Can Buddhists Eat Beef?

The history of Buddhism tells us that since the religion existed, Buddhism rejected the carnivorous diet and focused on the vegetarian diet.

Some Buddhists declare themselves vegetarians and others mixed. But are they allowed to eat beef or not according to the teachings of Buddha?

What does Buddha think of eating meat?

According to the teachings of Siddharta Guatama, killing is the first thing to avoid. He ordered his followers not to kill or participate in the killing or endangering of any living thing, including humans and animals. In the time of Buddha, according to history, Buddhists did not never participated in the slaughter of animals. This profession or practice was reserved for non-Buddhists. It was done by proxy.

However, the Buddhist master allowed the consumption of meat once the animals have been slaughtered by another person. In this regard, the historical Buddha said: I say there are three situations where flesh can be accepted: when it is not seen, heard or suspected (that an animal has been killed for a monk). This quotation appears in several passages of Buddhist writings, including that of the Sutta Jivaka.

Are monks and nuns carnivorous?

THE monks Buddhists are called bhikkhus and the nuns are called bhikkhunis. By definition, the word bhikkhu is a Pali word which means mendicant monk living in community. According to the Larousse dictionary, the Sanskrit term “bhikshu” designates the sannyasa, that is to say the mendicant monk in the fourth stage of his life. Monks and nuns have their own way of life based on several principles, including eating habits. The monastic code contains several prohibitions with which they must comply. They are not allowed to grow their food, so they eat food offered by others.

Why Do Buddhists Meditate?

However, during the time of the historical Buddha, the same monastic rules allowed masters to eat meat. As bhikkhus and bhikkhunis move from village to village to share the Dharma, they mutually invite each other to the inhabitants. They have not had the right to choose or refuse the food they are served, even if it is meat. Moreover, they have the right to ask for meat when they are sick.

Are monks and nuns vegetarians?

vegetarian buddhists

According to Buddhist precepts, the vegetarianism is perceived as a ascetic practice like so many others, that is to say a voluntary discipline of body and mind which tends towards perfection. Wearing scavenged rags and sleeping under a tree are other examples of these Buddhist austerities. Buddha allowed bhikkhus and bhikkhunis to be vegetarians without forcing them to take it as a mandatory practice. Being vegetarian refers to people who choose to engage in this ascetic practice. Moreover, the offerings offered by the Buddhist masters are entirely composed of vegetable foods.

The rules of conduct of Buddhism admit that a good lay disciple is one who respects this quotation: “Let him not destroy life, let him not cause life to be destroyed, let him not cause life to be destroyed by others and that he does not approve of killing others. Let him refrain from oppressing every living being in the world, strong or weak. »

Representation of the ox in Buddhism

The Hindu religion and Buddhism have a similarity when it comes to the consumption of beef. The cow is seen as a sacred animal because it symbolizes motherhood, that is, she provides milk to nourish her offspring. In the social context, it is the representation of a mother nursing her children. It is therefore the continuity of life and descent. As for the male, the ox is a castrated bull which help the man do his job and feed himself. He pulls the plow for field work and for transporting goods. This is why the consumption of beef has become a major restriction in Buddhism. However, some Buddhists eat them without the knowledge of other lay people.

Apart from beef, certain types of meat are also forbidden according to the teachings of the Buddha, namely the meat of dogs, horses, snakes, elephants, tigers, bears and leopards.

Food prohibition linked to the caste of belonging to Buddhism

In India, everything happens according to the professional and social category of the person and the outgoing castes work in the same way. Above the castes there is the monk, the ascetic and the renouncing sannyasi, i.e. a Hindu religious beggar. According to the ahimsa principle, it is imperative that these categories of classes be vegetarian because they must be perfectly pure.

Below is the classification of castes in India, also valid in Buddhism:

  • Cast number 1. BrahmanHe is both an intellectual and a spiritual missionary. Its main role is to teach religion. She must embody purity, which is why it is imperative that she be vegan, that is, she does not eat eggs, fish or meat. No one belonging to the lower caste is allowed to approach him, to prepare his meal or to eat with him;
  • Cast number 2. Kshatria: it is also called the warrior because it does physical and muscular work. Its mission is to defend the country. It is the main caste that is allowed to eat meat given the physical effort it has to perform;
  • Cast number 3. Vaishya: Coming from the rich and dominant classes, he is the rich industrial and commercial owner of the country. They financially support the Brahmin and Kshatria caste. He is moving towards a progressive vegetarianism;
  • Caste number 4. Shudra, agricultural worker, craftsman and untouchable: it is he who works hard with his hands, as in the fields. It is the farmer who supplies the country’s agricultural market. Considered impure, it is permissible to eat certain foods such as fish, meat and many others.

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