Lankavatara Sutra: “Eating meat has countless offences” Buddha teaches it is “root of great suffering”
(Tripitaka No. 671)
Chapter 16: Do not eat meat
At that time, Arya(sage) Mahamati(Great Wisdom) Bodhisattva-Mahasattva said to the Buddha:
“Bhagavan(World Honored One), I see that in all worlds, the wandering in births and deaths, the enlaced animosities, and the falling into evil paths, are all caused by meat eating and cyclical killing. Those behaviors increase greed and anger, and make living beings unable to escape from suffering. That is truly very painful.”
“Bhagavan, people who eat meat are destroying the great merciful seed of their own, thus the people who practice the holy Way should not eat meat. “
“Bhagavan, the Exterior-paths practitioners preach the incorrect theories which may fall into the mundane views, nihilism, eternalism, existentialism, or non-existence-ism, however, all of their theories forbid meat eating, they do not eat meat and do not allow others to eat meat. So would it be possible that, for the cultivators who practice Brahma-behavior(Brahma-carya) according to the pure Dharma of Tathagata(Thus Come One), there is no rule to forbid meat eating? The Tathagata, the Bhagavan equally gives his mercy and compassion to all living beings, how could he allow meat eating? Virtuous Bhagavan, please tell us the offences of meat eating, and the meritorious virtues of not eating meat. Once we have heard it, all the Bodhisattvas and I will faithfully practice it, widely preach and spread it abroad, to make all living beings of the past, the present, and the future be aware of it.”
The Buddha told Arya Mahamati Bodhisattva: “Good, good, Mahamati, you are greatly compassionate, having pity on all living beings, you asked this question. Now listen attentively and I’ll tell you.”
Mahamati Bodhisattva said to the Buddha: “How virtuous, Bhagavan! Yes I’ll accept the teaching.”
The Buddha told Mahamati: “Meat eating has countless offences. All Bodhisattvas should cultivate their great mercy and compassion so that they should not eat meat. Now I am telling you in brief the merits of not eating meat, and the offences of meat eating, please listen attentively.”
“Mahamati, I see that from the beginningless time, because of the habit of meat eating and the greed for flavors of meats, living beings kill and hurt each others in never ending cycles, thus they are apart from sages and suffering from births and deaths.”
“Those who renounce the flavor of meat can taste the flavors of the true Dharmas, truthfully practice the Bhumi(stage)s of Bodhisattva, and attain Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi quickly. They can then make all living beings enter the resting-place of Sravaka(voice-hearer) and pratyeka-buddha(self-enlightened one), and after that make them enter the stage of Tathagata.”
“Mahamati, these benefits are based on the merciful heart. People who eat meat are destroying the great merciful seed of their own, then how could they get these great benefits?”
“Mahamati, I see that living beings are in the transmigration of the six paths, being together in births and deaths, they give birth to and foster each others, and cyclically become fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters of each others; They may be men or women, may be the direct line of descent, may be cousins, affinities, uncles, aunts, sons, daughters, grandsons, and other various relatives of each others; They may also be born in other paths(of animal, ghost, god, and so on.), whether virtuous or evil, they frequently become the relatives of each others. Because of these relationships, I see that all meats eaten by living beings are of their own relatives. Due to the greed for flavors of meats, the living beings circularly eat each others, then they always have the thoughts of hurting each others. Their painful karmas are always increasing, so they are wandering in cycles of births and deaths and unable to escape.”
(* The six paths: god, human, Asura, animal, hungry ghost, hell-being)
After the Buddha had said that, all the Raksas who heard the Buddha’s words gave up their ferocious minds and stopped meat eating from then on. They persuaded each others to arouse the merciful heart, to make protecting the lives of all living beings prior to protecting the lives of their own, to give up eating of all meat. Weeping and sobbing, they said to the Buddha:
“Bhagavan, having heard the Buddha said that, in the six paths, all the meat we eat are of the relatives of our own, we now know that meat eating makes us the big enemies of living beings, destroys our great merciful seeds, increases evil karmas, and is the root of great suffering. Bhagavan, from now on we stop meat eating, and will never allow my relatives to eat meat. If any disciple of Tathagatas does not eat meat, we will guard and support him day and night. For anyone who eats meat, we will do great bad things to them.”
