When should you not eat meat?


In a teaching given at Instituto Lama Tzongkhapa, Geshe Jampa Gelek said this in response to a student’s question about eating meat:

Regarding the question of eating meat or not, nowadays many people say that the Buddha said that one cannot eat meat in the Vinaya, in Sutra, and some tantras as well. However, if we go back to the Vinaya, which is the basis, the Buddha said that one should not eat meat characterized by three circumstances: seeing, hearing, and thinking. This means that if one sees, hears, or thinks that that meat has been killed on purpose for you or you have a doubt, “I wonder about that” then you should not eat the meat. These are the three circumstances in which one should not eat meat.

The meat that you find in supermarkets, and so forth, was not specifically slaughtered for you. You have not seen, heard, or thought that it was.

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2 thoughts on “When should you not eat meat?

  1. The meat from the supermakets was slaughtered for us, the consumers, and by buying it, we support the slaughter in the future.

  2. But logically that means there’s no distinction between meat that was or wasn’t slaughtered for you. The Buddha was very specific in the way he formulated his statement, which means he does have a point and there is a distinction. As long as you yourself do not kill the animal, request someone else to kill the animal, or know that the animal was killed so that you individually can consume it, then it isn’t a negative action from a karmic perspective. Of course if you want to abstain from eating meat in order to not participate in any way in the process of killing, there’s nothing wrong with that, but one must also consider the millions of insects killed for the purposes of fruit and vegetable farming. As long as we’re stuck in Samsara, suffering is inescapable.

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