Tag Archive | Buddha

Udamwara: Statements from the Sutra

I just found this text about protecting the lives of helpless beings by Geshe Sopa.  It is truly a wonderful composition with clear quotations and reasonings.  I recommend all dear readers to read through it whether you are vegetarians or not.  You can also share it with others.  It is so important for people nowadays to correct their wrong views, especially those views relating to the Vajrayana practices.  Even full vegetarians may sometimes have some small doubts and misunderstandings so it is good to clarify them with such an article.


(There are 3 sections, the questions and answers page is also very useful!)

Some interesting quotations with short comments:

(Comments: Some defendants of meat-eating say that when the meat is pure, Buddha permits meat-eating.  The three aspects that define pure meat are that “not having seen, not having heard and not suspecting” that a being “has been killed for one’s own consumption”.  However, here it is stated by Geshe Sopa with a quotation from the Vinaya that if a being is killed for consumption by anyone, it is considered impure.  That is to say, meat can be considered pure when the animal has died from natural causes, not when it has been intentionally killed.)

“The fact that the meat of an animal that has been slaughtered for oneself and the meat of an animal that has been slaughtered for others is equally impure according to the three aspects or equally inappropriate for eating on the three counts is thus made clear by the Vinaya sutra Foundations of Medicine.

Similarly, the threefold rejection of meat as impure set out in the 14 major infractions and 25 rules of conduct of the Kalachakra system has to be applied to meat of animals that have been slaughtered for either oneself or others as impure according to those three aspects. The Kalachakra is a Dharma system comprising all the points of sutra and tantra in their entirety and is therefore in agreement with statements from the Vinaya.”


Some people who fail to distinguish between intentional and unintentional actions put forward the argument that if it is inappropriate to eat meat, it would be equally inappropriate to eat rice. However, this is not the same because to give up eating meat and reduce the number of animals being killed is an act that is well within the bounds of possibility. During the cultivation of rice and vegetables there is no intention to kill beings while planting the seedlings, irrigating the fields etc. However, since there is no way of preventing insects being killed unintentionally – as this is not currently within the bounds of possibility – it is still not the same as killing on purpose. The answer to a question posed by Manjushri may serve to clear up any doubts on the part of those critics who, based on this kind of comparison, conclude that one would consequently have to do the impossible. In the Arya Angulimala Sutra Manjushri asks whether or not it is appropriate to dig up the soil and sand, till fields and cook one’s food because of unclean water. The answer is as follows: Manjushri says:

“Digging and tilling is not appropriate. Food that has been cooked because the water was contaminated should not be accepted–in this situation, monks have to act accordingly.” Thereupon the Buddha said: “That is what is called the worldly view. If there are upasakas, stick to clean water and food. Wherever there are upasakas, there should be no digging and tilling. Where there are no upasakas, what should even buddhas do there? There are also creatures in the grass, as well as in the water and in the air. If it were like this, would there not be negative karmic effects from altogether pure actions? The question as to how you purify something that cannot be completely pure while living in the world and without giving up the samsaric body is a futile question.

The main significance of this sutra passage is that if there is a chance of giving up harming other beings, you should always make use of it. On the other hand, actions committed where there is no such possibility are not altogether free from negative karmic consequences, but, due to the absence of harmful intent, those consequences are far weaker.

(Comments: This is oft-heard. Some people like to say that since even planting vegetables involves killing many small insects, so what is the difference between a vegetarian and a meat-eater?  Here, Geshe Sopa is saying that the difference is in the intention and avoidability of the action.  In my humble opinion, this type of reasoning is just an excuse.  By this reasoning, since one is already inevitably consuming small amounts of chemicals and toxins in one’s daily consumption of food, does that mean one should just go ahead and take a full dose of arsenic or some other toxin to top it off?  If you have some sense in you, you will see the flaw in such logic.)


From the Lankavatara sutra:

The arya path of liberation
is thus veiled through the fault of attachment.
Meat, alcohol, onions and garlic cause
obstacles on the arya path.
In the future proponents of ignorance,
mitigate eating meat and claim:
” As meat is appropriate, free from evil,
the buddhas have permitted”

(Comments : This prophecy is surely coming true)


Lord Buddha Shakyamuni said this in the Lankavatara Sutra:

All the Buddha Bhagavans,
denounce it in all ten directions:
One devours the other, falling
among the predators after death,
always born among the lowly,
smelly ones and idiots,
frequently among the outlaws:
hunters, butchers, cannibals
and among ghosts in human form,
among the various eaters of meat: as
in the wombs of cat rakshasas.