The Buddha said: “Mahamati, the Raksas are ferocious ghosts who constantly eat meat. Having heard my words, even they can arouse the merciful heart and give up meat eating, so how could my disciples who practice virtuous Dharmas be allowed to eat meat? If anyone eats meat, we should know that he is the big enemy of living beings and is destroying his holy seed.”
“Mahamati, having heard my words, if any of my disciples does not honestly consider that and still eats meat, we should know that he is of the candala(killer) ‘s lineage. He is not my disciple and I am not his teacher. Therefore, Mahamati, if anyone wish to be my relative, he should not eat any meat.”
“Further more, Mahamati, Bodhisattvas should discern that all meats are from the filthy bodies, which are combined by pus, blood, dirtiness, red-bindu(Bright Drop)s, white-bindus of the parents. Thus, discerning the dirtiness of meat, Bodhisattvas should not eat meat.”
“Further more, Mahamati, for anyone who eats meat, his smell frightens living beings and makes them run away. Therefore, Bodhisattvas practice according to the truth, in order to enlighten all living beings, they should not eat meat.”
“Mahamati, for example, wherever there are candala(killer)s, hunters, butchers, fishers, or birders, when the living beings see them remotely, they will think: ‘We are dying. These approaching killers are very atrocious beings, they are not aware of sins or bliss. They kill living beings for their current earning. Now they come to look for us, and we have flesh on our body, so when they find us, we will surely die.”
“Mahamati, due to meat eating, one can make the living beings who see him so frightened. Mahamati, all living beings, whether they are celestial or terrestrial, when they see a meat eater, they will all be frightened and think: ‘I don’t know whether I am going to die now. This flagitious being does not cultivate his merciful heart, he is like a jackal and a wolf, who cruises in the world and seeks for meat. He is insatiable, like a cow eating grass, like a dung beetle pursuing dung. My body is make of flesh so I am his food, I should not encounter him’. Thinking of this, they turn aside and escape hastily, just like human being fears raksa.”
“Mahamati, a meat eater can make the living beings who see him so frightened, thus we know that meat eating makes one the big enemy of all living beings. Therefore, Bodhisattvas should cultivate mercy and compassion, in order to gather in and teach all living beings, they should not eat those living beings. Meat is not the food for sage and wise people. Meat eating is infamous and is criticized by sages. Therefore, Mahamati, in order to gather in and teach all living beings, Bodhisattvas should not eat meat.”
“Further more, Mahamati, in order to protect the faith of living beings, Bodhisattvas should not eat meat. Why? Mahamati, all living beings know that, anyone who is called ‘Bodhisattva’ is the inheritor of the merciful heart of Buddhas/Tathagatas. He can be the refuge of all living beings; he makes the living beings who hear his name have no fear; he makes the living beings think that he is the relative, the friend, and the good knowing advisor of them; he makes the living beings say that: ‘We now have the place of refuge and peace, and have the virtuous teacher.’ Mahamati, not eating meat can make living beings have such faith. Anyone who eats meat makes all living beings have no faith in him, then the living beings would say: ‘There is no trusty person in the world’, so they would lost their root of faith. Therefore, Mahamati, in order to protect the faith of living beings, Bodhisattvas should not eat any meat.”
