What Do Buddhists Eat?

Most Buddhists follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, but some consume meat and fish. Each Buddhism sect has rules regarding what followers can and cannot consume.

Early Buddhist monks depended on almsfood, or food donated by supporters. Anything placed in their proffered bowls was to be accepted with gratitude and eaten, even if unpleasant. This included fish and meat, as long as the animals were not specifically killed for the monks.

The modern sects of Buddhism have different rules regarding diet. While most practice nonviolence, many consume meat. Chinese and Vietnamese sects consume meat, fish and eggs. However, these same sects reject the Five Pungent Spices, which include garlic and onion. Tibetan Buddhists will not consume fish, avoid fowl but may consume red meat. The belief is that the animals from which red meat comes are large and can provide for many people with their sacrifice.