Cut and paste from a Buddhist forum
Of the Sage, The Buddha. Some discussion encouraging the abandonment of taking slain flesh as food for those desiring excellence
Written and compiled by Phurbu Tashi. Translated by Eric Triebelhorn, with helpful suggestion from Ngudop T Burkar.
Comments: While it is not compulsory for a Buddhist to be vegetarian, the essence of Buddhism is great compassion for all beings. It is therefore very important to understand the reasonings and scriptural quotations pertaining to vegetarianism (as stated in the book above). And if one can, one should convert one’s diet to vegetarian at least partially, on certain days of the week, or of certain meals… and if it is possible, a full-time vegetarian diet, in a gradual fashion, with some research, deeper understanding and in a way that is sensitive to the feelings of others, esp family members.
The merits of being vegetarian is very great as one then is not directly contributing to the inhumane captivity, poor feeding and slaughtering of many beings in the most exploitative painful manner that the enterprises are doing… think about it, if we are indirectly giving others so much pain, should we expect to be always free from such pain in future? The evident consequences of cause-and-effect needs only be reflected upon carefully to be known. It is no use for one to give many excuses, tango with the interpretations of precepts/sutras because karma is not played out in a court with defense lawyers, with statutes or constitutions… it is a natural process of the universe that is completely visceral and direct, it does not pay attention to human feelings or emotions. So be careful what you are asking for… because the karmic effects are what you ask for when you plant the causes now.