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Divergent Opinions Among Buddhists on Meat

There are some Buddhist traditions (such as Mahayana) that say Buddha opposed meat eating. For example “It is more important to prevent animal suffering, rather than to sit and contemplate the evils of the universe, praying in the company of priests.” Also, “The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion.” ~ The Buddha, Mahaparinirvana Sutra. Other traditions however claim that Buddha said one may eat meat and be free from bad karma though denial and choosing to be unconscious, unaware, and avoid compassion for the animal victim. In other words, they claim Buddha advocated deliberate psychological denial as a way to be karma free while satisfying their base pleasure senses through the suffering and blood of animals. According to those forms of the Buddhist tradition, there are three conditions that it’s karmically okay for you to contribute your money to support the cruelty and mass murder of animals for personal gluttony. The claim is that if the specific animal cadaver you are eating wasn’t killed directly for you (meaning if you are eating a carcass produce in a mass kill slaughterhouse that could easily end up on anybody’s table than that’s supposed to be karmically okay). The second condition is that if you don’t watch the specific animal you intend to eat as it flails and struggles for its life, flopping around in its own blood while being killed, then karma check number 2 passed. The third is that you don’t hear its screams of terror, panic and pain while it is being killed. In other words, go unconscious and avoid compassion for the victim then you’re karma is clean. Like for example, Americans who chose not to know what their own representative government does and did to prisoners in Gitmo. Or say Germans in the 1930s and 40s who turned a blind eye while Germans in uniform who knew what they were doing took their neighbors “away.” Now considering that most of Buddha’s other teachings were about becoming more aware, more compassionate and more connected with all living beings, the “three exceptions/conditions” for meat eating seems spurious and highly inconsistent to say the least. More to the point, they seem less like Buddha, and they seem more like a follower shortly after Buddha left the world, who was too stuck in his attachment to eating animals to let go, so he made up the story that Buddha taught the “three conditions” out of whole cloth and the story stuck. I tend to agree with the Buddhists who say the greatest teacher of enlightenment and consciousness that ever lived was against animal murder for sensory pleasure but then what do I know? I wasn’t around in this body in 500 BCE.