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Why isn't the Dalai Lama a Vegetarian?

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If, as it states in Buddhism, every living, sentiant creature is sacred why does the Dalai Lama eat meat and wear leather shoes?

29 Answers
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He got a taste of those American burgers.

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Doctors have told him his health would be compromised by keeping a vegetarian diet. Don't believe everything you see in the movies about Tibet.

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The Dalai Lama isn't stupid, it's cold as hell in Tibet.

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good question! I thought he was

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Well there isn't a lot of arable land in Tibet, it's pretty much eat meat or die, and so the meat is only consumed and slaughtered for the purpose of sustaining life, which is acceptable to nature. That is the main difference between Tibetan Buddhism and other Buddhists.

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Those shoes aren't leather.
My best friend grew up on a farm. She too knows the sacredness of animals and loves them but she eats some meat because she realizes that there is a difference between exploiting animals and needing to survive. The Dalai Lama has very small amounts of meat because he became severely ill living on a purely vegetarian diet. When asked "Aren't Buddhists supposed to be vegetarians", he responded "The good ones are!"
Buddhism does not adhere to any single law. Thank goodness the Dalai Lama understands that there is a difference between survival and championing a cause. The Buddhists I know give their children the things they need to survive regardless of whether or not "God" said not to. If it wasn't for the Dalai Lama being both spiritual and realistic, Buddhism would be an Abrahamic religion.

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It does not state in the Dharma that every living sentient creature is sacred at all...it states that we are to refrain from taking Life.
The Dalai Lama is not taking Life when he eats meat nor is he taking Life when he wears leather, if he does so at all. He is taking meat after following doctor's advice for his health..a wise strategy ..forgive me for these small criticisms...Do you enjoy throwing stones whilst living in a glass house...? Not a wise strategy....
The Lord Buddha was very practical about living with the Dharma in everyday life...killing living creatures is forbidden but eating dead flesh is not....a perfect Buddhist would prefer not to even do this...we do not claim to be perfect rather we choose the Middle Path and strive for this ideal...sometimes it is not possible...are you perfect...? Is it not also "written" in your Bible that your Jesus said at a stoning.."Let he who is without sin cast the first stone..?" Do you follow your Jesus example..? Apparently not....perhaps you should..../shrugs/
Peace from a Buddhist

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ONLY Chinese Buddhism emphasises a vegetarian diet. Thus, some people thought that one who practises Buddhism must be a vegetarian. People who cannot stop eating meat misunderstood that they are not ready to start to learn about Buddhism. If we look around at the Buddhists in Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand or Tibet and Mongolia, not to mention the lay followers, we find even the monks and nuns have meat in their diet. Can you say that they are not practicing the Buddha’s teaching? They are not Buddhists?
Do not think that one must be a vegetarian in order to learn about the teaching of the Buddha and that one cannot practise Buddhism if one cannot be a vegetarian. To practice Buddhism and be a vegetarian are not the same thing. Some people who become a Buddhist, do not learn much about the teachings but only know how to be a vegetarian.
If there was a man who was a very strict vegetarian but who was selfish, dishonest and mean, and another man who was not a vegetarian but who was thoughtful of others, honest, generous and kind, which of these two people would be the better Buddhist?

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In Tibet the environment is not conducive for sustaining crops as the earth is of a poor quality, therefore the Tibetans have to survive on a diet consisting of meat.
As the Buddha taught, vegetarianism is an ideal which is commendable, yet one must follow the dharma practically, so if one has to supplement their diet with meat on health grounds, then eating meat is unfortunately a necessity for healthy living and mental well being.
I doubt any Buddhist who eat meat are comfortable about the death of the animal they have partially consumed, yet if we can become compassionate and active for the welfare of animals rights especially wild endangered animals, then we can a least balance out our Karma.
I became a vegetarian for six months but had to start eating meat again when I suffered weight loss and dizzy spells.
I could not concentrate clearly which effected my meditation sessions, so I decided to eat meat due to health reasons, although I am uncomfortable about the idea of eating an animal.

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In one of HH the Dalai Lama's books he states "there is no unequivocal prohibition against eating meat. What is specifically prohibited is eating meat that you have ordered with the knowledge or suspicion that it has been killed especially for you". In deed in years gone by when Monks begged for food they ate what they were given meat and all

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The Dalai Lama does not live in Tibet. He lives in India. He was exiled by from Tibet by China in the 1950's.

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He quit vegetarianism due to "health issues" because he was subsisting off of a weird diet consisting solely of milk and nuts...which is, well, nuts. Technically, vegetarian but certainly not a healthy or educated diet. Sort of like eating french fries for every meal. Sure it's vegetarian but you wouldn't think that was a healthy way to live would you? And guess what, by supporting the meat industry, YOU are directly ordering that animal's life be taken. It's simple supply and demand and it is naive to think that since you are served the meat killed by someone else, in a restaurant, cooked by someone else, that when you consume that meat that it wasn't killed for YOUR purposes. It is a convenient and lazy way to circumvent the issue. The very fist tenet (and listed precept) of every branch of Buddhism is Ahimsa which is to practice non-violence and kindness to ALL sentient life, human and non-human alike. I do not understand how you can conveniently forget that to solely satiate your taste buds. When you are learned about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, you understand that a proper balanced vegan diet is the healthiest - and kindest - around.

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why does he continue to eat meat even while on tour AND in places where its very easy to eat a nutritious veg meal.
He just is habituated and addicted to it.
He is also a spiritual polititian and doesnt want to allienate the emat eating buddhist of which there are many!
Its one thing if you are standied with nothing else to eat,
but to eat animals when there is no need is sheer hypocrasy
if preaching "ahimsa"

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just saw the wonderful dalai Lama on CNN being interviewed with this guy Peice Morgan... it's running now for most of the day... but I found him engaging and very silly...however he did say that he was not a Vegetarian because he said he got sick, his eyes were turning yellow he says and that he was becoming more like the Bhuda meaning that the aisan people are called Yellow as white people are white and black black..etc and I did spell bhuda wrong.. I just can't seem to understand the spelliing of it... I thought you would find this interesting...

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