In the Elephant and the Great Cloud,
in the Angulimala Sutra,
in the Lankavatara Sutra,
I’ve strongly rejected eating meat.
buddhas, bodhisattvas and the
shravakas revile it all and
those who impudently eat meat
will always be reborn as fools.


“I have said again and again that it is better to set up substances like nectar pills, blessed water or black tea. And if some people claim that, according to anuttarayoga tantra, you have to take meat, the only reason that may be quoted in support of this claim is the statement about the acceptance of the five kinds of meat and the five kinds of nectar. There is no other reason. Quite apart from the fact that this refers to a very high level of realisation, if indeed you postulate the need for eating meat based on the statement about accepting the five kinds of meat and the five kinds of nectar, then you should be consistent and insist on the need for eating horse meat, dog meat as well as human flesh, drinking urine and eating feces.

~His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama

(Comments : This is in reference to the Tsok offerings in Vajrayana practice)


Question: Don’t you need some meat for the sacrificial tsog ceremony? What do you do about that?

Answer: In Dza Patrul Rimpoche’s lam-rim text it says: To that end it is appropriate to use meat from an animal that has not been slaughtered for eating. However, if you introduce meat that does not conform to this requirement into the mandala of offerings, all the deities and wisdom beings will vanish, that is what Gampopa said.

In the autobiography of the siddha Kunleg you will find the statement: “Now, when you make offerings, you should bear in mind the following points concerning the recipient of the offerings, the offerings themselves and your motivation: Each of the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) is fit as a recipient for the offering. The object to be offered should not be associated with theft, violent appropriation or killing and the motivation should consist in the aspiration to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. Offerings made in a different manner with masses of meat and alcohol are found among the earlier non-Buddhist religions, but not among Buddhists.”


If you really make offerings of meat and blood, no deities and wisdom beings will come. You will only attract ghosts. As they feast on such offerings, they may become friendly and bring you short term benefits. If you then fail to continue giving them meat and blood, they will harm you. However, if you go on making offerings of meat and blood, you will be reborn among such ghosts or you will find yourself among wolves and birds of prey. That is what Patrul Rimpoche said about this topic.


Question: Monks and nuns have to accept meat that benefactors give them, don’t they? After all it says that you should eat whatever you are given when going on your alms round.

Answer: In Panchen Deleg Nyima’s commentary on the Vinaya it says: If a monk is offered meat dishes by a donor on his alms-round, he should ask whether or not the meat has been obtained through killing. And in the commentary on the Vinaya called Rays of the Sun: “You have to ask whether or not the offering has been obtained through an action against the rules.” Numerous Vinaya scriptures point out that you should make sure the gift that is being offered does not contradict the rules of monastic discipline. They also mention 20 types of meat and other foods that must not be eaten at all, even though the creature may have died a natural death, for instance human flesh, the meat of monkeys or that of vultures.

Therefore, if in doubt about the origin of meat, you should definitely ask and decline anything inappropriate. Even if the gift is appropriate, it is important to ask whether eating or drinking it may have any drawbacks or deleterious effects on one’s health, for instance, if you are diabetic, whether it contains any sugar etc.

Apart from that, offering food containing meat constitutes impure giving: In the Sutra to Rishi Gyepa Buddha Shakyamuni taught about how the 32 types of impure giving should be abandoned and how to perform correct giving. Impure giving is divided into four categories: impure with regard to the motivation, the object given, the recipient of the gift and the manner in which it is given. In this sutra, giving meat originating from killed animals, alcohol offered to the careless, as well as weapons, poison and the like are enumerated as cases of impure giving with regard to the object.


Two points should be considered over and over again: 1) the difficulty of redressing the negative action of taking the life and meat of others and 2) the fact that this is not a law that has been decreed by anyone, but a natural process of cause and effect. It really is of great benefit to realise this and reach a point where, moved by compassion, one gives up eating meat, liberates beings and saves their lives.


In the Kalachakra tantra and its elaborate commentary it says that if we consider the harmful actions committed by the butcher and the meat eater, those committed by the meat eater are worse. Some people hold that while the butcher acts harmfully, the meat eater does not. However, in the Lankavatara Sutra it says:

He who murders beings for money’s sake and
he who buys their meat for money—both
have the genuine link between doer and deed.

