But if you eat meat you are indirectly
responsible for the death of a creature.
Isn’t that breaking the first precept?
It is true that when you eat meat, you are indirectly
and partially responsible for killing a creature but the same
is true when you eat vegetables.
The farmer has to spray
his crop with insecticides and poisons so that the vegetables
arrive on your dinner plates without holes in them.
again, animals have been killed to provide the leather for
your belt or handbag, oil for the soap you use and a thousand
other products as well.
It is impossible to live without, in
some way, being indirectly responsible for the death of some
other beings, and this is just another example of the First
Noble Truth, ordinary existence is suffering and
When you take the First Precept, you try to
avoid being directly responsible for killing beings.
Mahayana Buddhists don’t eat meat.
That is not correct.
Mahayana Buddhism in
China laid great stress on being vegetarian but both the
monks and laymen/laywomen of the Mahayana tradition
in Japan and Tibet usually eat meat.
But I still think that
a Buddhist should be
If there was a person who was a very strict
vegetarian but who was selfish, dishonest and mean, and
another person who was not a vegetarian but who was
thoughtful to others, honest, generous and kind, which of
these two would be the better Buddhist?
The person who was honest and kind? Why?
Because such a person obviously has a good
One who eats meat can have a pure heart just as one
who does not eat meat can have an impure heart.
In the Buddha’s teachings, the important thing is the
quality of your heart, not the contents of your diet.
Many Buddhists take great care never to eat meat
but they are not concerned about being selfish,
dishonest, cruel or jealous.
They change their diet which is easy to do,
while neglecting to change their hearts which is a
difficult thing to do.
So whether you are a vegetarian or not,
remember that the purification of the mind is the
most important thing in Buddhism.