Eating Bugs in the EBTs?

This probably sounds like a very odd question. Do the EBTs, including the Vinaya, say anything about whether eating (dead) bugs is OK or not? I’m aware of the suttas about the rules involving eating meat. I also recall that the Buddha said that the meat from certain animals shouldn’t be eaten. But do the EBTs say anything about eating insects? Thank you.

The Chinese Agama’s specifically mention “Not even insects” in regard to not killing.

Abstained from killing and had abandoned killing, having discarded sword and club he had a sense of shame and fear of blame, with a mind [full of] benevolence and compassion for the welfare of all [beings], even insects. He had purified his mind with regard to killing living beings.


Thanks. I’m aware of the rules involving killing and eating meat, and I assumed they applied to insects. However, I wasn’t aware of any suttas that mentioned insects specifically. So, thank you for sharing this!

I’m also hoping to see if there are any suttas that talk about whether or not it’s appropriate to eat insect “meat” if the other rules involving eating animal meat are followed.

I am not aware of any Suttas that specifically mention eating insects. But I do know that Ajahn Brahm has eaten I believe live maggots when he was staying in a remote monastery in Thailand.
Unfortunately, I do not recall which talk he mentioned this in. But it tells me that it is permitted may be in some subtle way. Otherwise I do not think Ajahn Brahm would have done it.
With Metta

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Hi @Nimal
This was his “ Becoming Enlightened” talk, I think you may have gotten it mixed up, he was talking about the rotten fish curry ( the fermented fish had gone bad and there were maggots in it, the whole lot was cooked and served).


The Buddha said meat is “pure” for monks to eat if it’s not seen heard or otherwise suspected to have been killed for monks. Bugs probably would fall into that same directive.

Killing is a different question. For monks the Buddha said not to kill even a red or black ant.


Yes That is it. But I am not sure if he said that the whole lot was cooked and served. I remember something like this.
“Ajahn was waiting in the line up for meals and the most senior monk was the first in the line up. Ajahn could see from far two containers - one with freshly cooked meat or fish and the other with old meat or fish with maggots in it. After the most senior monk served himself from the freshly cooked dish he put the old dish with maggots into the fresh one and mixed them both. So Ajahn had no alternative but to eat thinking ‘what a hypocrite’. Someone later said it is all protein.”
With Metta


This seems close enough to the answer I was looking for to mark it as the solution. I think I recall this story.

I wanted to know if bugs were one of the foods the Buddha said to specifically not eat like tiger meat, elephant meat, etc. It sounds bugs were not specifically mentioned by the Buddha as foods that should never be eaten.

Each of the forbidden meats was due to some reason, either society’s sentiments (elephants are too noble to eat and dogs too low) or safety (tigers catching the scent of tiger meat may attack). He made no mention of insects in this context.