[Buddha-l] Insight into Anti-Muslim Violence in Sri Lanka

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Wed Aug 21 15:37:51 MDT 2013

> I've mentioned before in this context the peculiar instruction regarding
> eating whatever shows up in your begging bowl.  The finger of a leper was
> mentioned, seemingly clarifying both overcoming disgust and vegetarianism 
> in
> the clergy.  How does this square with vegetarian eating for a clergy
> dependent for food on the begging round?
> Bob Woolery

The begging bowl rule applies only in Theravadin countries. Most Theravadins 
are not vegetarian. Stated another way (since some aspersions were cast on 
brahman food sensibilities), there are many more Hindu vegetarians in South 
Asia than there are Buddhist vegetarians. One of the delights of traveling 
within India is that there are always vegetarian options. If one flies 
domestically within India, when the food comes around, instead of asking if 
you want the chicken or tuna -- as domestic US flights do (though they sell 
food, don't include it anymore in the price of the flight) -- you are asked 
vegetarian or non-vegetarian. You don't have to special order vegetarian 
meals ahead of time. Not so in Thailand, etc. Thank you, brahmans! The cows 
thank you as well.

Mahayana, presuming monastic institutions with their own kitchens, can 
filter "donations" through those kitchens. Also, an informed class of 
donators, understanding they earn "merit" when giving acceptable edibles, 
etc. to clergy, and only negative karma for "nasty" gifts, follow vegetarian 
guidelines when giving or preparing for monastic dining in Korea, China and 
Taiwan. In Japan, until very recently, vegetarian fare was VERY hard to come 
by -- aside from some over-priced fancy tofu restaurants often affiliated 
with temples. I was pleasantly surprised in Nara last April when suddenly 
there were restaurants that offered vegetarian choices -- an influence from 
a constant stream of westerners requesting vegetarian food and the sense 
that business was being lost by not catering to that, and not because of any 
Buddhist influence (coming out of Horyu-ji, a major temple just outside 
Nara, the street is lined on both sides with restaurants and only one had a 
single vegetarian offering on its menu; the rest had nothing).

In other words, the sense of what is appropriate to give (and eat) is 


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