Contrary to popular belief, and despite the difficulties of giving up meat in countries like Tibet (due to lack of plant food available), there are many examples of Tibetan Buddhist masters who advocated strict vegetarianism. One recent article, ‘The Hidden Vegetarians of Tibet‘ by Geoffrey Barstow (author of ‘Food of Sinful Demons: Meat, Vegetarianism, and the Limits of Buddhism in Tibet’) identifies more than 110 individual teachers who made the decision to give up meat in Tibet, prior to the Chinese invasion in the 1950s. In 2018, Chinese-Tibetan scholar, Nyingjam Gyal, also wrote an article The Sectarian Formation of Tibetan Vegetarianism: Identifying the First Polemic on Meat-eating in Tibetan Literature, regarding vegetarianism in Tibet.
Inspired by these examples, and the recent teachings of HH 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje on vegetarianism in Buddhism, I am launching a new page on the website, dedicated to relevant research, texts and Tibetan Buddhists who advocate vegetarianism and animal rights.
There are also short profiles of well-known Tibetan Buddhist vegetarians, past and present, such as Jetsun Milarepa, Kunkhyen Dolpopa, Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo, 1st Sangye Nyenpa, 4th Karmapa, 8th Karmapa and contemporary examples such as Chadral Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro, 17th Karmapa and Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. Although there are many more Tibetan Buddhist individuals that are vegetarians, I have only listed those who have written (or spoken) extensively about vegetarianism and/or animal welfare.
See new page/resource here: https://dakinitranslations.com/buddhist-vegetarianism/
May this new online resource be of benefit in promoting and sharing compassion, kindness and respect for animals and not killing them for their flesh and produce.
Adele Tomlin, 18th March 2021.