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The Origin of Tibetan Monks' Diet:
From the perspective of Buddhism itself, the monks' precepts for liberation come from the Hinayana sutras. When Buddha Shakyamuni lived, he stipulated that monks had to beg for food, and they had to eat whatever the donors gave with no choice. If he says "I can't eat this," it would violate the precepts. So if the donors offer meat, they have to eat it.
The original rule was that monks were not allowed to eat vegetables such as green onions, ginger, and garlic, which have a foul odor. In the Hinayana precepts, it is permitted to eat meat by following the "threefold rule." What is the threefold rule? There are three instances in which meat may be eaten by monks and nuns: when it is not seen, not heard, and not suspected that the living being has been slaughtered for the bhikkhu. Buddhism says that all beings are equal, which not only refers to the equality of all people but the equality of all living things. Killing causes sins, and it's against the Buddhist teachings.
The threefold rule is to avoid the occurrence of the sin to the greatest extent, as the production of three kinds of meat has nothing to do with the one. One just eats the food that's pre-existing and it's a kind of a waste if one doesn't eat it. But there's still controversy over if Buddhists should eat meat or not. Moreover, Tibetan monks mostly eat the meat of large animals, because large animals contain more protein and higher energy. This way, they can avoid killing more small animals and eat fewer animals.They don't eat horse meat, donkey meat, or dog meat, but mostly beef and mutton.
Nowadays, with the improvement of transportation in Tibet, it's become more and more convenient to be vegetarian. The Tibetan eminent monks were very pleased to see that many Han people, even Westerners, have a vegetarian tradition, so they began to vigorously promote Tibetan Buddhists to be vegetarian. In this case, many Tibetan monks no longer eat meat.
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