This paper examines the issue of meet eating in the Theravada tradition. The paper discusses three key textual instances relevant for the issue. The first is the discussion, occurring in the Jivaka sutta of the Majjhima nikaya, between Jivaka, the Buddha Buddha’s physician, and the Buddha. Here the Buddha comes up with the idea of ‘fish and meat purified in three corners’ (ti koti parisuddha maccha mamsa). The discussion shows that it is no harm for a bhikkhu to consume fish or meet provided that he has not seen, heard or suspected that the killing was done specifically for him. The second instance discussed is from the Vinaya where Devadatta, who went against the Buddha, requests the latter to impose vegetarianism on the Buddhist monastic followers. The Buddha rejects this demand and leaves it for disciples themselves to determine. The third instance discussed is the Amagandha sutta of the Sutta nipata in which the Buddha defines what the real ‘foul smell’ is. Subsequently, the paper discusses the issue of meet eating as a general ethical problem from a Theravada point of view. The Buddha’s last meal, allegedly contained pork, is discussed as a part of this discussion. The paper shows that the Buddha has not discussed meet eating as a general problem of ethics; he has discussed it only in the context of monastic discipline. What the Buddha said with regard to his monastic followers who always depended on others for their survival and who were expected to eat merely for the sake of safeguarding their life, may not be applicable for society as a whole. But what the Buddha said by way advising his monastic followers may only be taken as providing a very broad and general approach to the issue. The paper ends by highlighting that the general Theravada attitude toward meet eating is gradual reduction and complete avoidance ultimately.
I. Introduction 78 II. What do the texts say? 79 III. Eating meat in monastic context and beyond 85 IV. The last meal of the Buddha 90 V. Conclusion 93