Buddhism and Food

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Buddhism and food reveals many different answers to the question of the perfect diet. Buddhism is unlike other great religions in having no division between pure and impure foods. The Buddhist diet depends rather more on a general approach to eating and the origin of (or the motives surrounding) the food on your plate.

In common with Hindus, Buddhists believe in reincarnation. In principle, therefore, Buddhists abstain from killing or injuring any living creatures, from which it would logically follow that they should all be vegetarians. Abstention from eating meat is strictly observed by monks and devout laymen, but many Buddhists do eat meat.