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Words of Wisdom

Vegetarianism and Tibetan Buddhism – ‘If you eat meat you are not Kagyupa’ by The Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje (vegetarian), Part 2 of 2



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We will continue to share with you, excerpts from His Holiness’ speeches on vegetarianism and previous Karmapas who were strict vegetarians.

“In the catalogue of his Collected Works by 5th Shamarpa, Konchog Yenlag, there is a text called A Letter to my Defenceless Mothers Primarily in the Land of Snows: How Eating Meat is Wrong. There is a text with this title, which is like an announcement that spread all over Tibet.” “Also, as further citation and support, there is the commentary on Good Deeds by 8th Karmapa’s student Sangye Peldrub that says: ‘No matter what region he travelled to, he skillfully prevented people from eating meat. In Kongpo, because of the region, he was unable to prevent people from eating meat. It was due to this that he did not go for alms in Kongpo or other regions where they only ate meat.’”

“Similarly, Mikyo Dorje also said in his Hundred Short Instructions, that as soon as people ‘go forth’ and become monastics, they must refrain from the eight impure things. There are different ways to count these eight things, but for Mikyo Dorje, they are meat, alcohol, armour, weapons, riding animals, business and housing, milking and animal husbandry. Particularly, in relation to meat, alcohol and weapons, one is not supposed to even look at them, forget about using them!”

“Generally regarding those who are ordained, if you ask if meat is allowed for the monks or not, some people say that it is not allowed because if there are people who are eating meat, then there will be people who will kill those animals, and if there is no one eating meat then there would be no one to make the meat. So therefore eating meat is very much related to killing and therefore the negative deed of killing is very much caused by eating meat. Buddha said that the Bodhisattvas should not eat any meat. Therefore it has been prohibited to eat meat in the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.”

“But it seems that many monks are turning vegetarian now in Tibet. In India, several groups have also switched to the vegetarian diet, following the Dalai Lama. Yes, the Dalai Lama is already a vegetarian, so everyone should be vegetarian as well. The whole Tibet should be vegetarian. No more discussion, no more questions. No more hesitation. All the monks should follow the Dalai Lama to be vegetarian.”

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