and Saichō), introduced Vajrayana Buddhism into Japan, and this soon became the dominant Buddhism among the nobility. In particular, Saichō, who founded the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism, reduced the number of vinaya code to 66. (Enkai 円戒) During the 12th century, a number of monks from Tendai sects founded new schools (Zen, Pure Land) and de-emphasised vegetarianism. Nichiren Buddhism today likewise de-emphasises vegetarianism. However, Nichiren himself practiced vegetarianism. Zen does tend generally to look favourably upon vegetarianism. The Shingon sect founded by Kūkai recommends vegetarianism and requires it at certain times, but it is not always strictly required for monks and nuns.

Tibetan traditions

In Tibet, where vegetables historically have been scarce, and the adopted vinaya was the Nikaya Sarvāstivāda, vegetarianism is rare, although the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa, and other esteemed lamas invite their audiences to adopt vegetarianism whenever they can. Chatral Rinpoche in particular stated that anyone who wished to be his student must be vegetarian. Contradictory to the compassionate Tibetan Buddhist traditions in which a sanctity of life, both human and animal, is cherished, meat is often consumed as a form of sustenance due to lack of vegetation readily available. For example, Tibetan medicine emphasizes the necessity to acquire and sustain a balance between the bodily fluids of wind (rlung), phlegm (bad kan), and bile (mkhns), in which a meatless diet would disturb and eventually lead to fatigue. The 18th century Tibetan religious leader Jigmé Lingpa suggested that Tibetan Buddhists who wish to consume meat, but also do not want to sacrifice their religious beliefs, should recite a prayer over their plate of meat in order to purify it before it is consumed. This is said to create a favorable interconnection between the consumer and the animal, assisting it to attain a finer rebirth.[31]

See also


  1. ^ Sutras on refraining from eating meat
  2. ^ Bashram, A.L. (1982). "Journal of International Association of Buddhist Studies – Asoka and Buddhism - A Reexamination : Presidential Address Given on the Occasion of the Fourth Conference of the IABS Madison, Wisconsin, August, 1980". Heidelberger OJS-Journals (Universitäts-Bibliothek Heidelberg). p. 131-132, 141. Retrieved 2018-04-01. on pp 131-132 : “The Kalinga war, which according to the 13th Rock Edict, was the main factor in Asoka’s conversion to Buddhism is not mentioned in either the Theravada tradition or in the Asokavadana, which, since it was transmitted mainly in Mahayana circles, we shall refer to it as the Mahayana tradition…” and on page 141:”It is not wholly clear what form of Buddhism Asoka believed in, but it is evident that it was different from any form existing nowadays…Asoka’s reference to his “going forth to Sambodhi” in the 8th Rock Edict may indicate the very beginning of the concept of the bodhisattva…”
  3. ^ Sen, Amulyachandra (1956). "Asoka's Edicts" (PDF). Archaeological Survey of India. p. 64. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-05-08. Retrieved 2018-04-01. “Formerly in the kitchen of the Beloved of the gods, King Priyadarsin [another name for Asoka], many hundreds of thousands of animals were killed everyday for the sake of curry. But now when this Dharma-rescript is written, only three animals are being killed (everyday) for the sake of curry, (viz.) two peacocks (and) one deer, (and) the deer again not always. Even these three animals shall not be killed in the future.”
  4. ^ Buddhism & Vegetarianism Archived 2013-10-21 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Angulimaliya Sutra Archived November 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b The Lankavatara Sutra:Chapter Eight
  7. ^ 佛教的本相 (下)
  8. ^ 《學佛素食與健康長壽》Archived July 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ 《地藏菩萨十斋日》
  10. ^ Dharma Data: Vegetarianism
  11. ^ Jiivakasutta, this is an undated (and not formally published) translation by Sister Uppalavanna (b., 1886 as Else Buchholtz), originally distributed on the internet by the Sri Lankan website "Metta.LK".
  12. ^ Vanijja Sutta: Business (Wrong Livelihood) Archived November 19, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Buddhism and Vegetarianism, The Rationale for the Buddha's Views on the Consumption of Meat" Archived 2013-10-07 at the Wayback Machine by Dr V. A. Gunasekara" 'The rule of vegetarianism was the fifth of a list of rules which Devadatta had proposed to the Buddha. Devadatta was the founder of the tapasa movement in Buddhism and his special rules involved ascetic and austere practices (forest-dwelling, wearing only rags, etc). The Buddha rejected all the proposed revisions of Devadatta, and it was in this context that he reiterated the tikoiparisuddha rule. (On this see the author's Western Buddhism and a Theravada heterodoxy, BSQ Tracts on Buddhism'
  14. ^ Breiter, Paul (2004). Venerable Father. Paraview Special Editions. p. xii. ISBN 1-931044-81-3.
  15. ^ Phelps, Norm (2004). The Great Compassion: Buddhism & Animal Rights. New York: Lantern Books. p. 76. ISBN 1-59056-069-8. monks would have to accept whatever they found in their begging bowls, including meat, provided that they had not seen, had not heard, and had no reason to suspect that the animal had been killed so that the meat could be given to them.
  16. ^ Mindful Drinking?
  17. ^ Buddhism and Alcohol
  18. ^ The Maitreya Sangha Way Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Teaching on Not Eating Meat by His Holiness 17th Gyalwang Karmapa
  20. ^ Life as a Vegetarian Tibetan Buddhist Practitioner
  21. ^ Apparitions of the Self: The Secret Autobiographies of a Tibetan Visionary
  22. ^ The life of Shabkar: the autobiography of a Tibetan yogin page 541
  23. ^ Buddha Heart, Buddha Mind, 2000
  24. ^ Vegetarian Awakening in the Himalayas
  25. ^ To be or not to be a vegetarian
  26. ^ A Routine Day of HH The Dalai Lama Archived February 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "Sir Paul McCartney's advice to the Dalai Lama". The Times. London. 15 December 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ Arjia Lobsang Thubten Rinpoche (1950 - )
  30. ^ Talk on Vegetarianism by Orgyen Trinle Dorje, Karmapa XVII
  31. ^ Barstow, Geoffrey (1 January 2013). "Buddhism between abstinence and indulgence: vegetarianism in the life and works of Jigmé Lingpa". Journal of Buddhist Ethics. 20: 75–104. Retrieved 4 February 2015.

