The karma of eating meat

13 June 2011 - 4:47pm 1 Comment


Is there any real difference in the manner we consume meat? What I mean is that when we consume meat, the process is not always the same. There are three scenarios that can arise:

  1. killing for one’s meat,
  2. asking for one’s meat to be killed, for example choosing seafood from fish tanks
  3. buying meat from a supermarket

Although it may not be as straightforward as it sounds, are there any differences between the three points? I am referring to the negative karma that is created from the consumption of the meat in different scenarios.


In the terms of the heaviness of the karma, your question actually already ‘ranks’ severity – the first point is the most severe, followed by the second and third points respectively. Let me explain:

  1. The first point is the most severe because the consumer actually kills a sentient being in order to consume their flesh. That is an act that has to be done consciously; that is, one is motivated and has the intent to kill. Therefore the karma of consuming meat acquired in this way is very heavy, and gets even more severe if the killing is done with a lot of hatred and anger
  2. Karmically-speaking, the second point is heavier than the third because the consumer directly orders for the animal to be killed, as a direct result of their craving for meat. It is not very compassionate to ask for another being to be killed, in order to satisfy your hunger for meat
  3. In the third point, the karma is less because the consumer never directly asked for the animal to be killed, and instead bought it from the supermarket. In creating such a demand, and with the supermarket working to fulfil this need, the consumer’s action thus accrues the karma of indirect killing

Thus, as you can see, the karma of direct killing is much heavier than the karma of indirect killing. However, karma is still accrued from eating meat because an animal has to suffer and die.

There are many people who turn a blind eye to the way in which the food they consume arrives on their plate. This lack of awareness and lack of consciousness about the way in which animals are killed to provide consumers with meat means that for them, negative karma will always be accumulated.

One Response to The karma of eating meat

  1. Thanks a lot for explaining but I don’t really understand the 3rd points.For the 3rd case we don’t really kill or order the animals to be kill and the market will still continue with the killing in order to earn more money even if we are not buying the meat.If you can explain more details to me about the third case I’ll really appreciate it.Thank you.