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Buddhist diets (cuisine)Although this concept of Buddhist diets is practiced in certain countries (basically refraining from eating

animal flesh, fish and eggs etc, technically Vegetarian or Vegan), my belief is that there is no such concept
as Buddhist Diet as Lord Buddha has never placed any restriction on any kind of diet, in his preachings.
This kind of concept leaves room for people who are not aware of Buddhism to think and treat Buddhism
too as another religion. Unlike other religions, Buddhism is a pragmatic philosophy where all the
teachings of Lord Buddha (which is called the Dhamma) are open for debate. It is left for each and
every individual to decide what is ethical & what is not. Being the greatest democrat in the world, he has
showed the path to emancipation, which he realized as a result of becoming enlightened by gradually &
systematically meditating and developing his mind and in turn improving his thinking power following
the eight fold path of Right View, Right Resolve, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right
Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration, to go deep into roots of all matter & phenomena and
reason out facts by using the hidden knowledge of human being (wisdom) which is deep deep inside our
mind. The difference is that he has gone far beyond average people. As the name denotes, Buddha
means Knowledge. The knowledge he gained is unmatchable. He never acted as a legislator for ordinary
folk. But certainly he has placed many restrictions on his disciples (the Sangha) in order to maintain
discipline. Any person can develop his knowledge by following the eight fold path and adhering to the
guidance given for the development of ones mind power by way of meditation.
However in his preachings and teachings he has shown the importance of respecting the right of life of
all living beings (Ahimsa). According to his teachings (the Buddhist philosophy) the world is governed
(the philosophical aspect) by a set of Universal Laws and principles existing naturally which is called
the Dhamma. Accordingly, depriving the right of life of others is a sinful act for which we get
punishment (Karma) naturally as a result of this Universal Law (animals are not born for consumption of
Humans but is a formation as a result of biodiversity which helps the natural prevalence of the earth).
This governance is not a creation of any invisible God or Creator, but the power of the nature itself which
is obviously invisible. The simplest example to prove this theory is the differences among people (why all
humans are not equal?). People are born into different social stratum, according to their Karma (acts in
previous births). The results of acts of all human beings during this life, is carried forward for the next
births (sins or merits), (like in Accountancy when debts are not settled it is carried forward for the next
financial year). Although certain bad debts are written off in accountancy with the concurrence of the
lender, there is no writing off of sins by mother nature except in certain situations where the gravity of
punishment can be subsided by collecting merit as in the case of diluting the strength of a strong oxidant
by adding an anti oxidant. This is the governing style of Mother Nature (Universal Law).
Willful deprivation of life, of living beings, has been shown as the first sinful act in the five precepts
preached by Lord Buddha from which we have to refrain in our day to day life.
Even if we do not willfully kill any animal for our consumption, by purchasing and consuming animal
flesh and fish is considered as an act of encouragement for slaughter. Certain religions justify slaughtering
if it is done in the name of an invisible god saying animals are born for human consumption. Why then
only certain species of animals are consumed? Why dont people rear tigers and elephants for example
and consume their meat? Everyone knows its only the most primitive, consumed the flesh of those
animals before religious leaders were born and religions were preached. However the modern man still

consumes flesh of a selected number of animals. These selected species of animals are extremely innocent
and cannot defend themselves either physically or otherwise (e.g. Cow, Goat, Sheep, Poultry and Fish
etc.). But all these animals feel the pain and they suffer. The only difference is that they cannot express
their pain, suffering and fear with words. But it can be seen and heard and felt by their cries, struggle for
life and with the tears that come out of their eyes when they are being slaughtered. Those cows in
slaughter houses start crying days before when their turn nears due to the natural instinct they have with
regard to their imminent destiny.
Some people sacrifice animals before the deities to pave off their sins. How on earth can one get rid of his
sins by sacrificing a randomly chosen innocent animal before an invisible god? Instead of punishing the
wrong doer before the god, an innocent voiceless animal is being punished. Why should an innocent
animal which is not a party in any form to a humans sins pay with its life? What is the rationality behind
these acts and thinking? Isnt it absurdity and stupidity? Those who engage in these acts accumulate more
and more sins as a result of misguidance of certain religions and certain individuals who perform these so
called rights, who doesnt have even the eight standard qualifications but boasts of high cast in those
communities. How can these self appointed pundits boasts of their superiority in the cast when they do
not have the guts to think rationally? Will these butchers ever wish to test this butchery on them? As
Ibrahim Lincoln said: Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried
on him personally. This doesnt mean that I get the same impulse of trying butchery on butchers, but the
nature will surely look after those butchers.
There is no difference in the suffering of a human being and an animal when they are being slaughtered.
When animals are slaughtered, their blood gets toxicated as a result of a chemical process within the body
with the fear and pain that they undergo. This process contaminates the flesh of the animal which finally
affects the health of those who consume this contaminated flesh. This kind of contamination may not be
visible or detectable by instruments to be able to prove with the present day medical evidence as can be
seen by contamination caused by bacteria attacks which is visible.
Eating animal flesh makes a man psychologically and physically different, to a total vegetarian. This fact
is not something which should be proved medically or scientifically, but should be understood by any
right thinking soul who respects ethics more than science as science is not developed enough to prove
those facts. This is where wisdom counts.
Finally I would like to say that although there is no concept as Buddhist Cuisine, we as human beings
should be mature enough to think rationally and stop slaughtering animals to satisfy our taste buds and
become sinners and suffer during this life and in the lives we are to born. We should understand the
simple fact that animals are born as a result of biodiversity (and of course as a result of Karma in the
Dhamma perspective) and let the nature control its growth and expansion or extinction. Man is born with
a unique gift of a developed brain and should maintain the dignity of that unique gift as there is enough
feed available to get more goodness and nourishment than consumption of animal flesh.
Justifying the slaughter of animals in any form is the most unethical act of civilized humankind and
consumption of those slaughtered flesh is an encouragement of slaughter and definitely is a sin. Every
living being has its right for life. Those who cannot or willing to understand the pulse of others should
test it on them.

Nissanka Seneviratne

8th January 2011.