What Do Buddhist Eat?

If you’re a Buddhist, you may wonder what you can eat. There are a few rules you need to follow, like eating only vegetarian meals, or mixing your food to mask its taste. In addition, you’ll find that it’s important to avoid 10 kinds of meat.

Bodhi Day

As part of their celebration of the Buddha’s birthday, many Buddhists prepare a meal consisting of milk and rice. This food is symbolic of the first meal the Buddha ate after he became enlightened.

The meal can be eaten either alone or with others. It is typically cooked for up to an hour.

Bodhi Day is a day to reflect upon the life of the Buddha, to relive his enlightenment, and to think about the ways in which people can be kind to each other. Some Buddhists will meditate, while others will read or watch Buddhist texts.

Bodhi Day is also celebrated in Pure Land Buddhist schools in Asia. Many other areas around the world will also celebrate on different days.

In Japan, Bodhi Day is celebrated on the eighth day of the twelve lunar month. On this day, the bodhi tree is decorated with colored lights.

In addition to the rice and milk meal, some Buddhists will eat lead shaped cookies and bake tree cookies. These can be made to look like the leaves of the ficus tree, a common bodhi tree.

Most Western cultures will also celebrate Bodhi Day on December 8. Traditionally, this is the day the Buddha was enlightened. Often, colored lights are placed on miniature trees to represent the Bodhi tree.

Some Buddhists will also chant sutras. They may also participate in a traditional meal of tea or cakes.


Many Buddhists today choose to eat vegetarian meals. Some adhere to a strict vegan diet while others give up meat completely. This is largely dependent on what the individual believes in and what they can afford. The key is not to sacrifice a healthy diet but to find a way to reduce the suffering of animals in their natural habitat.

Buddhists eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, often with some dairy. They also do not consume alcohol. Their lunches are typically vegetarian but the menu may vary based on the individual.

Buddhism teaches that living a life of compassion will lead to enlightenment. One example is to choose a vegetarian diet to help minimize the negative karma of killing.

Among other things, Buddhists follow the principle of ahimsa or non-violence towards all sentient beings. Although the sutras mention that a Buddhist should avoid unnecessary killing, they do not specifically require a vegetarian diet.

Unlike other religions, Buddhism does not advocate unquestioning adherence to certain rules. It asks followers to be open to a number of different interpretations of a given situation.

Historically, the majority of Eastern Buddhists were vegetarian. A few, such as the Tibetans, eat meat occasionally.

Vegetarianism is not a fad. Rather, it is a cultural practice. For Westerners, it may be difficult to break away from the usual diet. But the quality of the heart, rather than the food, is the key.

Avoiding 10 kinds of meat

One of the most common mistranslations of the Pali suttas is that Buddha ate meat. While he did not, he clearly stated that eating meat is harmful. He also taught that eating meat will create bad karmic connections. Nevertheless, many Buddhists still eat meat.

If a person can find a compassionate, non-killing Buddhist who will not eat animals, they may be able to avoid eating meat. They can also choose to go vegetarian or vegan. However, if they are not sure of the source of their meat, they must not eat it.

Buddha’s three-fold rule is the basis for his condemnation of meat eating. The first rule is that no meat can be consumed without first verifying its provenance.

The second rule is that meat should be eaten in moderation. This means that no animal should be killed just to consume the flesh. For example, a consumer can buy meat from a friend or family member.

In addition, the third rule is that all meat must be killed naturally. This is considered to be a karmically neutral way of killing.

Although it is not perfect, the three-fold rule is a good starting point. It avoids moral conundrums for vegetarians, but it is not ideal.

The reason that Buddha allowed a third degree of involvement in killing is unclear. Some argue that it is because all beings share the same “dhatu” or “dharma”.

However, other theories suggest that it is because eating meat would be a sign of self-killing. Eating meat spreads fear among sentient beings. And it also severes the Buddha-nature’s seed of compassion.

Taking life

The Buddhists do not eat meat. In fact, the First Precept forbids us from taking life. Animal flesh eating is frowned upon everywhere. If you’re Buddhist you’ll never wear leather boots.

But what about the vegetarian? The Buddhists aren’t opposed to vegetarianism, but they aren’t averse to meat. There are some arguments on both sides. While some argue that animal flesh is okay as long as you don’t eat it in the presence of a Buddhist, others say it’s a sin. Some bhikkhus cite scriptural prohibitions against flesh-eating as the reason for their staunch opposition to the practice.

Another argument against the meat trade is its karmic cost. Buddhas do not eat meat, and Bodhisattvas and Disciples don’t either. However, the bhikkhu who rejects meat in favor of vegetables does so on principle. Similarly, Buddhists who refuse to drink alcohol aren’t doing so out of any moral obligation. They’re doing it out of an interest in nonharmfulness.

Aside from its karmic costs, the consumption of animal flesh is also a violation of the First Precept. Even the Buddha’s most famous teaching about nonharmfulness has its limitations.

Fortunately, the Buddha has enumerated several rules of thumb to guide us. One of the more important is the distinction between staple and non-staple foods. Staple foods are those which can be stored up and used over time. Non-staple food, on the other hand, includes everything from juice drinks to medicines.

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