beef eating, Jainism

Robert J. Zydenbos zydenbos at
Sun Feb 16 04:14:34 UTC 1997

Peter Flugel wrote:

pf> No doubt the Jains were always keen vegetarians, but - despite
pf> later symbolic interpretations - there are passages in the oldest
pf> Svetambar scriptures indicating the practice of meat eating among
pf> Jain ascetics, e.g. AS, Samacari 10.

Sorry, but when I see this, I am compelled to beat my usual drum again:
half of Jainism is Digambara, the Digambaras reject the Svetambara
scriptures, and one of the main points which led to there being a split
between Svetambaras and Digambaras (according to the traditional
account) was precisely that the D.s refused to compromise on certain
matters, as the S.s did. These references to meat-eating are one of the
grounds for the D. rejection of the S. tradition (i.e. according to
diehard D.s, the S.s are "bad" Jainas). The story (which is very old
indeed) says that when there was a grave famine in northern India (which
drove some of the Jainas to compromising on their dietary restrictions),
the stauncher section among the renunciants migrated south, under the
leadership of Bhadrabaahu, where there was no famine and hence no need
to compromise. (I have written about this tradition in an article:
"Bhadrabahu and the Sravanabelagola ksetra," in T.G. Kalghatgi (ed.),
Gommateshvara Commemoration Volume.  Sravanabelagola: S.D.J.M.I.
Managing Committee, 1981. Pp. 19-24.)


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