prepared which the Blessed One and the Sangha of bhikkhus ate.
Note the Paali discourses refer to the followers of the Jain religion as the Niganthas, after their leader Nigantha Naataputta (Nigantha, the son of Naata). These days Jains call this person "Mahaa viira", a title which means great hero. Hindus also sometimes use the title of Mahaa viir to refer to the deity Hanuman, though apart from current use of the title Mahaa viir, I am not aware of any other connection between Nigantha Naataputta and Hanuman the deity.
Then the Blessed One gave Siiha the general a progressive discourse, that is, a talk on giving, virtuous behavior, and heaven; he revealed the danger, degradation, and defilement of sensual pleasures and the benefit of renunciation. When the Blessed One knew that Siiha's mind was pliant, softened, rid of hindrances, uplifted, and confident, he revealed that Dhamma teaching special to the Buddhas: suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the path. Then, just as a clean cloth rid of dark spots would readily absorb dye, so too, while Siiha the general sat in that same seat, there arose in him the dust-free, stainless Dhamma-eye: 'Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.' Siiha the general became one who had seen the Dhamma, attained the Dhamma, understood the Dhamma, fathomed the Dhamma, crossed over doubt, gotten rid of bewilderment, attained self-confidence, and become independent of others in the teaching of the Teacher [this is the stock phrase meaning that Siiha the general had attained the fruit of stream entry Sotapanna - a noble disciple]. He then said to the Blessed One: "Bhante, please let the Blessed One together with the Sangha of bhikkhus accept tomorrow's meal from me."
The Blessed One consented by silence. Having understood that the Blessed One had consented, Siiha rose from his seat, paid homage to the Blessed One, circumambulated him keeping the right side toward him, and departed. Then Siiha addressed a man: "Go, good man, find some meat ready for sale."
Then, when the night had passed, Siiha the general had various kinds of excellent foods prepared in his own residence, after which he had the time announced to the Blessed One: "It is time, Bhante, the meal is ready."
Then, in the morning, the Blessed One dressed, took his bowl and robe, went to Siiha's residence along with the Sangha of bhikkhus, and sat down on the seat prepared for him. Now on that occasion a number of Niganthas went from street to street and from square to square in Vesaali, thrashing their arms about and crying out: "Today Siiha the general has slain a plump animal to prepare a meal for the ascetic Gotama! The ascetic Gotama knowingly uses meat obtained from an animal killed especially for his sake, the act being done on his account."
Then a man approached Siiha the general and whispered into his ear: "Sir, you should know that a number of Niganthas are going from street to street and from square to square in Vesaali, thrashing their arms about and crying out: 'Today Siiha the general has slain a plump animal to prepare a meal for the ascetic Gotama! The ascetic Gotama knowingly uses meat obtained from an animal killed especially for his sake, a deed done on his account.'"
"Enough, good man. For a long time those venerable ones have wanted to discredit the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. They will never stop misrepresenting the Blessed One with what is untrue, baseless, false, and contrary to fact, and we would never intentionally deprive a living being of life, even for the sake of our life."
Then, with his own hands, Siiha the general served and satisfied the Sangha of bhikkhus headed by the Buddha with the various kinds of excellent food. Then, when the Blessed One had finished eating and had put away his bowl, Siiha sat down to one side. Then the Blessed One instructed, encouraged, inspired, and gladdened Siiha with a Dhamma talk, after which he rose from his seat and departed.
Majjhimanikaaya M55.5 Jiivaka Sutta translated by Bhante Bhikkhu Bodhi
The vegetarian tradition in Indian culture grew stronger over time.
Here is a short essay by Bhante Ajahn Brahmavamso about this issue which covers it very well. http://www.urbandharma.
Here is the same essay on a different website: http://www.
I read that the Dalai Lama (a Vajrayana Buddhist) is not vegetarian. He prefers not to eat meat but due to a medical condition, has been advised to eat meat at least once every two or three days. Many Western Buddhists who follow the Tibetan tradition may be surprised and not believe that. You can also read the reference to that on Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/
Bhante Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Buddhist Monastic Code has a chapter on food that explains what the Vinaaya and its commentaries have to say on food, including eating or not eating meat.