Further reading

  • Philip Kapleau, To Cherish All Life: A Buddhist Case for Vegetarianism (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1982) ISBN 0-940306-00-X
  • Vegetarianism : Living a Buddhist life series (2004) by: Bodhipaksa
  • Releasing life (chapter 4: 'The Debate'): published by The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Phelps, Norm. (2004). The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights. Lantern Books.
  • Page, Tony (1998), Buddhism and Animals (Nirvana Publications, London)
  • Rangdrol, Shabkar Natshok. (Translated by Padmakara Translation Group.) Food of Bodhisattvas: Buddhist Teachings on Abstaining from Meat. Shambhala Publications, 2004.
  • Anāgārika, Mahendra, Theravāda Buddhism and Vegetarianism: A Review and Study Guide (Dhamma Publishers, 2019) ISBN 978-0-9990781-2-9

External links

Animals in Buddhism

The position and treatment of animals in Buddhism is important for the light it sheds on Buddhists' perception of their own relation to the natural world, on Buddhist humanitarian concerns in general, and on the relationship between Buddhist theory and Buddhist practice.

Aṅgulimālīya Sūtra

The Aṅgulimālīya Sūtra (Taishō 120) is a Mahāyāna Buddhist scripture belonging to the Tathāgatagarbha class of sūtra, which teach that the Buddha is eternal, that the non-Self and emptiness teachings only apply to the worldly sphere and not to Nirvāṇa, and that the Tathāgatagarbha is real and immanent within all beings and all phenomena. The sutra consists mostly of stanzas in verse.The Mahāyāna Aṅgulimālīya Sūtra should not be confused with the Pāli Canon's Angulimala Sutta, which is a completely different work included in the Majjhima Nikaya.

Brahmajala Sutra (Mahayana)

The Brahmajāla Sūtra (traditional Chinese: 梵網經; ; pinyin: Fànwǎng jīng; Japanese pronunciation: Bonmōkyō), also called the Brahma's Net Sutra, is a Mahayana Buddhist Vinaya Sutra. The Chinese translation can be found in the Taishō Tripiṭaka. The Tibetan translation can be found in Peking (Beijing) Kangyur 256. From the Tibetan it was also translated into Mongolian and the Manchu languages. It is known alternatively as the Brahmajāla Bodhisattva Śīla Sūtra (traditional Chinese: 梵網菩薩戒經; ; pinyin: Fàn Wǎng Púsà Jiè Jīng).

