Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva’s Teachings On Butchers & Buyers

[M]eat itself always derives from killing.
If there were no killing,
the lives of animals would remain unharmed.
If there were no meat-eater, there would be no killer.

— Shambhala King Pundarika
(Vimalaprabhā: Great Commentary On The Kālacakra)

In the Mañjuśrī Pradarshana (Teachings On Mañjuśrī’s Own View), this is taught,

Killing beings for money —
if no money were given, no killing would happen.
Both parties have a genuine link between doer and deed,
and are always killers of animals.

[Note 1: This is the essential and undeniable causal connection between killers of animals and buyers of their flesh. If there are no paying demanders (i.e. active customers), there would be no paid suppliers. In this sense, both as the two halves of the cycle of supply and demand are culpable for (co-)creating the negative karma of killing sentient beings, albeit one directly and the other slightly indirectly.]  

If a fish were bought with money
and the householder had no wrongdoing,
then how could Buddha images and so on
generate any merit? …

[Note 2: Buddhists who deny sensibility in the preceding verse contradict themselves with faith in the truth that reverencing and making offerings before Buddha images and other such Dharma practices create much merit, even when they as devotees are a degree ‘separate’ from the images, by not being their sculptors; just being their ‘users’.]

When a fish is eaten,
if the eater has no wrongdoing,
then when a stupa is worshipped,
the worshipper will have no merit.

[Note 3: Likewise, as another example, if ongoing meat-eaters as constant demanders of killing with their buying are never at fault at all, how would they as stupa-worshippers ever create any merit? Thus, buying and eating of meat create demerit, or negative karma, along with those who kill for selling meat.]  

Devoid of compassion, monks who search after
tastes of meat to bring to their tongues,
whether they are fully ordained or novices,
they will bear themselves the sin of killing and so forth,
and be damned to hell.

— Shambhala King Yashas
(Kālacakra Tantra Hṛdaya: Subsequent Heart Essence Of Kālacakra Tantra)

Translated verses from ‘The Faults Of Meat: Tibetan Buddhist Writings On Vegetarianism’
Edited by Geoffrey Barstow
Forewords by Khenpo Tsultrim Lodrö & Matthieu Ricard


  • It was also taught that as long as it is 三净肉, a lay person is permitted to consume. Also during Buddha’s time, lay person would offer anything including meat during the alms round.
    So how to correlate the above Statements and what was taught.

    On another note, if a lay person does everything right and meritorious but just because he/she consumed 三净肉in his daily diet, all his good karma were totally compromised?

    Will appreciate guidance and sharings

  • [1] 三净肉 (Threefold pure meat) was taught by the Buddha to alms-seeking monastics who could not always choose their given food, not laypeople who can always choose.

    [2] Also, as the criteria of the threefold pure meat is that it must be from animals not seen, heard or suspected to be killed for one, laypeople cannot rule themselves off as the direct and usual suspects for conditioning their murders, as paying consumers. They are who the animals were killed for. There is no suspicion about this. (Well, they can’t be killed for millions of vegans who never buy dead animals and their products.)

    [3] Even more alms-seeking monastics these days are promoting greater universal compassion (to all sentient beings) to alms-givers, while those yet to, should do it more, to live up to the hope of the Buddha, who has perfect compassion.

    [4] As taught by the Buddha, the teaching of threefold pure meat was merely a skiful stepping stone, leading to veganism: https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2017/02/how-the-buddha-gradually-urged-the-kindest-diet/ Here is a summary of how the Buddha hope we can consume: https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2016/10/how-should-all-aspiring-for-buddhahood-eat-and-drink/

    [5] Do see too, this excellent explanatory video representing all Buddhist traditions: https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2016/05/you-animals-and-the-buddha/ :

    “Bhikkhu Bodhi [from the Theravada tradition] gave this simple example to explain how the individual consumer’s purchases sustain demand for murder – ‘… if somebody goes into a market, say on a Tuesday, and orders a piece of chicken at the sales counter, somebody [there] will click some kind of calculator, which will determine on Tuesday, that a piece of chicken was sold, which will send out a message for next Tuesday, that we have to meet the same quantity of chickens to satisfy our customer base. Even though you order the chicken on Tuesday, you are not responsible for the death of the chicken that is providing that meal on [that] Tuesday, but in an indirect way, you can be sending a signal that next Tuesday, a chicken should be killed to provide food for the customers…’ Note that even if one buys animal products in a more ‘random’ manner, in terms of place and time, one’s ongoing purchases still contributes to the overall demand for killing. Every buy is a functioning vote for more murders.”

    [6] One who does A, B and C right created positive karma for doing A, B and C. If one does not do D well enough, the karma created via D is accordingly so, not so good, but not destroying the positive karma from A, B and C – unless there was anger and such that destroys positive karma. (Again, threefold pure meat being permitted applies to alms-seeking monastics only.)

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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