“Further more, Mahamati, in order to prevent the mundane persons from slandering the Three-Treasures(tri-ratna), my disciples should not eat meat. Why? Because if someone in the earthliness finds that any of my disciples is eating meat, he would slander the Three-Treasures, saying: ‘In Buddhism, would there be any true sramana(monk) or Brahmana(Indian religious practitioner) who practices Brahma-behavior? How come they abandon the sage’s food and eat the flesh of living beings? They are like the raksas who fill their stomachs with meat and then sleep drowsily without moving. They rely on the richness and force of
the mundane persons to find meat to eat. They frighten living beings as the Raksa-kings do.’ Therefore, he would spread these words everywhere: ‘Where are the true sramanas and Brahmanas who practice pure behaviors? There is no Dharma, no sramana, no vinaya(precept/discipline), and no pure practitioner at all.’ If people have such immeasurable evil minds, my Dharma-Wheel would be broken and the seeds of sage would be strangled. These tragedies are all due to the offences of the meat eaters. Therefore, Mahamati, in order to prevent the villains from slandering the Three-Treasures, my disciples should not even think of meat, not to mention eating.”
“Further more, Mahamati, in order to turn the worlds into pure Buddha-worlds, in which all living beings can be enlightened, Bodhisattvas should not eat meat. They should discern that all meats are like the dead bodies of human being, we cannot even bear looking at or smelling them, how could we put them into our mouths? Mahamati, the burned dead bodies are stinky and feculent, the cooked meats are as stinky and feculent as the burned dead bodies, so how could we eat such things? Therefore, Mahamati, in order to turn the worlds into pure Buddha-worlds, to enlighten all living beings, Bodhisattvas should not eat meat.”
“Further more, Mahamati, in order to get out of births and deaths, Bodhisattvas should intently practice mercy and compassion. They should have few desires, be content with a little, dislike the suffering in the world, and seek for liberation urgently. They should renounce the blatancies of the world and stay in quiet places. They may stay in graveyard(sita-vana)s or monasteries(arinya), they may stay in the midst of tombs, or sit alone under trees to meditate. They should discern that there is no true happiness in the world, wives and relatives are like shackles; palaces, houses and courts are like prisons; all jewels and treasures are like masses of dung; all drinks and foods are like pus and blood; drinking and eating are like applying something on the tumours and sores, that is not for greediness, but for maintaining the life to practice the sage Way. All alcohols, meats, shallots, leeks, garlic, and scallions are feculent so that we should not eat them. Mahamati, if anyone practices in this wise, then he is a true cultivator who deserves offerings of all celestial and human beings. If one does not dislike the world and does not wish to get out of it, in the meantime he has the greed for alcohol, meat, and the five pungent plants, then he is not worthy of faiths and offerings of the world.”
(* The five pungent plants: shallot, leek, garlic, scallion and hingu)
“Further more, Mahamati, some living beings had cultivated innumerable causes, conditions and affinities in the past, then they have a little virtuous roots now so that they are able to hear my Dharma. Having faith, they became Buddhist monks. However, some of them may had been relatives of raksas, or had been tigers, wolves, lions, cats, dogs, and so on. Although they are studying my Dharma, they may still have the residual habit of meat eating, so they may like to be close to meat eaters. They may drink alcohol and eat meat in cities, states, villages, towers or temples and think that this is happy, while people in the world find that they are like raksas contending for eating dead bodies. They don’t know that they are no longer my disciples and have become the relatives of raksas. Even though they are in kasaya(monk’s robe)s and had all their moustache and hair shaved, they make living beings who see them frightened like seeing raksas. Therefore Mahamati, if anyone regards me as his teacher, he should not eat any meat.”
“Further more, Mahamati, for those wizards with wrong views, if they eat meat then their conjuring will not succeed. In order to make their conjuring successful, even they do not eat meat. For my disciples, in order to seek for the supreme sacrosanct Way of Tathagatas and the supra-mundane liberation, they diligently cultivate great mercy and compassion and practice austerities. In such a way, they still fear that they cannot achieve the goal, so how could the liberation be achieved by those ignorant persons who eat meat? Therefore, Mahamati, in order to seek for the joy of supra-mundane liberation, my disciples should not eat meat.”
