Some people believe that Buddhism has certain commandments to forbid Buddhists to eat meat. Yet, many Tibetan Buddhists or Tibetan Buddhism followers do eat meat. Then the question rises as to whether Tibetan Buddhism allows or forbids eating meat.

Generally speaking, vegetarianism is popular among Buddhists including those following Tibetan Buddhism. But, for many monks practicing Tantric Tibetan Buddhism, vegetarianism is not a commandment and usually they can eat “clean meat”.

Tibetan Buddhism consists of Exoteric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism, or Tantric Tibetan Buddhism, with the later gaining more publicity.

Tantric Tibetan Buddhism has four classes: Kriya, Carya, Yoga tantra and the supreme Yoga tantra. The first three classes of tantra strictly abide by vegetarianism; whereas, the supreme Yoga tantra with some special religious rituals allows eating “clean meat”.

Then, what is “clean meat”?

Meat eligible to be “clean meat” should follow three standards: eaters’ blindness to the killing scene of the dead animal, eaters’ innocence of the relationship between the eating and the killing, and the certainty that the animal was not killed for the eater.

Similar with Tibetan Buddhism, Southern Buddhism, which is originated from India and spread to Sri-lanka, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, allows eating “clean meat” as well.

Yet still only meat sold in the market and of cloven-hoofed animals are edible and killing animals for food is absolutely prohibited.

However, on the other hand, there is also a reason why Tibetan Buddhism practitioners is permitted eat meat, which lies in the severe natural condition and the barren plateau land of Tibet.

Since the Tibetans live on the plateau of rigid natural condition that barely grow vegetables, people could only turn to animals’ meat for food and energy in order to survive.

According to an article on, some experts also suggest that as long as vegetarian diet doesn’t lead to protein deficiency, it will be a healthy life style. After all, if becoming a vegetarian is impossible, eating less meat is still helpful for the body.

picture World Bee source CCTV

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