Farmers who breed animals and sale to butcher or for food concern is considered as intentional killing and break first precept?

  • There are three door of kamma, Nyom Swapnil. Doing by one self, order, give signs to do, and mental approve.
    – user11235
    Sep 27 '19 at 8:13
  • Thank you Bhante. But I'm confused if either this does or does not break the precept. Need some explanation regarding my question.
    – Swapnil
    Sep 27 '19 at 8:40
  • If there is "just" mental approve (no signs for, no deeds to), no. It's "just" the kamma of killing. Yet he could be "co-killer" which breaks the precept as well, when approached by words "I need cow to kill it, sell it as meat" and approves (later killed) or he may say "Here, a cow, so you may kill it, make meat from it." (and later is killed), Nyom Swapnil.
    – user11235
    Sep 27 '19 at 9:53
  • 1
    Especial as lay person, focus on kamma, not on precepts since in regard of community laws lay people have their own laws.
    – user11235
    Sep 27 '19 at 9:56
  • 1
    This is why the Buddha did not say "no animal holding/meet selling" and trade categorical, but "stay away" as you wouldn't easy stay out and stay remorseless, in ways of livelihood.
    – user11235
    Sep 27 '19 at 10:04

With regard to precepts, one should not kill or encourage others to kill. If one is supplying animals to a slaughterhouse one is encouraging others to kill the animal though one is not participating in the act. So this breaks the present.

The conditions for killing are:

i) The being must be alive.

ii) There must be knowledge that it is a living being.

iii) There must be intention to cause its death.

iv) Action must be taken to cause its death

v) Death must result from such action.

If all these conditions are fulfilled, then the precept has been broken.


When one is trading in livestock, the animals are alive and one knows the animals are indeed alive. One knows the fate of animals sold to the saluted house. Knowing that if one giving an animal for slaughter, by the act of giving one is condemning the animal to its ultimate fate. By doing so one seals the fate of the animal. In the slaughterhouse, the animals are ultimately killed.

Also, Right Livelihood component of the Noble 8 Fold Path says one should avoid 5 trades:

A lay follower should not engage in 5 types of trades. Which five?

(1) Trading in weapons sattha vaṇijjā,

(2) Trading in humans satta vaṇijjā,

(3) Trading in meat maṁsa vaṇijjā,

(4) Trading in intoxicants majja vaṇijjā, and

(5) Trading in poisons visa vaṇijjā.

I guess trading in livestock may be classified under trading in meat as ultimately this is what happens when you sell animals to a slaughterhouse.

One can accept “available meat” (pavatta,maṁsa) which is per killed not specifically with oneself in mind

  • ... satta vaṇijjā if not for been killed or maṁsa vaṇijjā is in meat business.
    – user11235
    Sep 27 '19 at 10:08
  • "Trading in humans satta vaṇijjā", this rendering is obviously because to many follower had been involved in animal trade in Asia as common.
    – user11235
    Sep 27 '19 at 10:09
  • I've another question regarding consuming meet. I do because of health concern and since I'm buying meat which I'm not involved in killing an animal is that too break precept and my bad karma? But I thank that animal because, It could survive me.
    – Swapnil
    Sep 27 '19 at 12:55
  • One can accept “available meat” (pavatta,maṁsa) which is per killed not specifically with oneself in mind. Sep 27 '19 at 13:32
  • Great answer. Yet the Dalai Lama argues that Tibetans had to eat meat in order to survive on the plateau. A complicated issue. .
    – user14119
    Sep 27 '19 at 17:30

Farming is good. Profiting from suffering is bad. Precepts aren't spelled out as black and white hellfire and brimstone. They're a range of spectrums that creates dharma. Killing and abuse is unavoidable. Think of the bacteria in your body you take medicine for or the occasions when a bug gets undertoe. These aren't valued the same way murder is or telling someone to murder for you. I don't recommend the production of beef for meat because of how much it creates waste for the earth. Even if you have happy cows you love very much. If you learn of your in and out flow of evils It's a good sign your making a great progress. I'd consider contemplating what you're doing and why before doing anything extreme. Consider the Koan of the farmer's cattle.

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