The Brahmajāla Sūtra is related to the important Huayan metaphor of Indra's net.

It is not related to the Brahmajala Sutta of the Pāli Canon of Theravada Buddhism.

Buddhist cuisine

Buddhist cuisine is an East Asian cuisine that is followed by monks and many believers from areas historically influenced by Chinese Buddhism. It is vegetarian or vegan, and it is based on the Dharmic concept of ahimsa (non-violence). Vegetarianism is common in other Dharmic faiths such as Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism, as well as East Asian religions like Taoism. While monks and a minority of believers are vegetarian year-round, many believers follow the Buddhist vegetarian diet for celebrations.

Vegetarian cuisine is known as sùshí (素食) ("vegetarian food"), chúnsù (纯素) ("pure vegetarian"), zhāicài (斋菜) ("lent / fasting food") in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan; đồ chay in Vietnam; shōjin ryōri (精進料理, devotion cuisine) in Japan; sachal eumsik (사찰음식, "temple food") in Korea; jay (เจ) in Thailand and by other names in many countries. The dishes that comprise Buddhist cuisine in any given place will be influenced by the general local cuisine.

The origin of "Buddhist food" as a distinct sub-style of cuisine is tied to monasteries, where one member of the community would have the duty of being the head cook and supplying meals that paid respect to the strictures of Buddhist precepts. Temples that were open to visitors from the general public might also serve meals to them and a few temples effectively run functioning restaurants on the premises. In Japan, this practice is generally known as shōjin ryōri (精進料理, devotion cuisine), and served at many temples, especially in Kyoto. A more recent version, more Chinese in style, is prepared by the Ōbaku school of zen, and known as fucha ryōri (普茶料理); this is served at the head temple of Manpuku-ji, as well as various subtemples. In modern times, commercial restaurants have also latched on to the style, catering both to practicing and non-practicing lay people.

Buddhist ethics

Buddhist ethics are traditionally based on what Buddhists view as the enlightened perspective of the Buddha, or other enlightened beings such as Bodhisattvas. The Indian term for ethics or morality used in Buddhism is Śīla (Sanskrit: शील) or sīla (Pāli). Śīla in Buddhism is one of three sections of the Noble Eightfold Path, and is a code of conduct that embraces a commitment to harmony and self-restraint with the principal motivation being nonviolence, or freedom from causing harm. It has been variously described as virtue, right conduct, morality, moral discipline and precept.

Sīla is an internal, aware, and intentional ethical behavior, according to one's commitment to the path of liberation. It is an ethical compass within self and relationships, rather than what is associated with the English word "morality" (i.e., obedience, a sense of obligation, and external constraint).

Sīla is one of the three practices foundational to Buddhism and the non-sectarian Vipassana movement — sīla, samādhi, and paññā as well as the Theravadin foundations of sīla, Dāna, and Bhavana. It is also the second pāramitā. Sīla is also wholehearted commitment to what is wholesome. Two aspects of sīla are essential to the training: right "performance" (caritta), and right "avoidance" (varitta). Honoring the precepts of sīla is considered a "great gift" (mahadana) to others, because it creates an atmosphere of trust, respect, and security. It means the practitioner poses no threat to another person's life, property, family, rights, or well-being.Moral instructions are included in Buddhist scriptures or handed down through tradition. Most scholars of Buddhist ethics thus rely on the examination of Buddhist scriptures, and the use of anthropological evidence from traditional Buddhist societies, to justify claims about the nature of Buddhist ethics.

Chan Chor Min Tong

Chan Chor Min Tong (traditional Chinese: 陳佐勉堂) is a Buddhist vegetarian hall located in Balestier, Singapore. It is separated into two locations, one at 2 Jalan Kemaman and another at 3 Bassein Road. Built by the Cantonese philanthropist Chan Chor Min in 1926 and 1936 respectively, the hall hosted migrant Chinese workers with no family or means of support in Singapore. From being a place of lodging to now being a place of worship, Chan Chor Min Tong is significant as a representation of the vegetarian hall culture as well as the migrant origins of Singapore.

Dabei Monastery

The Dabei Monastery (Chinese: 大悲寺; pinyin: Dàbēi Sì; literally: 'Great Compassion Temple') is a Buddhist temple in the City of Tianjin, China.

