Paul McCartney tells Dalai Lama he’s wrong to eat meat

India Tibet Dalai Lama
Paul McCartney has written a personal letter to His Holiness The Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of Tibetan Buddhism, urging him not to eat meat. Buddhists believe in reincarnation and in compassion for all living beings. One of the five precepts of Buddhism is “do not kill,” which is explained “One must not deliberately kill any living creatures, either by committing the act oneself, instructing others to kill, or approving of or participating in act of killing.” Buddhism does allow for personal choice and exceptions when it comes to the precepts, and they are not set in stone, but many Buddhists interpret that precept as a call to vegetarianism.

The Dalai Lama, however, continues to eat meat at the insistence of his doctors. Paul McCartney told him that they’re wrong and he doesn’t need meat, which inevitably causes suffering:

SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY tried to turn the DALAI LAMA vegetarian, insisting the famed Buddhist was “wrong” to eat meat.

The Beatles legend wrote to the spiritual leader to point out that meat-eaters contribute to the suffering of animals, contradicting his statement that Buddhists “believe in not causing suffering to any sentient beings”.

And the Hey Jude hitmaker even disagreed when the Dalai Lama insisted he ate meat for health reasons.

In an interview with Prospect magazine, MCCartney says, “I found out he was not a vegetarian, so I wrote to him saying ‘Forgive me for pointing this out, but if you eat animals then there is some suffering somewhere along the line’.

“He replied saying that his doctors had told him he needed it, so I wrote back saying they were wrong.”

[From Contact Music, thanks to vdantev for the tip]

I’m a meat-eater, but my dad and brother are vegetarians and I understand the choice. It’s something that people chose to do for personal reasons, and many site the intense environmental cost of meat production. You can get the same protein and nutritional benefits from a non-meat diet, but it’s not as easy and requires planning. It’s surprising to me that the Dalai Lama would eat meat given his personal philosophy, but he also seems like the type who follows his own path and isn’t one to let rock stars tell him how to live his life. Rock stars that have their own vegetarian food line I might add, not that it makes McCartney’s commitment to animal rights any less genuine.

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51 Responses to “Paul McCartney tells Dalai Lama he’s wrong to eat meat”

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  1. Ernestine says:

    Is the Dalai Lama anemic? I wonder what sort of condition he has.

    I’m a vegetarian, too, and I think it’s kinda odd that His Holiness eats meat, but I’m ALSO kinda inclined to give him a free pass on this one.

    Lay off, Paul. You’ve got worthier targets, doncha think?

  2. Mairead says:

    NOW do people believe me about Paul McCartney’s intensely-irritating “smug vegetarian” attitude? 🙄

    (I am (lacto-ovo) vegetarian.)

  3. vdantev says:

    Yeah the most enlightened man on the planet doesn’t have anything on an aging former Beatle. 🙄

    • Dave bernazani says:

      He’s hardly “the most enlightened man on the planet” if he eats animals. His “doctors” are old-school idiots who haven’t bothered to study nutrition, and Sir Paul is correct to point this out.

  4. Passerby says:

    What in the world makes Paul McCartney qualified to a)offer medical opinions or b) question the Dalai freaking Lama on Buddhist practice?

    How unbelievably arrogant.

    • Tamstermac says:

      Hardly arrogant. He’s only very politely pointing out the hypocrisy on the part of His Holiness.

  5. GrnMtGirl says:

    Okay – First of all – I’ve been a vegetarian for 23 years. I neither care how people feel about me eating meat or whether others do. It is a completely personal choice.

    I have NEVER cared for Paul McCartney’s behavior when it comes to other people’s choices about eating meat. And, I especially don’t care for the fact that he sent this letter to His Holiness. As a matter of fact it has left me a bit pissed off!!

    The Dalai Lama is a great compassionate man and I figure he has enough intelligence, insight, and experience to let him make meat decisions on his own. Paul McCartney is not the Dalai Lama’s personal physician and doesn’t know his medical issues first hand; therefore, he has no right to decide that the doctor does not know what he is talking about.

    Paul: Back Off! Live and Let Live…

    • DC says:

      There are three rules we should live by in this life. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind and the third is to be kind. Animals are not ours to eat. They exist for their own reasons- Ingrid Newkirk
      Paul is more compassionate than the Dalai Lama. Thank you Paul!

  6. GrnMtGirl says:

    Oh Yeah – Aaaarrrrgggghhhhhhhh! 😡

  7. Phat girl says:

    Since when did being able to sing a catchy little tune make you an expert on anything except singing catchy little tunes? Next thing you know he’ll be calling his expert nutritionist/life coach Fishsticks Paltrow to teach his holiness about how to find his center and to figure out why he doesn’t care enough to lose those last three pounds. What a pretentious ass.