“Further more, Mahamati, meat eating can increase desires, meat eaters are greedy. We should discern that in the world, every being who has body and life cherishes his life and fears the pain of death. For the instinct of protecting and cherishing the life, there is no different between human and animal. They would rather live in their scabby fox bodies than give away the body to enjoy the heavenly happiness, why? because they fear the pain of death. Mahamati, observing in such a way, we know that death is a great suffering and is a fearful thing. For every living being, he himself is afraid of death, how could he eat the meat of others? Therefore, Mahamati, anyone who want to eat meat should first discern the pain of cutting his own body, and then discern the pains of all living beings, and then gives up meat eating.”
“Further more, Mahamati, those meat eaters are abandoned by all celestial beings, not to mention sages. Therefore, in order to see sages, Bodhisattvas should cultivate mercy and compassion and should not eat meat. Mahamati, meat eaters are suffering both when they are sleeping and when they are awake. They often see various terrible things in their dreams, which frighten them and make their hair staring. They are always in a state of discomposure. Because they are not merciful, they lack the virtuous powers. If they are alone in void places, ghosts and spirits will often disturb them, tigers, wolves and lions will also wait for the chance to eat their flesh, so their hearts are often filled with fears and unable to rest.”
“Further more, Mahamati, the greediness of those meat eater is hard to satisfy. They eat too much and are unable to digest, this aggravates burdens of their bodies and makes their mouth-smell foul. There are innumerable fierce worms living in their bodies, and there are a lot of tumours, ringworms, scabs, and other various skin diseases on their bodies. Even the mundane people would not like to smell and see them in their present lifetime, how could they acquire the healthy and clean human bodies in their next lifetime?”
“Further more, Mahamati, I teach mundane people that they should eat pure food for purifying their lives, and should regard all meats as the meat of their own son, so how could I allow them to eat the foods that sages do not eat? Why all sages abandon meat? Because meat eating produce innumerable offences, and lose all supra-mundane merits and virtues, so how could I allow my disciples to eat meat, blood, and the feculent flavors? If anyone says that I allow meat eating, he is slandering me.”
“Mahamati, I allow my disciples to eat what sages should eat, and do not allow them to eat what sages abandon. The sages’ foods can help us to produce innumerable merits and virtues, and help us to keep away from the offences. Mahamati, the foods for sages of past, present, and future are: rice, barley, wheat, bean, various vegetable oils, honey, sugarcane, sugarcane juice, and other vegetable foods. They are seasonal products, are allowed to be eaten and can be considered pure foods.”
“Mahamati, in the future, there will be some ignorant persons saying that many Buddhist precepts(vinaya) allow meat eating. They love the flavors of meats due to their past meat eating habit, they said those words simply according to their own views. But in fact Buddhas and sages have never said that meats are foods.”
“Mahamati, in the future, anyone who does not eat meat must have offered and sustained many Buddhas and have cultivated his virtuous roots, so he is able to believe the Buddhas’ words, keep precepts firmly, and believe in cause and effect. He has self discipline of his body and mouth, not greedy for the various flavors in the world, and can arouse his merciful heart when he see meat eaters.”
“Mahamati, I remember that in the past, there was a king named lion-slaver. He eats many kinds of meat and loves the flavors of meat, so as to eats the flesh of human. Because he eats human flesh, his parents, brothers, wives and relatives all abandoned him, all his officials, people, states, villages then rebelled and killed him. Because meat eaters have such offences, we should not eat any meat.”
“Further more, Mahamati, in the past, the king of creation-enjoyment heaven(Nirmana-rataya) had been a pigeon. Then Sakra-Devanam-Indra, who is the lord of Trayastrimsha heaven, driven by his past meat eating habit, transformed himself into an eagle and pursued the pigeon. The pigeon came to me for shelter. At that time, I was the Sibi king, having pity on the cyclically killing and eating of living beings, I substituted myself for the pigeon, weighed the flesh of my body and give the flesh to the eagle. Since the flesh I cut down is not enough, I walked up onto the balance and suffered the great pain. Mahamati, because of this meat-eating habit of innumerable lifetimes, both oneself and others have such offences, how much more of those who often eat meat and have no shame!”
