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Most Buddhists in China are Vegan. But Buddhism in China has a different definition of veganism. The biggest part of Buddhism’s vegan definition is not eating any animal products. Another part of ancient Buddhism’s veganism is not eating hun. Hun in Chinese means meat, but in ancient Buddhism means pungent. These Buddhist vegans can eat meat but can not pungent ingredients—Garlic, spring onion, scallion, blue onion, and asafoetida. In China, not all Buddhists need to be vegan. They can eat animal products, but those who become Buddhist monks or nuns must be vegan.


In my family, my mom is Buddhist. She eats animal products,

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but not some special food such as pond loach, turtle, or snake. My mom told us these animals are spiritual. If we eat them, they will cause something bad after we die. Sometimes, my mom will eat vegan food for one week or one month, but it will be hard for my mom to find vegan food in restaurants.


Most restaurants do not have vegan meals in China, and it is hard to find a vegan restaurant. Once my mom wanted to find a sandwich for breakfast. However, all the sandwiches have animal products. Most of them have eggs or butter. Meals in Chinese restaurants are different from those in American. In American, people will order dishes for themselves. In China, we will order some food to eat together. If we order ten dishes, eight of them might have animal products. During the time my mom eats vegan, she seldom eats meals with others in restaurants.  

I discovered the reason why few Chinese people eat vegan. In China, most schools do not have vegan meals. If children are vegan, they can not get enough nutrition from school meals. They have no choice for their meal. Another reason is that meat was the special food for the new year in the past. When my parents and grandparents were young, most families only ate meat for the new year. At that time, people were very poor, and the meat was expensive. On a normal day, they eat vegetables or cereals. In the late 19th century, there was no food in China because of natural disasters. Some people ate trees or even dead people. Now, Chinese citizens' lives have become better. Most families can eat meat every day. They do not want to go back to eating vegan.


Some people think meat is more delicious than vegan food. Some people have realized that a vegan diet will make their bodies healthier. In my family, my parents and grandparents will cook more vegetables for meals and reduce meat dishes.

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