asked Kashyapa, did you proscribe the eating of ten kinds
of unexamined meat and so on, up to the nine types of examined meat?
This too I did, the Buddha said, in order to help
my followers in the overcoming of their habit. In short, all such
provisions I made for one purpose: that the consumption of meat
be brought to an end.
But why, asked Kashyapa, has the Tathagata allowed
the flesh of fish as wholesome food?
Son of my lineage! the Buddha answered. I have
never done so! I have described as healthy all sorts of food: sugar
cane, rice, molasses, rye, barley, and so forth; milk, curd, butter,
oil, and so on. I have likewise permitted my followers to wear robes
of many kinds. But though I have so allowed them, such robes must
be of the proper colour! How much less could I allow the eating
of fish simply to satisfy the desires of those who wish to eat it!
If you had allowed the eating of fish, said Kashyapa,
it would not make sense for you to advocate the five tastes,
or milk, yoghurt, buttermilk, butter, ghee, sesame oil, and so forth.
It would be logical for you to forbid them, just as you have forbidden
the keeping of ornaments, leather shoes, and gold and silver vessels.