The Vaṇijjāsutta:

Pañcimā, bhikkhave, vaṇijjā upāsakena akaraṇīyā. Katamā pañca? Satthavaṇijjā, sattavaṇijjā, maṃsavaṇijjā, majjavaṇijjā, visavaṇijjā — imā kho, bhikkhave, pañca vaṇijjā upāsakena akaraṇīyā”ti.


There are many translations regarding above quoted text, not sure which one needs to be included. But from what I understand, if one raises a pig and kill it in order to sell its meat, this is considered wrong livelihood.

But what if the restaurant owner simply buys meats and cook them and then sell them, is this considered wrong livelihood?


It's not wrong livelihood unless you ask the butcher to kill for you.

  • Just edited the question. Then what does "trading in flesh" mean?
    – B1100
    Apr 23 '18 at 12:02
  • @B1100 I only see edits from yesterday, and the last of your edits deleted "What does trading in flesh mean?"
    – ChrisW
    Apr 23 '18 at 12:19
  • @Sankhakulathantille Just came across this thread. Meat seller normally provide 1kg of meat daily, for example. Someone opens a restaurant, goes to this meat seller and want to buy 5kg of meat. This makes the meat seller places an order to abattoir in order to meet the demand. Does this count as indirectly ask the butcher to kill?
    – Steve
    Jan 30 '19 at 7:25
  • @Steve if the restaurant owner wants the meat seller to kill, it's wrong livelihood. The restaurant owner is simply looking for meat. He is not looking or desiring to kill. If he cannot find any meat, he will tell the customers meat is not available that day. The first precept is not broken there. Feb 1 '19 at 6:04

From Mahayana of the Chinese Lineage, restaurant owner selling dishes with meat is considered not ideal livelihood; to say "wrong livelihood" perhaps too extreme.

The teachings of the Buddha, Prajna Paramita the wisdom is the highest, born from compassion and pure mind. With wisdom the practitioner should understand the spirit of precepts instead of practicing dogmatically, for words are easily hijacked to justify selfish purpose.

To illustrate, say, a restaurant owner is more ideal livelihood than a butcher. Therefore a butcher, in order to sustain himself and his family, he may consider to convert his knowledge and association (about meat) of his current career to perhaps work in or own a restaurant; then from there he can further convert his assets to perhaps work in or own a vegetarian restaurant. This way one accumulated knowledge of different business which added to his wisdom, meanwhile progresses towards the more ideal livelihood aligned with the precepts and teachings.


Wrong livelihood comes from killing animals. If the restauranteur buys meat from the supermarket and cook it , it's not wrong livelihood. However, if the restauranteur goes to a farm to order 500 kg of meat, it's wrong livelihood because the animals will be killed for the restaurant.

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