The monks of southern countries eat meat. Do they break the Vinaya rules?

发布日期:2019-01-11   字体大小:   

The food of monks in the southern countries is obtained by begging from door to door with alms bowls or provided by nearby families in turn, so they eat whatever is offered to them, regardless whether it is vegetarian. In the Bhikkhu’s Vinaya, there is no rule prohibiting meat-eating. While in the Chinese Mahayana scriptures there are clauses against meat-eating. The Chinese Han monastics, keeping faith in Mahayana Buddhism, accept not only Bhikkhu’s precepts but also Bodhisatta silas, so Han monks, nuns and even many lay followers abstain from eating meat. Historically, the custom of vegetarianism among the Han Buddhists became popular with the advocacy of Emperor Wu of Liang (the Southern and Northern Dynasties). As for the Mongolian and Tibetan Buddhists, though they follow Mahayana Buddhism, they can’t live without eating meat since there is a great shortage of vegetables in their regions. Nevertheless, all the Buddhists in the southern countries as well as in Mongolia and Tibet highly praise the habit of vegetarianism of Han Buddhists. As to the Chinese word “hun”, it refers to things with strong and pungent smells like garlic and onion. They are proscribed by both Mahayana and Theravada Vinayas, which is observed by both Southern and Northern Buddhists. It is a mistake to confuse the term “hun” with simply eating meat. (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)