Amagandha Sutta SN 2.2


3.4.3 We are not always what we eat. One of the key words in early Buddhism regarding whole- some eating is “moderation” (mattaññutā) [3.4.1]. In the Mahā Sīhanāda Sutta (M 12), the Bodhisattva experiences that a body deprived of proper food will not be able to progress spiritually.

Another key word in the practice of sensible eating, especially when vegetarian food is unavailable or difficult to obtain, is to moderately eat “available meat” (pavattamaṁsa), which, according to the Jīvaka Sutta (M 55) refers to meat that is pure in three ways, that is, we have not seen, heard or suspected that it has been prepared especially for us.

In short, we do not ask for such a food. In conclusion, it should be said that a non-meat diet is not in itself a spiritual practice, but which entails many other wholesome qualities. The Buddhist training is the avoidance of taking life or causing pain to others (including oneself). We should create the conditions wherein a healthy non-meat or vegetarian life-style wherever or whenever possible. It is not a perfect world, even growing plants entails harming some kinds of living beings. As such, we have to consider growing and harvesting our food in a manner that respect living beings.

The Amagandha Discourse
Sn 14/2.2/42-45

1 Millet, tear grass seed, panicum,
Leafy vegetable, storage root, and creeper fruit— Good people who take them, justly obtained, Do not speak falsehood for the sake of sense-pleasures.

2 Eating what is well-made, well-done,
Given by others, piously adorned, exquisite,
Enjoying a meal of boiled rice,
That person, O Kassapa, partakes of āmagandha [tainted fare].

3 “Amagandha is not proper for me!”
So, indeed, you say, O Kinsman of Brahma, While enjoying a meal of boiled rice Well-dressed with bird’s meat. I ask you regarding this matter, O Kassapa: What, to you, is the flavour of āmagandha?
Kassapa Buddha:

4 Harming living beings, killing, cutting and binding, Stealing, lying, deception and fraud, Useless studies, fraternizing with the wives of others— This is āmagandha, not the taking of meat.

5 Those persons here, totally unrestrained regarding sense-pleasures, Greedy for flavours, mixed with the impure, Holding the view that nothing exists, inconsistent, obscurantist— This is āmagandha, not the taking of meat.

6 Whosoever are crude, cruel, back-biting,

Harming friends, heartless, arrogant, Grasping by nature, and do not give to anyone— This is āmagandha, not the taking of meat.

7 Anger, intoxication [with pride], obstinacy, hostility, Deceit, envy, and self-glorification, Arrogance, and intimacy with the evil—
This is āmagandha, not the taking of meat.

8 Whoever are habitually evil, repudiating debts, slandering, Untrue in dealings, dissembling here, The lowest of people who commit evil here-
This is āmagandha, not the taking of meat.

9 Those people here, totally unrestrained towards living beings,
Taking the property of others, intent on oppression,
Evil by nature, cruel in deed, harsh in speech, regardless of others—This is āmagandha, not the taking of meat.

10 Those beings who are very greedy,harm fully hostile, Always bent on evil: having departed, they go to darkness, Falling headlong into hell—
This is āmagandha, not the taking of meat.
The true recluse

11 Neither meat nor fish,nor fasting,
Nor nakedness, nor a shaven head, matted hair nor dirt,
Nor donning rough garments of animal skin, nor tending the sacred fire, Nor even the many penances done in the world for eternal life,
Nor mantras and offerings, nor sacrifices and seasonal feasts,
Will purify a mortal who has not crossed beyond spiritual doubt.

12 Guarded over the sense-avenues,subduing the senses, let one wander, Firm in the Dharma, delighting in uprightness and gentleness.
Gone beyond the bonds [of the senses], having left behind all suffering, The [self-reliant] wise do not cling to what is seen or heard.