Why Buddhists Should be Vegetarian

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Why Buddhists Should be Vegetarian, by Ajahn Sujato

Why Buddhists Should be Vegetarian

An article on the vegetarian debate within Buddhism, especially the Theravada. Ajahn Sujato makes several good and important points, including:

"I am suggesting that, while kamma deals with the personal, ethics includes both the personal and the environmental. As well as broadening ethics in this way, I would suggest we should deepen it. Ethics is not just what is allowable. Sure, you can argue that eating meat is allowable. You can get away with it. That doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing. What if we ask, not what can I get away with, but what can I aspire to?

When we recite the first precept, we say, ‘I undertake the training to refrain from killing living beings’. This is a challenge, and in itself is a powerful ethics. Yet it is merely a short summary of a principle. It was never meant to fully describe the virtue of harmlessness. When the Buddha spoke of this precept in more detail, this is what he had to say:

'Having abandoned the taking of life, refraining from the taking of life, one dwells without violence, with the knife laid down, scrupulous, full of mercy, trembling with compassion for all sentient beings.' "