“Mahamati, and there was another king who does not eat meat, once when he was riding on a horse and strolling, his horse was accidentally scared and carried him into the deep of the mountain, then he lost his retinue and lost the way out. But because he does not eat meat, lions and tigers did not want to harm him when saw him, the female lions walk together with him and wished to serve him. The animals even gave birth to their babies in front of him.”
“For another example, there was a king named fleck feet. Because of the meat eating habit of his past lifetimes, when he was a king he also eat meat frequently. He loves to eat meat and having eaten too much meat, so that he ate human flesh. Subsequently, all the children he borne, no matter sons or daughters, are raksas. Mahamati, due to the past meat eating habit, it is very likely that the meat-eating living beings would become raksas, lions, tigers, wolves, jackals, leopards, cats, palm civets, hawks, owls, vultures, eagles, owlets, chooks, and so on. All living beings protect their bodies severally to prevent those flesh-eaters from getting the chance of hurting them. The meat eaters often suffer from hunger, they often have the atrocious mind of eating flesh of others. Upon their death they will fall into the evil paths again, it is very hard for them to become human beings, even harder to get to the Way of Nirvana.”
“Mahamati, we should know that meat eaters have so many countless offences, thus vegetarians have masses of countless merits and virtues. But, Mahamati, the mundane persons do not know these offences of meat eating and the merits of not eating meat, so now I say in brief that I do not allow meat eating.”
“Mahamati, if no one eats meat, then no one kills living beings for food. Because there are people who wish to eat meat, if they have no meat to eat they will go everywhere to buy meat, then the others who wish to earn money will kill living beings and sell the flesh to the meat eaters. The killings are for the buyers, thus the buying is the same as the killing. Therefore, meat eating can obstruct the holy Way.”
“Mahamati, meat eaters love the flavor of meat, if they have no animal meat to eat, they would even eat human flesh, not to mention if they get other kinds of living beings, including roes, deer, pheasants, rabbits, swans, wild geese, pigs, sheep, chooks, dogs, camels, donkeys, elephants, horses, dragons, snakes, fishes, turtles, and so on, whether living in water or on the ground, it is very likely that they will eat those animals. Because they love the flavor of meat, they use many methods to kill living beings. They will setup various equipments, machineries, traps, holes, nets, bows, arrows, swords, poisons, etc throughout mountains, earth, rivers, weirs, seas, etc, innumerable living beings in sky, in water, or on the ground are being killed. All these are caused by meat eating.”
“Hunters, butchers, meat eaters and the like are atrocious and hardhearted, they can do what others cannot have the heart to do. When they see the living beings whose bodies are fresh, fat or fleshy, they would think of eating them. They would point to those animals and say to each other: ‘Those animals are edible!’ without even a little bit of mercy. Therefore, Mahamati, I say that meat eaters are destroying their great merciful seed.”
“Mahamati, I see that in the world, all meats are gotten from the bodies of living beings. If people do not kill, do not ask others to kill, and nobody kill for earning, then where are the meats come from? If there are meats that are not gotten from the bodies of living beings and are indeed delicious foods, how come I do not allow eating them? But there is no such meat all over the world, thus I say that meat eating is a sin, which destroys the seed of Tathagata. Therefore, I do not allow eating meat.”
“Mahamati, after my Nirvana, in the future when Dharmas are about to disappear, in my Dharmas, there will be some monks who have their moustache and hair shaved and call themselves ‘sramana’ and ‘Son of Sakyamuni’. Although they are in my kasaya(monk’s robe)s, they are as ignorant as babies. They call themselves ‘teacher of precepts’ but fall into the two-extremes(two wrong views), with various fallacious apprehensions and analysis, their mind are disordered and not composed, and they are greedy for the flavors of meat. They follow their own minds to say: ‘Buddhist precept(vinaya)s allow meat eating’, and slander me: ‘The Buddha, the Tathagata allows eating meat’, and even slander me: ‘The Tathagata, the Bhagavan himself also eats meat.'”
