The Dalai Lama frequently receives criticism from some in the vegetarian community for continuing to eat meat while promoting non-violence. A former vegetarian, he started eating small amounts of animal flesh on the advice on a doctor after developing gall bladder issues and hepatitis.
When he spoke with NDTV, he insisted that from a religious standpoint, eating meat is not necessarily against a monk’s principles.
“In vinaya no prohibition in eating meat, so monks in Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, they take both veg and non veg food. One time I asked, discussed this subject with a monk from Sri Lanka about 40 years ago, he said Buddhist monks are neither veg nor non veg… he should accept whatever he gets, so that’s the principle. But vinaya clearly mentions that meat which was purposely killed for you was not to be eaten but in general was not prohibited, some books like langaavatarasutra prohibited any kind of meat, including fish etc but some other texts not prohibiting, so different case, I think practically in northern part of Tibet, no vegetables. Very difficult. So that’s practical reason.”
Now, he describes his meat eating habits as consuming it “once or twice a week.”
Photo: PR Photos
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