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11 Famous Vegetarians In History

By: for on July 18, 2014
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 Last week Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines, announced that he was giving up eating beef after studying its impact on the environment. This is not the first time an international thought leader has pronounced his love of a meat-free life.

In fact, important figures in history have eaten plant-based for thousands of years. What can we learn from famous vegetarians in history?

1. Pythagoras

This Greek scholar, known for his math theorem lived over 2,500 years ago and ate a fleshless diet, called the "Pythagorean diet" until the word vegetarian became popular in the late 1800s.

He said “as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”

2. Buddha

Around the same time as Pythagoras, Siddhartha Gautama in India began a 25-year journey as a pauper, culminating in his enlightenment, or Buddha, in Sanskrit.

He embraced strict vegetarianism. He wrote that “it is more important to prevent animal suffering, rather than sit to contemplate the evils of the universe praying in the company of priests.”

3. Leonardo da Vinci

Born in 1452, this Renaissance man was famous for his study of mathematics, anatomy, engineering, art, sculpture, and aerospace.

His vegetarianism has been credited to reading about the life of Pythogoras. He said, “my body will not be a tomb for other creatures.”

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