If the buyer were without vice, then no merit would be accrued by the sponsor of stupas, scriptures or holy images either, as they are also produced by someone else.

A sponsor of stupas accumulates great merit, although he does not actually build them with his own hands. Likewise, a meat eater accumulates great negativity, although he does not normally slaughter the animals he eats. In fact, there are hardly any snuff sellers left in Europe, because hardly anyone takes snuff these days. Similarly, there would be no meat trade if there were no meat eaters.

(Comments:  Some people think that buying the meat to eat is okay as they did not participate in killing the animal.  This is wrong.  As it is established above.)


However, it is not enough simply to meditate on great compassion. It is also necessary to put it into practice by actually applying it. It is of utmost benefit to see, hear and consider how cows, buffalos, goats, sheep, chicken, fish, yaks, horses and other animals undergo unbearable suffering while being slaughtered for human consumption and thereupon to avoid eating slaughtered meat out of compassion. As compassion is actually being applied, this application is of the greatest benefit for the purification of negativities accumulated previously. This can be understood from the story of Noble Asanga and other reports.

Compassion may also be put into practice directly by purchasing animals meant for slaughter and saving their lives. The effect of this action will help extend one’s own life span and increasingly bring about happiness as well as purify negativities. It is also taught that nursing the sick, giving medicine and the like, too, are actions resulting in a long life span.

Beautiful animals such as parrots and other birds are not killed but locked up in cages. You can observe that some will kill themselves trying to get out of their prisons. Therefore it is also an act of compassion to buy them and release them. Such an action will result in the attainment of lasting freedom and a happy life. Even as a human you thus accumulate the karma for miraculous powers such as flying and so forth. There are even reports of cases where miraculous powers were achieved in this very life.


Incidentally, castrating horses, cattle, goats, sheep, dogs or cats—cutting their male or female energy channels is also clearly presented as a negative action in Buddhist scriptures. If you save the animals out of compassion, the effect of that wholesome action may ripen in this life. In this regard the commentary on chapter four of the Treasury of Knowledge relates the following story from a sutra concerning a eunuch, the body guard of some King Kanika’s spouse. At the time it was customary to pay eunuchs a big salary for guarding the queen while the king was away at war. This eunuch had thus grown rich guarding the queen over many years. At some point his eye-sight deteriorated, he turned blind, could not guard the queen anymore and returned to his native town, a rich man. One day, when out walking he heard the loud lowing of a buffalo. “What are they doing to the buffalo?” he asked. His assistant told him that they were castrating it. The blind man felt such strong compassion imagining how the buffalo was now to undergo the same suffering he had undergone—for he obviously knew it from experience—that he bought some 500 buffalos to save them from this misfortune. This action undid his castration and also had the effect that he could see again with both eyes as before. This story is quoted in the commentary on the Treasury of Knowledge to illustrate the accumulation of karma ripening in the same life. The action described in it is also a way of applying compassion.

To deprive beings of their male or female organs is a cruel negative action. Its effect ripens in the form of healthy energy channels, energies and body essences lacking in this life or a future one. In one of the tantras, Buddha says:

As you yourself do not want to be harmed, likewise, others do not want to suffer harm. Therefore, don’t harm others.


People wishing to make offerings are not allowed to offer the ordained meat nor alcohol—such offerings are also mentioned explicitly in the sutras among the 32 impure offerings.

Venerable Milarepa said:  This way of eating meat food—famished, without thinking of future lives for even a second… When I see these people I get frightened. Rechungpa, are you mindful of the holy Dharma?

If you do not just pay lip service to the existence of future lives and karmic causes and effects but rather consider, from the bottom of your heart, how these hold together, you may develop enthusiasm about giving up meat.


Final comments:

All in all, I recommend this article not to offend the meat-eaters but to clarify the views.  If we have right views yet continue to commit the negativity, it is not as serious as having a wrong view and committing the negativity.  In the Sutra “Questions of the Naga Kings of the Ocean” , Lord Buddha taught that if one has the right view concerning the relationships of karma, but you degenerate in one of the other elements of a pure religious life (as a monastic), the result will be as a naga.  But if you hold wrong view concerning karma, you will be born in a far worse lower realm.  Therefore even holding the right view with certainty and clarifying all doubts will have immeasurable benefit for beings.  With all due respects, please read this article with an open mind!!

