I want to ask something related to vegetarianism in Buddhism. This question started when I read about vegetarianism according to several schools of Buddhism such as Theravada and Mahayana.
According to Theravada, the Buddha allows Buddhist and monks to consume meat if it is not seen, heard, or suspected as a sentient being is not slaughtered only for the eater. This is stated in Jivaka Sutta, MN 55. There were also monastic guidelines in Theravada stated that Buddhists are prohibited to eat 10 types of meat such as humans, elephants, horses, dogs, snakes, lions, tigers, leopards, bears and hyenas. This is because these animals can be provoked by the smell of the flesh of their own kind, or because eating of such flesh would generate a bad reputation for the Sangha. This makes sense for me but why is cat not included ? So, the monks are not prohibited to eat meat and the rule is also not stated in the Vinaya (227 Patimokkha precepts).
According to Mahayana, the Buddha doesn't allow his followers not to eat any kind of meat. Even if vegetarian food has been touched by meat, it needs to be washed away before it can be eaten. The Mahayana's precepts refer to the Dharmadatu. It means when you eat the flesh of a sentient being, it is the same as you eat the flesh of a single dhatu. For example, when you eat a chicken's flesh, it is the same as you eat the flesh of the chicken's mother.
The 2 schools have made me confused which one is the right one? Why the Buddha's preaching about vegetarianism is not same in Theravada and Mahayana schools. Is the Buddha who preached about those not only Sidharta Gautama? However, because of this confusing, I take the own way or Middle way, that is, not to eat meat too often in order to save the world because of the green house gases.
I hope the Buddhists here can help me to attain bright explanation of vegetarianism in buddhism. I'm sorry if there are misintrepreted sentences from me. Thank you
Sabbe Satta Bhavantu Sukhitatta. I hope all sentient beings can live happily.