  8. LeoLo says:

    Paul married roadkill.
    He knows that spoiled meat is no treat LOL

    Urmmmmm Paul, shhhhhhhhhhhhh shhhhhhhhhhhhh you just hush now sweet old pepaw. Have a werthers original. It will make you feel better.

  9. geronimo says:

    Threatening to sue McDs because they have a pic of him on their premises, now this. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m begining to thaw slightly towards Heather Mills.

  10. Syko says:

    It’s possible the doctors have told him to eat meat. It’s also possible to obtain meat in a compassionate manner, Jews have been doing it for centuries.

    At any rate, it’s none of McCartney’s business what the Dalai Lama eats or doesn’t eat. He needs to worry over his own sins and omissions and let others take care of their own. Not everyone functions well on a vegetarian lifestyle. Not everyone even wants to.

  11. cara says:

    Am I the only one in the universe that feels this guy is THE most pompus ass? And where did I read the other day that this pompus ass said HE was the political one out of him and Lennon??? Say say say what!

    Go away and feast on your macaronie shaped turkey!!!!! I can’t stand anything about this guy, and that annoying gene has certainly been passed down to that Stella.

  12. Baholicious says:

    Hi Syko,

    Not true in the case of kosher slaughter. I don’t know if many are aware of the federal raid on Agriprocessors in Iowa. The company is the largest kosher meat facility in the U.S. and in addition to numerous workers rights violations including underage workers, there were animal cruelty issues as well. There’s nothing compassionate involved in mechanized kosher slaughter. There’s a clip in Earthlings on it as well as elsewhere I’m sure. Here’s an NY Times article on Agriprocessors for anyone interested:

    On another note, Paul McCartney has said he was the political Beatle, not John Lennon:

    ‘The Associated Press

    LONDON–Paul McCartney claims that he was the real politicized figure in The Beatles, not John Lennon, according to an interview published Sunday.

    McCartney was quoted as saying it was he who first raised concerns over the Vietnam war within the group and advocated their anti-war stance.

    Fans have long regarded Lennon, who wrote songs such as “Revolution” and – in later years – “Give Peace a Chance,” as the group’s authentic political voice.

    But McCartney claimed that his meeting with philosopher Bertrand Russell in the mid-1960s sparked his own – and eventually Lennon’s – curiosity about world affairs.

    Following his talk with Russell, McCartney said he told “the guys, particularly John (Lennon), about this meeting and saying what a bad war this was,” The Sunday Times quoted McCartney as saying in the interview.

    The newspaper said McCartney was interviewed in Britain’s Prospect magazine, which is published on Wednesday. McCartney’s publicist Stuart Bell was not immediately available to confirm the comments.

    According to the newspaper, McCartney said he believes his stance has inspired the work against African poverty carried out in recent years by Bob Geldof and U2’s Bono.’

    So yes Cara, he’s a pompous ass indeed.

  13. Haystacks says:

    What a dickweed.

  14. Layla says:

    Gee, thanks for the 2nd opin, Dr. McCartney. 🙄 I don’t know but I’d put my money on the Dali Lama’s piety & judgment over self serving Paul. One only has to recall that Sir Paul actually married Heather Mills.

  15. Ling says:

    Yes, Paul. The Dalai Lama is iron- and protein-deficient, and you look like an old lesbian. We can’t all be perfect.

  16. Spike says:

    I’ve been studying Buddhism for a very long time. I can see a point where I might become vegetarian or vegan due to my beliefs, but I’d never push them on another person. I don’t eat veal by choice and many other things don’t sit with my system. That’s my choice.

    Paul makes me ashamed that I ever liked him as a child. Remember when he was trying to rewrite all of the credits on the Beatles songs he and John wrote? I’m glad Yoko blocked it.

    He will never escape John’s shadow and his actions look pathetic. I agree with most of the posters here. He’s a massive tool. Paul has seemed for a very long time to be very full of himself. I haven’t heard anything of consequence from him since the 80’s in terms of his body of work.

    I can’t decide if this is a famewhore who can’t go gently into that dark night, or a pompous ass trying to deride someone he can’t touch for depth of true humanitarian work and compassion. I think it’s beyond the pale that he would use an open letter to try to accomplish this. Hmm funny — why didn’t he try this on the head of the Anglican church, the pope, or many other heads of other religions who are probably also carnivores? Oh yeah that’s right, they’ll probably put hand his ass to him. And there would be a real outcry from their followers.

