The Theory Of Hinayana Diet

The Twelve Dhuta Sutra (十二头陀经) is a description of clothing, diet and dwelling for achieving liberation. We shall only refer to the diet portion:

A bhikkhu (比丘) must restrain all of his six senses: sights, hearing, smell, taste, senses and mind when asking for elm. He should not compare or judge if the food obtained is good or bad, or if the quantity is more or less.

Instead this bhikkhu must think that even Lord Buddha at times did not obtain any foods for a day. This is the proper Buddhist attitude in begging for food.

A bhikkhu should watch his liking and that he should beg food in according to a sequence and he should not just beg from the rich. 

A bhikkhu must foster such a mindset: "Eating is a time wasting activity so I should minimize the time in eating and concentrate more on practicing dharma activity."

Once a bhikkhu obtained some food, he should first divide them into 3 portions: one portion should be donated to the poor, one portion for the animals and the last portion for himself.

A bhikkhu must not seek other beverages after his meal. If a bhikkhu still longed for drinks after he has filled his stomach, then he shall not understand the gist of Buddha dharma.

A bhikkhu must not choose if he likes to eat vegetables or meat, instead he should consume what is given to him. Instead, he should control his diet and the quantity of food he consumed.

In Hinayana Buddhism, all bhikkhu must beg for food and they are allowed to eat meat under such a circumstances:

1. He must not witness the animal being slaughtered
2. He must not have heard the sounds of animal during slaughtering
3. The animal is not slaughtered specifically for him
4. The animal must not died of thurst or hunger
5. The animal must not have been eaten by other animals
6. The meat must not be left too long

Also, only 5 types of clean meat should be consumed:

1. The meat is cooked
2. The meat is cleaned with bones and skin removed
3. The claws or shell been removed
4. The good meat left over by birds
5. The animal must not be for propegation purposes (不中种净)
Maitreya also thought us how to control diet in Yogacarabhumi Sastra ( 瑜伽师地论).