The monastery was first built in the Ming Dynasty, but has been heavily rebuilt and renovated since and consists now of the West Monastery from 1669 and the East Monastery from 1940. It is the largest and oldest in town covering 10,600 m² (114,000 ft²).

Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra

The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra (Sanskrit: लंकावतारसूत्र, Standard Tibetan: ལང་ཀར་བཤེགས་པའི་མདོ་) is a prominent Mahayana Buddhist sūtra. This sūtra recounts a teaching primarily between Gautama Buddha and a bodhisattva named Mahāmati, "Great Wisdom". The sūtra is set in Laṅkā, the island fortress capital of Rāvaṇa, the king of the rākṣasa demons. The title of this text roughly translates as "Scripture of the Descent into Laṅkā".

The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra figured prominently in the development of Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese Buddhism. It is notably an important sūtra in Chan Buddhism and Japanese Zen.

Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra

The Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (महापरिनिर्वाण सूत्र, traditional Chinese: 大般涅槃經; pinyin: Dàbānnièpán-jīng; Japanese: Daihatsunehan-gyō, Tibetan: མྱང་འདས་ཀྱི་མདོ་) or Nirvana Sutra is a Tathāgatagarbha sūtra of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Its precise date of origin is uncertain, but its early form may have developed in or by the second century CE. The original Sanskrit text is not extant except for a small number of fragments, but it survives in Chinese and Tibetan translation. It was translated into Chinese twice from two apparently substantially different source texts, with the 421 CE translation of Dharmakṣema being about four times longer than the 416 translation of Faxian. The two versions also differ in their teachings on Buddha-nature: Dharmakṣema's indicates all sentient beings have the potential to attain Buddhahood, but Faxian's states some will never attain Buddhahood. Ultimately, Dharmakṣema's version was far more popular in East Asia and his version of the text had a strong impact on East Asian Buddhism.

Ogyen Trinley Dorje

Ogyen Trinley Dorje (Tibetan: ཨོ་རྒྱན་འཕྲིན་ལས་རྡོ་རྗེ།, Wylie: O-rgyan 'Phrin-las Rdo-rje, Chinese: 鄔金欽列多傑; born 26 June 1985), also written Urgyen Trinley Dorje (Wylie: U-rgyan 'Phrin-las Rdo-rje; is a claimant to the title of 17th Karmapa Lama.

The Karmapa is head of the Karma Kagyu school, one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Sentient beings (Buddhism)

In Buddhism, sentient beings are beings with consciousness, sentience, or in some contexts life itself. Sentient beings are composed of the five aggregates, or skandhas: matter, sensation, perception, mental formations and consciousness. In the Samyutta Nikaya, the Buddha is recorded as saying that "just as the word 'chariot' exists on the basis of the aggregation of parts, even so the concept of 'being' exists when the five aggregates are available." While distinctions in usage and potential subdivisions or classes of sentient beings vary from one school, teacher, or thinker to another, it principally refers to beings in contrast with buddhahood. That is, sentient beings are characteristically not enlightened, and are thus confined to the death, rebirth, and dukkha (suffering) characteristic of saṃsāra.

However, Mahayana Buddhism simultaneously teaches that sentient beings also contain Buddha-nature—the intrinsic potential to transcend the conditions of saṃsāra and attain enlightenment, thereby obtaining Buddhahood.Those who greatly enlighten illusion are Buddhas; those who are greatly deluded about enlightenment are sentient beings."

In Mahayana Buddhism, it is to sentient beings that the Bodhisattva vow of compassion is pledged. Furthermore, and particularly in Tibetan Buddhism and Japanese Buddhism, all beings (including plant life and even inanimate objects or entities considered "spiritual" or "metaphysical" by conventional Western thought) are or may be considered sentient beings.

Temple of Great Compassion

The Temple of Great Compassion or Dabei Yuan (Chinese: 大悲院; pinyin: Dàbēi Yuàn) is a Zen Buddhist temple in Tianjin, China.

Thupten Phelgye

Geshe Thupten Phelgye (born 1956) is a Tibetan Buddhist lama who is known for promoting vegetarianism and humane treatment of animals, and for his work as a peace activist. Geshe Thupten Phelgye represents the Gelug tradition in the Tibetan Parliament in Exile.