    Hmm Paul, instead of attacking others, why don’t you put your multi-millionaire mouth and actions to feeding the hungry or actually DOING something? I’m not a Bono fanatic, but in terms of his 3rd World debt relief campaign at least he’s walking the walk. I don’t think Paul has really influenced anyone and that’s the reason for the open letter and revisionist history.

    It almost makes me feel bad for Heather Mills, but maybe it’s a case of bird of a feather…

  17. cara says:

    Thanks for the link Baho..!

    Touche’ Phat girl, Touche’. (it’s not like he’s R.N.Marley, for godsakes)

  18. Rosanna says:

    Every vegetarian knows that proteins from meat and proteins from veggies are two different things… definitely NOT the same, otherwise it would be fine to just substitute 1 gr of vegetable protein for 1 gr of meat protein and it wouldn’t even be a hassle.
    If the Dalai Lama had a condition for which he either needs more proteins – in which case having to eat so many vegetable proteins could overload his system – or less proteins – in which case he could only eat essential aminoacids, he would be mandated to eat meat, period.
    And btw since when McCartney has a BSc in Nutrition????
    “Say, say, say what you want,
    But dont play games with my affection.
    Take, take, take what you need,
    But dont leave me with no direction.”

  19. Annie says:

    Just when you think you’ve reached your peak at utterly disliking this self-righteous bastard…..he does something like this.

    For some people’s bodies, meat is necessary. That’s just a medical fact. There are things that meats provide that plants simply cannot. It is why in the wild there are omnivores and carnivores.

  20. Debbi says:

    Traditional tibetan cuisine relies heavily on sheep and yak meat and clarified yak butter (ghee). The growing season there is just too short for a fully veggie diet. So clearly their branch of buddhism allows for a mutton burger every once in a while, despite the call to alleviate suffering in all living creatures.

    @ Ling – LOL about the aging lesbian comment. My husband and I have a running joke about the strong resemblance between Sir Paul and my mom (not a lesbian – or at least not out).

  21. MsTriste says:

    Passerby said it perfectly:
    “What in the world makes Paul McCartney qualified to a)offer medical opinions or b) question the Dalai freaking Lama on Buddhist practice?

    How unbelievably arrogant.”

  22. I have to admit – I’m a little taken aback by the fact the Dalai Lama eats meat, but I can completely understand that sometimes your health impacts your diet, instead of vice-versa. (I’ve been ordered to eat fish at least once a week, and it makes a huge difference in my psycho-somatic functioning.) Perhaps it is selfish of me to say, but the words, wisdom and essence of the Dalai are so valuable, that I’d happily slaughter, clean and cook an animal if it would prolong his joyous life.

    Like fellow vegetarians posting here, I’m really put off by Paul’s self-righteousness. He has a good point every now and again, but bullying people to reevaluate their dietary choices isn’t going to win anyone over. His pompous behavior only serves to undermine his cause.

  23. daisyfly says:

    True kosher meat IS killed in a humane fashion. To be kosher, the animal cannot suffer, and no blood must touch the flesh – any plant that labels itself as kosher and doesn’t abide by the most fundamental laws in judaism cannot be labeled Kosher, no matter how many rabbis claim it is so. I’ve seen the video of these slaughterhouses… that ain’t kosher.

    Paul – I love you. I do. Only a senile, lonely old man like yourself would think it perfectly acceptable to discuss choices and wrong and right with the Dalai Lama after marrying that three legged coffee table, Heather Mills. Focus on your own choices, please, because if you had just chosen to buy a whore, we might have all been spared the trash that is your ex-wife.

  24. Mairead says:

    Jaundice. I hear you – I know I would benefit greatly from even a small amount of fish per week, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. If I was in any way self disciplined I’d take flax oil (better than nowt) – but, meh.

    Geronimo – I believe that I called it months ago when I said that he and Heather were well met. 8)

  25. drm says:

    Everyone has said it so well here…when I saw the thread my mouth dropped open… The Dalai Lama has said that if it is possible abstaining from meat is preferable but that it is understandable if people cannot for a variety of reasons. And he alluded to the cultural dietary habits of Tibetan’s as someone else pointed out.

    I had the pleasure of hearing His Holiness speak in Wellington, New Zealand and it was a wonderful experience. Someone asked me if he said anything profound and I said no it was all quite common sensical actually but it was the sheer compassion and kindness of spirit that emanates from him that made the day so wonderful…an amazing being he is.

