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In this Sutta Buddha says there are three conditions meat can be eaten

  1. When the animals are not seen to have been killed for oneself
  2. When someone is not told by other people that an animal has been killed for himself
  3. When one does not suspect an animal has been killed for oneself

What if someone heard an animal was screaming when that particular meat is prepared, is this included in three conditions above or not?

  • 2nd condition is if you didn't hear the animal being killed – Sankha Kulathantille Jun 5 '16 at 2:30
  • Well, it can be interpreted that way too hence the question. – B1100 Jun 6 '16 at 9:23
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Based on the third point, I would give the benefit of the doubt and avoid eating that meat. This is prevalent in bhikku vinaya too, if you are in reasonable doubt; refrain.

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I agree with Dulan's reply. We should heed what “Leave that which makes you doubt” means - that is to refrain from that which you are uncertain. The following example of a "Analogy of Serial Killer" will show you how we can knowingly or unknowingly be involved in 'killing' kamma.

Suppose we have a serial killer in a certain city who has raped and killed many women so that no woman dares to venture outdoor at night. The whole city is in uproar and the citizens demand that the authorities do their duty and catch the killer. So the police, after several months of pains taking effort, finally nabs the culprit. After this is a long trial and then the judge passes the death sentence on him. On the appointed day the killer is led to the execution platform where the executioner pulls the lever to end the killer’s life.

All this now leads to the question: “Who is involved in the evil kamma of killing a human being (i.e. the serial killer)?” According to the law of kamma-vipaka, the executioner bears the heaviest offence because he intentionally carried out the killing. Next would be the judge for pronouncing the death sentence. These two persons are directly involved in the killing kamma of the execution of the serial killer. The police are only indirectly involved and not responsible for the execution. How about the citizens? Ultimately the serial killer was executed to protect the citizens, i.e. he was executed for the sake of the citizens, or the citizens were the main beneficiaries of the execution. So are the citizens responsible for the killing kamma involved? No, because they did not ask for the execution of the serial killer. But they could be if they demanded his execution. The scenario is similar to the slaughter of animals for food.

The persons who slaughter the animals bear the heaviest killing kamma. The persons who breed animals for slaughter are also involved in the killing kamma. They are like the judge who condemned the man to be executed. But the people who buy the meat of animals already slaughtered are not involved in the kamma of killing even though, like the citizens of the city above, they are the main beneficiaries. But if someone orders a live animal to be slaughtered for its meat, then killing kamma is involved for him.

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The third point of three conditions is "Suspecting of killing an animal for oneself." Therefore hearing screams of an animal of being killed will definitely give a person doubtful thoughts about the purpose of the killing. Whether the animal is killed for his own meal or not. If in doubt the person should not eat the prepared meal.

  • What about if someone lives near slaughter house, they might hear the cry of animals most of the time but the animal maybe killed not specially for him. – B1100 Jun 6 '16 at 9:26
  • The person nearby a slaughter house should not buy meat from the slaughter house itself. Because he will be conscious about the killings and will be guilty of himself. And eventually get bad karma for having thoughts of guilt. – Dulan Chiranthaka Jun 12 '17 at 6:18
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Meat eating is prevalent in most Buddhist communities because of interpretation. Interpretation is a matter of convenience. So interpret it whatever you deem fit. If meat is the only thing you can survive on eat meat otherwise be vegetarian. Being vegetarian has its advantage that it helps in meditation but if you can digest meat easily and it is not a hindrance in meditation I guess you can have it. Be objective and use your own experience which can only be only obtained through experimentation. If you go by books and interpretation it will be impossible to come to any conclusions.

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