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Honourable & Perfectly Self-Enlightened is the Blessed Buddha

The Moderate Speeches - Majjhima Nikāya 55 [I 368-371]:

To Jivaka: Jivaka Sutta


This have I heard: On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Rajagaha in the Mango Grove of Jivaka Komārabhacca. Then Jivaka Komārabhacca went to the Blessed One, and after paying respect to him, he sat down at one side and said to the Blessed One:

Venerable sir I have heard this: They slaughter living beings for the recluse Gotama, the recluse Gotama deliberately eats meat prepared for him from animals killed for his sake... Venerable sir, do those who postulate this actually speak about what has been said & done by the Blessed One and do they not misrepresent him with what is contrary to the facts? Do they really describe what is in accordance with the truth, so that nothing can provide reason for any criticism. Is any of their accusations really correct ? [369]

Jivaka, those who speak thus, do not truthfully speak about what has been said or done by me, but misrepresent me with what is untrue and quite contrary to the actual facts...
Jivaka, I say there are three occasions in which meat should not be eaten; when it is seen, heard or suspected that the living being has been killed for sake of a bhikkhu. I say: Meat should not be eaten on these three occasions.
I say that there are three occasions in which meat may be eaten: when it is not seen, not heard, and not suspected, that the living being has been killed for sake of the bhikkhu, I say: Meat may be eaten on these three occasions.

Please consider this Jivaka: Some bhikkhu lives in dependence upon a certain village or town. He dwells pervading one quarter with a mind permeated with infinite friendliness, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the 4th; so above, below, around and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he dwells pervading this all-encompassing universe with a mind saturated with infinite friendliness, intense, illuminating & immeasurable, without hostility & without any trace of ill will. Then a householder or a householder's son comes to him and invites him for the next day's meal. The bhikkhu accepts, if he likes. When the night is ended, in the morning he dresses, and taking his bowl and outer robe, goes to the house of that householder or householder's son and sits down on a seat made ready. Then the householder or householder's son serves him with good almsfood. He does not think: How good that this lay householder or householder's son serves me with good almsfood! If only a householder or householder's son might serve me with such good almsfood in the future too! He does not think like that. He eats that almsfood without being attached to it, without longing or urging for it, and utterly disgusted with it, he sees the danger in it and understands the escape from it...!!!
What do you think, Jivaka? Would that bhikkhu on that occasion choose thus & aim thus for his own suffering, or for another's suffering, or for the suffering of both ?

No, venerable sir.

Does not that bhikkhu sustain himself with blameless food on that occasion ?

Yes, venerable sir. Now I understand this, venerable sir: Brahma dwells in friendliness. Venerable sir, the Blessed One is my visible witness to that; for the Blessed One indeed also dwells in such infinite friendliness...

Jivaka, any lust, [370] any hate, any confusion whereby ill will might arise have been eliminated by the Tathagata, cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, done away with, so that they are incapable of any future growth nor arising. If what you said referred to that, then I agree with you.

Venerable sir, what I said, referred to exactly that.

Please reconsider this Jivaka: Some bhikkhu lives in dependence upon a certain village or town. He dwells pervading the 1st quarter with a mind permeated with infinite & compassionate pity, ... & with a mind filled with infinite & mutual joy, & with a mind saturated with infinite equanimity, likewise the 2nd, 3rd, & the 4th quarter; as above so below, across, around and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he dwells pervading the all-encompassing universe with a mind saturated with quite infinite pity, joy, & equanimity, intense, illuminating & immeasurable, without hostility & without any trace of ill will. Then a householder or a householder's son comes to him and invites him for the next day's meal. The bhikkhu accepts, if he likes. When the night is ended, in the morning he dresses, and taking his bowl and outer robe, goes to the house of that householder or householder's son and sits down on a seat made ready. Then the householder or householder's son serves him with good almsfood. He does not think: How good that this lay householder or householder's son serves me with good almsfood! If only a householder or householder's son might serve me with such good almsfood in the future too! He does not think like that! He eats that almsfood without being attached to it, without longing or yearning for it, and utterly disgusted with it, he sees the danger in it and understands the escape from it...!!!

What do you think, Jivaka? Would that bhikkhu on that occasion choose thus & aim thus for his own affliction, or for another's affliction, or for the affliction of both ?

No, venerable sir.

Does not that bhikkhu sustain himself with blameless food on that occasion ?

Yes, venerable sir. Now I understand this, venerable sir: Brahma dwells in pity, mutual joy & equanimity. Venerable sir, the Blessed One is my visible witness to that; for the Blessed One indeed also dwells in such infinite pity, mutual joy & equanimity...

Jivaka, any lust any hate, any confusion whereby cruelty or envy or aversion or resentment or discontent might arise, have been eliminated by the Tathagata, cut off at the very root made like a palm stump, done away with, so that they are unable to arise in the future. If what you said referred to that, then I agree with you. [371]

Venerable sir, what I said, referred to exactly that.

If anyone slaughters a living being for sake of the Tathagata or any of his disciples, he thereby creates much demerit in these five instances: When he says: Go and fetch that living sentient being this is the first instance in which he lays up much demerit. When that living being experiences pain and fear on being led along by the neck, this is the second instance in which he lays up much demerit.
When he says: Go and slaughter that living sentient being this is the third instance in which he accumulates much demerit. When that living being experiences pain and panic on being killed, this is the fourth instance in which he lays up much demerit. When he provides the Tathagata or his disciples with such food that is not permitted, which is unsuitable & unacceptable, this is the fifth instance in which he collects much demerit.
Anyone who slaughters a living being for sake of the Tathagata or any of his disciples creates future disadvantage on these five occasions...

When this was spoken, Jivaka Komârabhacca said to the Blessed One:
It is wonderful, Venerable Sir, it is marvellous. The bhikkhus sustain themselves with allowed, acceptable & blameless food... Magnificent, Venerable Sir, Magnificent, Venerable Sir!...
From today let the Blessed One remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for shelter for as long
as this life lasts.


Jivaka later became the Buddha's & the Bhikkhu Sangha's lifelong doctor.