Allow me to give the exemple of meat eating for this question: In the suttas we can clearly see (many times) that eating meat is accepted in Buddhism under a few conditions. We cannot kill, ask someone to kill or hear/see the animak being killed.

In addition some meats should not me eaten (human flesh, elephants etc...), but most of the meat we eat today is clearly accepted in the suttas, still there are people that look down on you if you eat meat, mixing personal views with Buddhism.

There is a sort of "main stream" Buddhism with things clearly not coming from the suttas, in this case, should we correct them? Or should we respect other peoples view?

  • What is the harm in pointing out the passages in the suttas? – user382 Aug 12 '14 at 1:52
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    Mainstream where? Which sutras? Vegetarianism and it's support in sutra is a settled matter in Chinese Buddhism. Are you complaining about observant vegetarian Theravada Buddhists? Is there a serious problem about vegetarian Theravada Buddhists making you feel bad about your moral choices? – MatthewMartin Aug 12 '14 at 2:15
  • I think you should correct them pointing out this is the view from xxx sect and yyy linage. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Aug 12 '14 at 4:15
  • Ideally this it a question for the Meta site. Can somebody move it there? – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Aug 12 '14 at 5:20
  • Since this is not particularly targeted at any sect different view should be able to core exist but you should correct it based on your belief system. People from other belief systems should be discouraged to downvote or do something similar as this will lead to one sect not respecting and downvoting other sects. They are welcome to provide an alternative answer. Also the values system should take precedence over SO/SE rules and norms. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Aug 12 '14 at 5:24

Those rules you have mentioned are only for monks. They do not apply to lay people. Lay people can consume any type of meat even if the animal is killed for them, as long as they don't break the 1st precept.

Yes, you can try to explain to people who look down on you, saying that being vegetarian is merely a food preference in Theravada Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism seem to recommend a vegetarian diet by default. But that is not an excuse to look down on someone. You might also come across some confused Theravada Buddhists who follow vegetarianism like a religion, even putting it above what's said in the Suttas. Such practices usually fall under Silabbata-paramsa. One gives up on that when one becomes Sotapanna. Trying to correct them might push them away from the Dhamma. You can always practice Upekkha alongside Metta in such cases.

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For this question you can get clear answers by reading Kalama Sutta. In Kalama Sutta The Buddha said;

'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.'

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