“Mahamati, in all sutras, including Elephant-Armpit Sutra, Angulimalika Sutra, Nirvana Sutra, Great-Cloud Sutra, etc, I have never allow meat eating, and have never said that any meat can be added to foods. Mahamati, if I allow Sravaka(voice-hearer)s or any disciples to eat meat, then I am not qualified to praise the practitioners who honestly cultivate great mercy and compassion, to praise the practitioners who do Dhuta-practice in graveyard(Sita-vana)s, to praise those who practice and persevere to Mahayana(Great vehicle), and to praise vegetarians.”
(* Dhuta practice: twelve disciplines of restraint concerning food, clothing and shelter)
“I do not eat meat and do not allow others to eat meat, thus I persuade people to practice Bodhisattva-behaviors, praise not eating meat, and persuade people to regard all living beings as their own sons. So how could someone say that I allow meat eating? For my disciples who practice any of the three vehicles to achieve their goals quickly, I forbid eating of any meat, how could someone say that my precept(vinaya)s allow meat eating?”
“And some people will say: ‘In other sutras, the Tathagata has allowed eating of three kinds of meat’, they simply do not understand that the meaning of precepts is to stop meat eating gradually, so they will say that meat eating is allowed.”
“Mahamati, there are two kinds of meat, meat of the first kind are killed by others, and meat of the second kind are from the living beings that died of themselves. Mundane people say that some are edible, and some are inedible. They may say that meat of elephants, horses, dragons, humans, ghosts, macaques, monkeys, pigs, dogs, cows are inedible, and others are edible. But butchers do not care whether edible or not, they simply kill all and sell everywhere, thus innumerable innocent living beings have been killed. Therefore I constitute the precept: All meat, whether they are killed by others or died of themselves, are not allowed to be eaten. We call some meat are ‘killed by others’ if we see, hear or suspect so; we call other meat are ‘died of self’ if we did not see, hear or suspect that they had been killed. Therefore, Mahamati, my precept(vinaya)s say: All meats are impure for sramana(monk)s – the Sons of Sakyamuni. They pollute the pure lives and obstruct the holy Way, so there is no expedience that allows meat eating.”
“If someone say: ‘The reason that the precepts mention three kinds of meat is to forbid meat eating, not to allow’, we should know that he keeps precepts firmly, and does not slander me. Mahamati, now in this Lankavatara Sutra I say, at all times, all kinds of meats are inedible, unexceptionally. Mahamati, I forbid meat eating not only for one time, I mean that both in present and future, meat eating is forbidden.”
“Mahamati, if those ignorant persons who call themselves ‘precept teacher’ say that precepts allow meat eating, and slander me that the Tathagata himself also eats meat, then that become a great sin which obstructs them. They will fall into the places of no benefit, no sage and no Dharma for eons. They will not be able to see the sage disciples in present and future, not to mention seeing Buddhas and Tathagatas.”
“Mahamati, the everyday foods for voice-hearer(Sravaka)s are: rice, noodles, vegetable oils, honeys, various beans, and other vegetables. They can nourish the pure lives. As for any things that are stored, accepted, or gotten illegally, I say they are impure and do not allow to eat them, much less I would allow to eat the nasty things such as blood and meat.”
“Mahamati, for my disciples, including voice-hearers, pratyeka-buddha(self-enlightened one)s and Bodhisattvas, they eat Dharma and do not need any drinks or foods, not to mention the Tathagata. Mahamati, all Buddhas – Tathagatas eat Dharma and stay in Dharma, their bodies do not need any drinks or foods, and are not like any bodies which need drinks and foods. Mahamati, I regard every living being as a same son, how could I allow eating of their flesh? I do not compliantly rejoice eating of meat, much less I myself would eat.”
“Mahamati, all these feculent and nasty things: fleshes, shallots, leeks, garlic, scallions, etc can obstruct the holy Way, and prevent living beings from becoming human, heavenly or pure beings, not to mention the retribution of being reborn in the buddhas’ pure lands. Alcohol also can obstruct the holy Way, can erode good karmas, can bring on offences. Therefore, Mahamati, for anyone who is coming to the holy Way, he should not drink alcohol, and should not eat meat, shallots, leeks, garlic, scallions, or other pungent things.”
