13 great vegetarians from history

2. Gautama Buddha

2 of 14
2 of 14

Gautama Buddha may not have been the first vegetarian but he was certainly one of the earliest prominent figures to talk about giving up meat. Though there is some debate as to whether the Buddha would eat meat if given to him as alms, it is likely, based on several sutras and the prohibition of meat in early Buddhism, that he avoided it altogether.

His reasoning for avoiding meat was eloquently summed up when he explained that "the eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion."

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