Non sentient beings

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Non sentient beings

Postby Strive4Karuna » Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:02 am

Quoted from the book Buddhism and Ecology edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Ryuken Williams

"He emphasizes the karmic side of the mutual interdependence of all life-forms, nothing that we need to weigh carefully the consequences of our actions so that we do not willingly increase the suffering of sentient and nonsentient beings." (pg.33)

What are nonsentient beings? How can nonsentient beings suffer? Can these beings be reborn into the realm of sentient beings?
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Re: Non sentient beings

Postby Sam Vara » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:15 am

Strive4Karuna wrote:Quoted from the book Buddhism and Ecology edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Ryuken Williams

"He emphasizes the karmic side of the mutual interdependence of all life-forms, nothing that we need to weigh carefully the consequences of our actions so that we do not willingly increase the suffering of sentient and nonsentient beings." (pg.33)

What are nonsentient beings? How can nonsentient beings suffer? Can these beings be reborn into the realm of sentient beings?


It is possible that the authors mean "non-rational" or "non-human", which is a misleadingly idiosyncratic use of the term. In which case they might mean animals, or those beings with a less well developed nervous system or mental faculties.

"Sentient" means conscious or capable of having feelings, so "the suffering of non-sentient beings" is self-contradictory.
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Re: Non sentient beings

Postby waterchan » Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:31 pm

Strive4Karuna wrote:What are nonsentient beings?


Perhaps this is a reference to the beings of the asaññasattā realm who have a body but no mind?

I wonder if those are celestial objects like extremely long-lived stars.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
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Re: Non sentient beings

Postby seeker242 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:39 pm

Hard to say without more context but probably it comes from a "deep ecology" perspective. For example, a forest will suffer if you introduce some kind of pollution into it. Not necessarily just sentient beings, AKA animals, but all living things in the forest. So don't "cause suffering" to any of these living things because they are all intrinsically interconnected via the ecology of the forest as a whole. But of course, that does not meant that you must avoid walking on the grass, etc.

Another example would be to say the Earth "will suffer" because of global warming, etc. But of course the earth is not sitting here thinking "Ouch, that hurts!" because the earth itself does not think thoughts, have feeling, etc. But nonetheless, the earth will still "suffer" from global warming. From a deep ecology perspective, the earth as a whole, is called "a being", not necessarily in the literal sense of the word like "human being" but as one big interconnected system where each individual part is important to it. The living things that make up the whole are sentient beings and non-sentient beings, so don't harm either. Given the fact that the book is titled "Buddhism and Ecology", it's probably coming from this "whole system" ecological perspective.

:anjali:
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Re: Non sentient beings

Postby waterchan » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:02 pm

seeker242 wrote:Given the fact that the book is titled "Buddhism and Ecology", it's probably coming from this "whole system" ecological perspective.


Ah, right, how short-sighted of me.
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Re: Non sentient beings

Postby Ananda26 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:41 pm

Strive4Karuna wrote:Quoted from the book Buddhism and Ecology edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Ryuken Williams

"He emphasizes the karmic side of the mutual interdependence of all life-forms, nothing that we need to weigh carefully the consequences of our actions so that we do not willingly increase the suffering of sentient and nonsentient beings." (pg.33)

What are nonsentient beings? How can nonsentient beings suffer? Can these beings be reborn into the realm of sentient beings?


There is a type of being called non-perception being. It can happen that perception arises in that being and they fall away from that realm. It can happen that they are reborn among percipient beings.
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