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Monastic Meat: The Question of Meat Eating and Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhist Monastic Guidelines (bca’ yig)

School of History, Philosophy, and Religion, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
Religions 2019, 10(4), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10040240
Received: 17 February 2019 / Revised: 24 March 2019 / Accepted: 26 March 2019 / Published: 31 March 2019
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Abstract

The practice of vegetarianism has long been connected with monasticism in Tibet, despite explicit statements in the vinaya that monks and nuns are allowed to eat meat. This paper examines one particular aspect of this connection: the rules governing meat eating found in monastic guidelines. Texts of this genre reveal a variety of approaches to the question of meat eating, from avoiding the issue entirely (the most common) to banning meat outright (the least). In this paper I argue that, when viewed collectively, those monastic guidelines that discuss meat do so in a measured way that makes clear that while meat is not fully condoned, individual monks or nuns can choose how strictly they will adhere to this ideal. Meat was, thus, generally permitted, but within a context in which it was still viewed in a negative light. View Full-Text
Keywords: Tibet; Buddhism; vegetarianism; meat eating; animal ethics; monasticism; monasteries Tibet; Buddhism; vegetarianism; meat eating; animal ethics; monasticism; monasteries
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Barstow, G. Monastic Meat: The Question of Meat Eating and Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhist Monastic Guidelines (bca’ yig). Religions 2019, 10, 240.

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