Two renowned teachers in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Ven. Sangye Khadro, author of the best-selling book How to Meditate, and Ven. Robina Courtin, founder of Liberation Prison Project and former editor of Mandala, offer their thoughts on vegetarianism within Buddhist circles …
“There is a lot of debate within Buddhism about this issue. There are some Buddhists who are vegetarian (no meat or fish), and some who are vegans (no animal products at all, including dairy products and eggs). And there are some Buddhists who eat meat.
What did the Buddha himself say about eating meat? Well, it seems that he said different things at different times. This may sound like he contradicted himself, but the Tibetans say that the Buddha was a very skillful teacher who understood the minds and needs of his listeners and would teach them accordingly. So to some, the Buddha said it was okay to eat meat, provided that they did not kill the animal themselves, or order it to be killed. But to others, the Buddha said that if you are a follower of the bodhisattva path, and truly compassionate, you should not eat meat, and spoke of the harmful consequences of doing so…”
From Mandala June-July 2007