Buddha Name for Cleansing Killing Karma

I know i haven’t been writing here on this blog for a long time.  The last post was like in May?  Well, I have been doing lots of things and when i look back over the last few months, i feel quite satisfied.  When we receive a precious human life, one of the greatest value we have is our time, we need to constantly evaluate and make sure that we are using that in a really positive way either to benefit others, or to progress spiritually so as to be of greater benefit to others in the future… There is no other purpose really for life.  It is THAT simple, although many people want it to be flashy and dramatic.

Our human lives pass in a whirl and we don’t really even know what’s hit us in that so many years because we are always caught up in the cycle of activities but seldom step back, slow down and reflect deeply.  Our plans, ambitions and dreams are so important and pressing as if we are little Godlings who have a long time to go and the world’s like a huge playground of possibilities… but actually are we or our plans or our lives really such a big deal in the whole scheme of things or in the universe? Even the greatest people in history fade in the passage of time whether they are Buddhas, great scientists, kings or magnates…  To be sure, in our little worlds, we seem a big deal. But really, think clearly and you can realize alot and perhaps wake up to the impermanence of life and make good use of it to benefit others… instead of pursuing short-term self-oriented goals.

This is not just a pessimistic life-denying view, it is just to make us deflate our egoistic ideals and be realistic and then, from there, work on what really matters in an organic, solid and healthy way that will bring true lasting joy and satisfaction.  Anyway, life passes quickly, time is always running out, today will not come again and we are growing older and nearer to our death second by second and i hope everyone will be taking many opportunities to reevaluate and reflect on their own lives and see if it is going in the direction that will really  bring lasting positive effects on both yourself and others…  this is quite important!

Back to main topic, I came across another Buddha Epithet or name that is for purifying the negative karma of killing. If one has done things like businesses involving the killing / rendering great suffering to animals(/humans?), abortions, killed alot of insects while gardening, destroyed pests, bee-hives, snakes, hunted, done fishing, eaten sea-food or meat, ordered animals killed at the market, etc etc etc. even if one has participated indirectly in it, rejoiced in it, caused others to do it etc, you will also have this killing karma!  I would like to caution you that any such harm done to others is going to (1) create killing karma which is one of the most heavy/ severe karma of the 10 non-virtues as the main thing any living being values above all is its own life;  (2) create karmic debts with that animal which you will have to repay in the future probably in a more suffering circumstance.  The moon can drop out of the sky and fire can become cold but karma will never fail (remember this!).

Of course people who are habituated to doing such acts are hardly going to listen to some ‘fool on the internet’ raving about karmic effects. In the future, if i have time, i will share some stories about karma that i have read or heard or experienced.  Nowadays many people intellectualise karma away, preferring to concentrate on higher Dharma practices like emptiness, mindfulness and Mahamudra or the like,  actually karma is extremely straight-forward and merciless. Even if you are seeking the ultimate liberation, it is important to clean up your karma.  Especially killing karma which creates many obstacles to one who is trying to attain liberation.  And just in case you do not get liberated in this life, it is also wonderful if you are able to purify your negative karma.  That is called ‘learning to walk before running.’

All the illnesses, surgeries, cancer, comas, deathbed sufferings, accidents, tsunamis, natural disasters, sudden deaths are manifestations of  collective or personal karma.  And it is usually due to heavy killing karma. There are many cases in the Buddhist community where people get serious incurable illnesses and they resolve it through releasing lives or methods of purification.  This tells you alot about the real causes of sicknesses and such sufferings.  Therefore if one has done alot of killing karma in this life, it is very important to really confess and purify.  This Buddha name (stated below) is one way of doing so, and one can also do Vajrasattva.  In another post, i posted a text of a collection of about 30 Buddha Epithets, among them, Number 6 Buddha Epithet is also for killing karma.  One can do these and really from the bottom of your heart repent.  I think it is very crucial to do this.

We are seeing a rise of sicknesses and all kinds of suffering in this world and western medicine (although for the best intention?) is compounding the suffering through its methods quite frequently.  It has been said that such developments in western medicine is also due to the collective karma of beings in this time. In the past,  people could die quite peacefully at home, now people have to go through intubations, surgical incisions, electric-shock resuscitation, life-support machine, drugs and all kinds of methods in an environment that increases their suffering and fear at the point of death.  According to one great master, this is all related to killing karma.  So the effects of our spiritual practice or therelackof will also show up quite evidently and physically in our last days… (benefits of spiritual practice is not just all in the mind or for the future lives).