  26. Maya Ram says:

    Paul McCartney is an absolute a**hole for daring to speak to his Holiness in that crappy condescending manner – such an idiot aaarrghhhhh! Self righteous and smug as always.. well done Paul McCartney. Say it again.. moronic dickweed!

  27. Debbi says:

    @drm Doesn’t hearing the Lama just bring you incredible joy? I like how he laughs at his own jokes – big, HUGE belly laughs – the most. Ha ha ha haaaaaaa!

  28. Jessica says:

    I love the responses on here.
    Pompous ass! hahaha.

    Who the hell does PM think he is?

  29. Judy says:

    Let us be honest here, I have never met a veg that did not have some smart ass thing to say about eating meat. I eat meat and I have never made fun of people who don’t nor have I ever tried to ruin ones meal because they are eating something I wont eat,but I have had this happen time and time again. Right up to letting me know that the eggs I am eating have been fertilized and blah blah blah. Paul needs to be quiet and let people live their own way of life. It is not up to any of us to go after a person because of their eating preference (unless they are canibals) lol.
    I enjoy pauls music but he needs to keeo his personal choices to himself. Look what he married for cripes sake.

  30. kate says:

    love the dalai lama. and yes, debbi, his belly laughs are the best! as for paul…i’m mystified. also, is he a buddhist? i don’t think he is.

  31. orion70 says:

    Judy, you’re not meeting the right people. I don’t eat meat, and I can tell you, the couple of “holier than thou” vegetarians/vegans that i’ve met are off-putting to me too.

    It’s a personal choice for me, I haven’t eaten meat in ten years, nor do I want to. Sure, if someone asks me my reasons, i’ll tell them, but I don’t offer it up or make “smart ass comments”. But I don’t go around soapboxing or gagging when someone else at the table eats a steak. Heck, i’d even cook you one if i really liked you, and you wanted one.

    Stuff like this makes me want to see PM stranded on an ice floe with a bunch of angry seals. To make a “well your doctors are wrong” statement is ignorant..what is he, privy to his medical records? give me a break.

  32. Vlad Lennon says:

    I was watching a documentary on the Dalai Lama which claimed that His Holiness can be quite the wise ass when he does not take someone seriously, so perhaps the “doctor’s orders” comment was a sarcastic curveball thrown a wee bit too high over Sir Paul’s head.

    This is how it breaks down with the Fab Four:

    John WAS the political Beatle.

    George was the spiritual Beatle.

    Ringo was the party Beatle.

    And Paul was the tool Beatle.

  33. Jinx says:

    On that food line note, I don’t understand why he can’t make a vegetarian fast food chain instead of randomly attacking big names whether they be businesses or people. If he wants more people to adopt the lifestyle and he has “beef” (so to say) with McDonald’s, why not start his own soy burger empire? If he wanted to make a way of life look more appealing, it would make more sense to make it easily accessible to the working masses that buy his CDs than yapping about contradictions in religious doctrine. Bashing a religion or spiritual way of life tends to alienate people.

    And I don’t think he should become a rival to the Dalai Lama. Good spiritual leaders are usually sought for advice. They don’t do the seeking of those that need enlightened… unless they’re bad spiritual leaders who need publicity and/or money. Maybe he should become a nutritionist… It obviously interests him but people won’t take him seriously without the proper qualifications.

  34. Sickitten says:

    phat gir, right on!

    simply have yourself a wonderful christmas tme. jingle, jingle

  35. GrnMtGirl says:

    I just wanted to add that I just Love the Dalai Lama’s smile. I can just look at a picture of him and feel happy. I am very envious of those who have had the privilege of hearing him speak and/or meeting him. He is such an awesome guy!

  36. Boogie Woogie says:

    Paul has prooved that he is genius so many times before.
    Dalai Lama has proved that he is only Dalai Salami..

  37. Billie Bradfield says:

    I applaud Paul McCartney for his suggestion that the Dalia Lama stop eating meat. The dalia lama eats veal and other cruely raised meat in massive quantities.He is unable to control his desires to be in acordance with the basic tenent of doing no living creature harm. He is analogous to catholic priests who have sex with choir boys. He is a hypocritical religous celebrity. Eating meat is vain, egotistical an unsustainable. Karma:heart attack and colon cancer for the Dalia Lama! He is a disgusting fraudulent glutton!!1

  38. sophia says:

    His Holiness Dalai Lama quote:

    “Killing and eating meat are interrelated, so do we have to give up eating animal products? I myself once tried to give it up, but health problems arose and two years later my doctors advised me to again use meat in my diet. If there are people who can give up eating meat, we can only rejoice in their noble efforts. In any case, at least we should try to lessen our intake of meat and not eat it anywhere where it is in scarce supply and our consumption of it would cause added slaughter.”

