Jul 30

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Jivaka Sutta – An Animal Slaughtered For you

Jivaka1The scriptural defense of Meat-eating, rests on several passages in the Pali Cannon, all of witch state that Buddhist Monks are forbidden to eat meat unless they are certain that the animal was not killed for them. The most important of these is a story in the 5.Jivaka sutta 1. Gahapativaggo, Majjhimapaṇṇāsapāḷi,, Majjhimanikāye in which the Buddha’s personal physician Jivaka, tells him of rumors to the effect that the Buddha eats meat from animals whom people have slaughtered for the express purpose of serving him the meat. Buddha denies this, and explains his position on meat this way:  “Jivaka, I say that there are three instances in which meat should not be eaten, when it is seen, not heard, and not suspected [that the living being has been slaughtered for oneself] 

The words that the translators have placed in brackets ” that the living being has been slaughtered for oneself “  do not appear in the Pali text. They were added by the Translators for the sake of clarity….. 

“Surely the idea is that meat is not to be eaten if it is seen, heard from others, or suspected by oneself to be meat.” believe that the Buddha meant to excuse only the accidental eating of meat, which incurs no blame because it involves no intent…….

Buddha was creating an extremely narrow exception to a broad general rule. The exception presumes the rule. “Do not eat meat”. If there were no such rule, there would be no need for the exception. In fact, the exception reinforce the rule…..  

Buddhism ought to be an animal rights religion par excellence. It has long held that all life forms are sacred and considers kindness and compassion the highest virtues. Moreover, Buddhism explicitly includes animals in its moral universe. Buddhist rules of conduct—including the first precept, “Do not kill”—apply to our treatment of animals as well as to our treatment of other human beings.Yet many Buddhists eat meat—although many do not—and monks, priests, and scholars sometimes defend meat-eating as consistent with Buddhist teaching.

When we buy meat, or eat meat that someone else has bought, we become the engine that powers the terrible killing machine called the meat industry.  We cannot claim innocence by delegating our dirty work to someone else and hiding behind the mask of anonymity.


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