Should I Eat Meat?

Nobody disagrees that meat is tasty, filling, nourishing and strong sustenance for cold weather. But it is the flesh of a living creature, so there has always been disagreement about the morality of eating it.

BY: Sandra Garson


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What the Buddha actually said about eating meat

“The permission to eat meat and fish,” a great 11th Century Tibetan sage explained, “is a teaching that needs to be interpreted. The Buddha declared that if he had forbidden meat from the very start, there were some who would never have entered the teachings. It is with skill, therefore, that he only gradually excluded it. On the other hand, as an antidote for those who claim that the mere abstention from meat is their great and all-sufficient practice, the Buddha declared the contrary by saying that meat eating does not constitute a hindrance to pursuing Dharma. He said this to put down those who considered that they were superior on account of being vegetarians.”

Sandra Garson is the author of Veggiyana, the Dharma of Cooking and How to Fix a Leek and Other Food From Your Farmers’ Market. As a longtime student of Tibetan Buddhism and well-known cook for Dharma centers from Maine to Mongolia, she became the first food historian to explore the Buddha’s influence on how the world now eats. This led to exploration of more religious beliefs about food.

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