    After His Holiness was hospitalized and in critical condition, his dr’s told him he had to stop his intense traveling/teaching schedule, or eat meat on occasion. As a nutritionist, I understand this. His Holiness did eat meat on alternating months for a period of time. At many teachings, he advises, if you can, please don’t eat meat. His Holiness travels and teaches to benefit others, and would rather be criticized for eating meat than not teach. When HHDL receives an offering for teaching, he always gives it away to charity. This may be above many people’s heads, but when someone like His Holiness eats meat, and prays for the animal’s spirit, that is a blessing for the animal’s spirit. If I were an animal, already slaughtered and ready for sale, I would rather nourish His Holiness’s health than some unaware person that would never consider saying a prayer. This may also be above people’s heads, but His Holiness is a holy being, and his presence anywhere purifies and blesses the area. Om Mani Padme Hum. Peace.

  39. Kelly says:

    okay, so I’m not a vegetarian. Paul isn’t either, technically he is a pescatarian (idk how to spell it) but it means you don’t eat any meat besides fish. At least im pretty sure of that because he was eating sushi with his new girlfriend. I mean i can tell this news is very old but i stumbled on it and i respect Paul McCartney a great deal. He’s just continuing what his late wife would have done. He’s a strict vegetarian that fights for his beliefs. Him and John were both like this but i bet if John did something like this, no one would be pissed off thank you very much.

  40. Angelina says:

    McCartney was no doubt surprised when he learned that His Holiness the Dalai Lama ate meat. He wanted to believe in Tibetan Buddhism but couldn’t agree with that. I think his comments to the Dalai Lama were honest and genuine. But he did forget the old Christian dictum, ‘Judge not lest ye also be judged’. How did this news item come to light? I thought private letters were supposed to be private. Sounds as if someone had it in for McCartney. By the way, non-fish vegetarian sushi exists.

  41. Michael K says:

    Also…note how the header of almost every report of this on the web repeats some journalist’s misrepresenting of McCartney having ‘told the Dalai Lama he was wrong’ when examination of the fuller report will reveal that what McCartney told him was that his doctors were wrong if they said he needed to eat meat.

    While McCartney has long conceded a tendency to be ”over bearing’, I have noticed that he is regularly misrepresented in this fashion with little bits from interviews blown up to suggest agendas that werent present.

    He isn’t the only Beatle to have suffered from this as Lennon would have been the first to tell you 😉

    Without getting conspiratorial, I’ve long perceived a tendency amongst conservative minor influencers everywhere to try to diminish the potential to reach audiences of the major influencers.
    The Beatles were among the first ‘popular entertainers’ to have something intelligent to say on diverse subjects and consequently an influence followed. I’m not sure there’s much that any of them ever said that was objectionable in the slightest and this is another occasion of the media egoists’ (the professionally-opinionated, lazy and often downright deceptive sooth-sayers) tendency to try to disable any message that isn’t ppart of their invariably corporately political agenda.

  42. Kias Henry says:

    I think it took a lot of courage for Paul to represent the welfare of animals to someone who should know better!

  43. J J says:

    Paul, I’m a Vegetarian and all, but go after someone really worthy, like Ted Nugent.

  44. ian says:

    Paul tell’s it like it is. The Dalai Lama obviously has no faith otherwise he would surely except the sufferings of this world without the need to make others suffer for his potential benifit. He is not worthy of his title and I believe he is harmful to the spiritual growth of those who follow him.

  45. Rosie says:

    to all of you who said “live and let live”
    …well that’s the point! let live! not live and kill other beings!!!
    I don’t know anything about Paul McCartney’s personal life or personality but It’s not arrogant to ask others to respect life, the health of the planet and politics around food and food production, all of which are impacted when people choose to eat meat.
    It’s also not wrong to give your opinion. You don’t have to agree. the Dali Llama doesn’t have to agree. But Paul has the right to say his opinion. He’s not forcing him to comply…
    That’s all….

  46. Marcia says:

    If the Dalai Lama truly believes in nonviolence and compassion, then he will quit eating meat. One would expect a true believer of those virtues to be consistent. At the moment, he is being hypocritical.

  47. Mark says:

    No one needs to eat meat for medical reasons. Period. Amino acids from plants build the best kind of proteins because they are not used. The Dalai Lama needs to learn kindness to animals.

  48. Liz says:

    Unfortunately the Dalai Lama is wrongly representing Buddhism and he is not even Buddhist.
    Thank You Paul. All my respect. 🙂