I thought some of the members here might be interested in something I wrote. I hope you will enjoy this bit of textual history, as I do.
A Tradition of Veganism in Ancient China
The Śūraṅgama Sūtra, said to have been translated into Chinese in the year 705 C.E. (or, some say, originated in China around that time), is an important scripture in Chinese Buddhism. "It was often the first major text to be studied by newly ordained monks, particularly in the Chan school." . Its popularity over the centuries can be measured by the many Chinese commentaries devoted to it. At least 127 were composed between 767 C.E. and 1968. The popularity of the text peaked during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), when 59 commentaries on the sūtra were produced. It has been studied and praised by generations of Chinese Buddhist monks and nuns.
One portion of the sūtra encourages what we might call veganism today, in what might be the most explicitly vegan passage in a religious text, within the context of a discussion about abstaining from killing:
"How then can it be compassionate to gorge on other beings' blood and flesh? Monks who will not wear silks from the East, whether coarse or fine; who will not wear shoes or boots of leather, nor furs, nor birds' down from our own country; and who will not consume milk, curds, or ghee, have truly freed themselves from this world." 
Observe that it discourages the use of a variety of animal products: flesh, silk, leather, fur, feathers, milk, curds, and clarified butter. One commentary adds that consuming honey would not be consistent with this passage. (Another important text in Chinese Buddhism, the 5th century Brahma Net Sūtra or Fàn wǎng jīng, prohibits the buying and selling of both humans and domesticated animals in minor precept 12, suggesting that exploitation or enslavement of our fellow creatures, not only violence against them, is to be abandoned.)
This may be the reason that the contemporary Buddhist monk Venerable Heng Sure, senior disciple of the late Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, is a vegan and gives talks on veganism. If so, it would mean that a Westerner learned of veganism from the Chinese, rather than the Western heirs of Donald Watson, the father of modern veganism, as a philosophy and practice of nonviolence and non-exploitation.
What is most significant to me about this passage is that it suggests that there were likely individuals practicing what we now call veganism who were living in China more than a thousand years before Donald Watson. It also indicates that veganism is an authentic Buddhist practice. There are many Buddhist texts that prohibit harming other creatures, directly or indirectly, and eight Mahāyāna Buddhist scriptures which discourage the eating of flesh, including this one, but this is the first I've seen that explicitly discourages the use of animal products in general and not merely for the sake of asceticism, the first that is clearly, fully, and undeniably vegan.
Edward J. Immel
1. Buddhist Text Translation Society, trans. The Śūraṅgama Sūtra. 3rd ed. (Ukiah, CA: Buddhist Text Translation Society, 2009), p. xiii.
2. Ibid., p. 268.