(Note: Some people will argue here that some great spiritual masters die with cancer or whatnot… firstly, i cannot speak for these spiritually advanced beings as they may have been taking on the negative karma of their students like the case of the 16th Karmapa who manifested several different unrelated illnesses consecutively on his deathbed by taking on the karma of sentient beings.  Secondly, their karma ripening may be the remnants of all their karma before they attain full enlightenment. Thirdly, even though they have sicknesses, due to their advanced state, they are free from suffering and have full mastery of their death, that cannot be said for ordinary people like most of us…)

Also, when we are nearing death, our merit is ebbing and it is at that point when many karmic creditors will manifest and seek their debts.  (Note: I have heard of such cases so frequently that it has become quite commonplace.) At such points, if one has not purified sufficiently, it may not be easy to recourse to whatever spiritual practice one has done in one’s life or seek spiritual assistance from others as you may have obstacles from your creditors and one’s mind will be completely disoriented, can one then maintain the awareness necessary for a good rebirth and give up all attachments then?  It only requires careful thought to know the answer…  So it is important now to watch our karma and do more purification. Eg. by going vegetarian often or full-time and by doing purification through the many methods available. If you want a good transition, it is all UP TO YOU!  If you only focused on the philosophy of Dharma, meditation, Mahamudra and Dzogchen and so forth but neglect the karma aspect, you may find all your efforts frustrated at one fell blow at the point of death because of the karmic situation ripening (unless of course you are one of those with stablised liberating realisations 🙂 )…

Also, for those people who have not done any obvious killing in this life.  It does not mean that you do not need to purify killing karma.  We take medicine to kill the worms in our body, we walk around and step on little insects without knowing. We boil water, eat foodstuff that contain substances obtained at the price of some animals’ lives. We wear animal skins, use animal products… may have rejoiced when someone (eg Osama) was killed, we may have unknowingly made some remark that caused or encouraged others to kill etc etc etc.  Do you think you need to purify?  I do quite think so… a wise person would not overlook the smallest karma but make all efforts to purify any possible negative karma. And I’m only talking about this life.  What about your past lives?

I did not write all of this to put a scare in anyone but the situation is in my opinion like that.  Many people are not aware of the severity of killing karma nowadays, even with the many natural disasters, people are just pointing fingers at environmental factors but not really acknowledging the root causes in terms of karma. Many teachers have given warnings on the need to curb the killing and purify killing karma. I feel that this is quite an URGENT issue.  It is also my responsibility to help point out what i feel will be very helpful to readers even if you may not like what i’m saying.

Buddha Name for Purifying Karma from Taking Lives

By reciting this Buddha name frequently, one can purify the negative karma of killing.


(You do not need transmission for reciting the names of Buddhas. So you can go ahead and recite immediately)

p/s : Through practices like Vajrasattva, chanting Buddha names, prostrations and fasting practices based on Chenrezig etc. one can purify the negative karma and obscurations related to killing.  However, that is not to say definitely that the karmic debt with the particular victim is resolved.  It varies with different situations and can be quite complicated.  In particular, for cases of abortions, it is still important to find a qualified master who can help the soul of the deceased apart from one’s own efforts in purification.  In short, it is better to abstain from creating killing karma than to resolve it.  Resolution may not be a simple affair.

Nyala Padma Dudul – Buddha Epithets

A wonderful practice of reciting Buddha names for purifying various kinds of karmas we are all so prone to commit nowadays… (right click to download pdf below)

Buddha’s Names _ Pema Duddul

Note : There has been a slight change due to an error discovered by translator:
If you have printed out, just make the slight change on page 3, Buddha Epithet Nbr 14,

(Change just the word in red)

(NEW Errata Update on 6th May 2011)

Epithet No. 3


The file link here has been updated!

(New Update on 3 Nov 2011)

Epithet No. 3 (third line)


the “R” was removed to facilitate pronunciation. “SRUNG” is simply pronounced as “SUNG”
other minor changes are in the Tibetan characters… (kindly pointed out by a reader…)

The file has been updated!