Tianjin preserved vegetable

Tianjin preserved vegetable (Chinese: 天津冬菜; pinyin: Tiānjīn dōngcài; literally "Tianjin winter vegetable"; also called tung tsai (Chinese: 冬菜), Tientsin preserved vegetable or Tianjin preserved cabbage) is a type of pickled Chinese cabbage originating in Tianjin, China. It consists of finely chopped Tianjin cabbage (箭杆菜; a variety of Chinese cabbage with an elongated shape) and salt. Garlic is also generally added in the pickling process, although it is omitted in versions prepared for consumption by members of certain Chinese Buddhist sects, who practice strict Buddhist vegetarianism and do not consume garlic or other spicy foods. This pickled vegetable is used to flavor soups, stir fries or stewed dishes.

Tianjin preserved vegetable is commercially available in earthenware crocks or clear plastic packages.

Tibetan Volunteers for Animals

Tibetan Volunteers for Animals or TVA is an environmental group in parts of India and Tibet which aim to improve the quality and treatment of wild animals such as the yak in Tibet by encouraging local people to become vegetarian or to restrict their intake of meat.

The group has been involved in various information campaigns since 2000.Some issues of TVA's magazine Semchen, in Tibetan and English, highlight the Buddha's teachings about living meat-free.


Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood, and the flesh of any other animal), and may also include abstention from by-products of animals processed for food.Vegetarianism may be adopted for various reasons. Many people object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life. Such ethical motivations have been codified under various religious beliefs, as well as animal rights advocacy. Other motivations for vegetarianism are health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic, economic, or personal preference. There are variations of the diet as well: an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet includes both eggs and dairy products, an ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs but not dairy products, and a lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products but not eggs. A strict vegetarian diet – referred to as vegan – excludes all animal products, including eggs and dairy. Avoidance of animal products may require dietary supplements to prevent deficiencies such as vitamin B12 deficiency, which leads to pernicious anemia.Packaged and processed foods, such as cakes, cookies, candies, chocolate, yogurt, and marshmallows, often contain unfamiliar animal ingredients, and so may be a special concern for vegetarians due to the likelihood of such additives. Feelings among vegetarians may vary concerning these ingredients. Some vegetarians scrutinize product labels for animal-derived ingredients while others do not object to consuming cheese made with animal-derived rennet. Some vegetarians are unaware of animal-derived rennet being used in the production of cheese.Semi-vegetarian diets consist largely of vegetarian foods but may include fish or poultry, or sometimes other meats, on an infrequent basis. Those with diets containing fish or poultry may define meat only as mammalian flesh and may identify with vegetarianism. A pescetarian diet has been described as "fish but no other meat". The common-use association between such diets and vegetarianism has led vegetarian groups such as the Vegetarian Society to state that diets containing these ingredients are not vegetarian, because fish and birds are also animals.

Vegetarianism and religion

Vegetarianism is strongly linked with a number of religions that originated in ancient India (Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism). In Jainism, vegetarianism is mandatory for everyone; in Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism, it is advocated by some influential scriptures and religious authorities. Comparatively, in the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), the Bahá'í Faith and Dharmic religions such as Sikhism, vegetarianism is less commonly viewed as a religious obligation, although in all these faiths there are groups actively promoting vegetarianism on religious grounds.

Śūraṅgama Sūtra

The Śūraṅgama Sūtra (Sanskrit: शूरङ्गम सूत्र; traditional Chinese: 大佛頂首楞嚴經) (Taisho 945) is a Mahayana Buddhist sutra that has been especially influential in Chan Buddhism. The general doctrinal outlook of the Śūraṅgama Sūtra is that of esoteric Buddhism and Buddha-nature, with some influence from Yogacara. There have been questions regarding the translation of this sutra as it was not sponsored by the Imperial Chinese Court and as such the records regarding its translation in the early eighth century were not carefully preserved (see History); however, it has never been classified as apocrypha in any Chinese-language Tripitakas including the Taisho Tripitaka where it is placed in the Esoteric Sutra category (密教部). The sutra was translated into Tibetan during the late eighth to early ninth century and a complete translation exists in Tibetan, Mongolian and the Manchu languages (see Translations). Current consensus is that the text is a compilation of Indic materials with extensive editing in China, rather than a translation of a single text from Sanskrit. A Sanskrit language palm leaf manuscript consisting of 226 leaves with 6 leaves missing was discovered in a temple in China; if verified, the perennial questions regarding the authenticity of the Śūraṅgama Sūtra can be put to rest.

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