The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Garlic (lasuṇa) is the onion-like bulb of the plant Allium sativum which is eaten for its pungent taste. The Buddha asked monks and nuns not to eat garlic because the strong smell it leaves on the breath can be offensive to other people (Vin.II,139). However, he did allow garlic to be taken as a medicine. For reasons that are not clear, the ancient Indians came to believe that eating garlic, onion and leeks is very detrimental to meditation. Buddhist monks picked up this superstition, took it to China and even today pious Chinese Buddhists will never eat garlic. See Plants.