At that time, to repeat the teaching, the Bhagavan said a verse(gatha):
“Mahamati Bodhisattva asked:
‘The Buddha say that, alcohol, meat, shallots, leeks, garlic and scallions are all impure and not allowed to be eaten.
They are what raksas eat, are not the foods for sages.
Eating of them is criticized by sages, and is infamous.
Bhagavan, please analyze the offences of eating them, and the bliss of not eating them.’
Mahamati do listen carefully,
I am telling you the offences of eating them.
Alcohol, meat, shallots, leeks, garlic and scallions,
are obstructions to the holy Way.
I see that in the three-realms,
all living beings, including sages,
have cyclically become relatives of each others since beginningless time.
How could we eat any of them?
Discern where meats come from,
then we know that they are very feculent.
Meats are combinations of pus, blood, urine, dung, purulence, mucus, etc.
One who practice pure behaviors,
should discern that and should not eat meat.
He also should not drink alcohol,
should keep away from shallots, leeks, garlic, scallions, and sesame oil,
should not sleep on through-hole-beds.
And should not kill any lives, including those flying tiny insects.
Meat eating increases hindrances of the body, and produces evil minds;
Evil minds produce greed, thus I do not allow meat eating.
The greed produced by meat eating can lead one to insobriety,
and insobriety produces lustfulness,
then one cannot extricate himself from births and deaths.
Those who kill living beings for earning, or sell flesh for money,
will fall into the Screaming-Hell after their death.
The so-called three-pure-meat are: did not see the killing, did not hear the killing, and do not suspect that they were killed;
But in fact there is no such meat in the world.
If one fall into the type of meat eaters,
He is stinky, feculent, and disgusting, and probably would be mad.
He will most likely be born in the families of killers, hunters, butchers, raksas,
or other meat-eating places,
or will become cats, weasels, or the like.
In Elephant-Armpit Sutra, Great-Cloud Sutra, Nirvana Sutra, Srimala Sutra, and Lankavatara Sutra,
I forbid meat eating;
Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and voice-hearers also criticize meat eating.
The one who eats meat without feeling shame,
will always be mad in his every lifetime.
The conditions mentioned above: did not see the killing, did not hear the killing, and do not suspect that they were killed,
have already excluded all kinds of meat,
but those with mistaken thoughts do not understand that,
so they still think that some meat are edible.
Just like the offences produced by greed can obstruct the holy liberation,
alcohol, meat, shallots, leeks, garlic and scallions,
all are obstructions to the holy Way.
In future there will be ignorant people who say:
‘Meats are pure, eating them is sinless, and is allowed by the Buddha.’
But in fact what I always say is,
Eating meat is like eating the flesh of ones’ own son.
My disciples are content with very little,
they dislike the suffering in the world,
seek for liberation,
and practice mendicancy.
I always say that,
If anyone wish to keep his peaceful and merciful heart,
he should keep away from meat eating.
People do not dare to walk and live together with lions, jackals, tigers and wolves,
Because those are meat eaters, they make everyone who sees them frightened;
Meat eating frightens many living beings, how could we do that?
Thus, Practitioners should be merciful and should not eat meat.
Meat eating destroys the merciful heart,
obstructs Nirvana and liberation,
and violates the teachings of sages,
thus I do not allow eating meat.
Not eating meat cultivates the pure-heavenly(Brahma) seed and many practice-Ways;
Wisdom, richness and nobleness,
all come from not eating meat.
(Tripitaka No. 671)
Translated during the Yuan,Wei Dynasty by Tripitaka master Bodhiruci from India.
Special thanks to Padma Te Yuen for grammar correction
Last revised: Aug/11/2011
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Josephine Nolan is an editor and contributing feature writer for several online publications, including EDI Weekly and Buddha Weekly.