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Do buddhists have to be vegetarian?

No. Many Tibetan Buddhists are nomads, and subsist on meat, cheese and barley products. While they are mindful that killing any sentient being is not a skillful means toward achieving enlightenment, they deduce that it is their karma to live in a place where it is necessary to kill to survive. A Buddhist living in a place where it is possible to spare animals’ lives by being vegetarian could accumulate merit by doing so, but it is not required.

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