Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly


Should Vajrayana practitioners eat meat? Tibetans have long wrestled with this question, as Geoffrey Barstow elucidates in (Columbia 2017). In their discussions of ethical eating, Tibetan commentators observe that while the monastic rules permit meat’s consumption, the bodhisattva vow, with its emphasis on compassion, does not. Meanwhile, tantric Buddhist commitments mandate the consumption of the five meats during a tantric feast, but this injunction need not extend to one’s daily diet. As a result, most Tibetan Buddhists would admit that meat ideally should be avoided, but this has not stopped them from eating it daily. Barstow identifies some of the reasons for this, including the view that eating meat is critical to one’s health, as well

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