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Buddha allowed consumption of meat as long as it is not for lust

by NS, The Buddhist Channel, Sri Lanka, April 20, 2014

I refer to your article "Inland fisheries and Buddhism".

This vegetarian movement is a huge concern for Buddhists since Lord Buddha clearly allowed fish and meat to be eaten not only in the Tipitika but the Jatakas (Mahasutosoma Jataka) and Vinaya, including the Mahayana Vinaya as long as it is for nutrition and not for lust.  Buddhism also recognizes that food acquired through farming requires killing of millions of creatures to protect crops.

Considering the great levels of malnutrition in Sri Lanka and India due to vegetarianism, Buddhists are in no way to destroy compassion for the human as Devaduta and other vegetarians do for the benefit of animals.  Vinaya clearly shows killing animals and plants is punishable through confession and killing a human with murderous intent requires expulsion. The Mahasutosoma Jataka also clearly shows that the 1st precept is mainly for humans and about lust and greed as intent.

As Buddhists we must remember that Buddhism is a gradual training and different Buddhists are at different levels of practice.  It is our lust and greed that kills creatures, not our choice of food.

The Sutta for Right Livelihood says we should follow our true hearts and we should not let greed and lust drive us in our decisions.  Animal husbandry should be humane, Jatakas show the practical side of how Buddhism can cater to EVERYONE and not just judgmental animal rights activists. 

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