Are killing trees bad Kamma?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby SarathW » Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:41 pm

Are killing trees bad Kamma?
I just wonder whether killing a tree or picking a fruit from a tree is unwholesome Kamma.
I think above actions are carried out with attachment or aversion.
Eating food with attachment could be a bad kamma too.

I know Vinaya prohibit monks killing trees or picking fruit from a tree.
This rule does not apply to lay people but it may be a rebirth making activity.
if I pick a fruit from a tree and offer to someone it may be a wholesome Kamma.

I like to know your opinion.
If you agree, what is the most practical way to overcome this. (We need trees and food to make a living)

:thinking:

This question came to me after seen the following post.

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=20337#p284589
SarathW
 
Posts: 2749
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:54 pm

Not sure about the killing of a tree (for lay people), but it is definitely okay to eat the fruit. Vegans have to eat something. :tongue:

The trees have evolved to produce fruit for the survival of the species. An animal eats the fruit, defecates some place which seeds a new tree.

I suppose killing a tree with no practical purpose might be bad kamma, however, as lay people sometimes it needs to be done for building construction or if the roots are entering a house foundation, etc.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8288
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:04 am

Greetings,

David N. Snyder wrote:I suppose killing a tree with no practical purpose might be bad kamma, however, as lay people sometimes it needs to be done for building construction or if the roots are entering a house foundation, etc.

I guess it depends on the intention, doesn't it? Specifically, the intention that one brings to the activity as it is done.

Cetana (intention) = kamma!

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14812
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby fivebells » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:23 am

SarathW wrote:Are killing trees bad Kamma?


Don't know about you, but if I ever met a killing tree I would definitely regard it as bad karma. :)
fivebells
 
Posts: 299
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:52 am

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby culaavuso » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:26 am

A few points worth considering:

The Vinaya uses a Pali term for living plants that literally means "home of a being", with elaboration in the sub-commentary. Although the word for being in this context bhūta is different from another word often translated as "being", satta. In the context of the five precepts (such as AN 8.39: Abhisanda Sutta) the word satta is used for being.

Buddhist Monastic Code vol. 1 (page 263) by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Pali term for living plant — bhūtagāma — literally means the home of a being. This the Sub-commentary explains by saying that devatās may take up residence in plants standing in place by means of a longing on which their consciousness fastens (at the end of their previous lives) as in a dream. This rule is justified, it says, in that the etiquette of a contemplative precludes doing harm to the abodes of living beings. As the origin story shows, though, the reason this rule was laid down in the first place was to prevent bhikkhus from offending people who held to the animist belief that regarded plants as one-facultied life having the sense of touch.


The Dhammapada refers to the ending of the cycle of rebirth as "not building a house again" (although this uses the Pali words gaha and geha for house, rather than gāma from the passage above)

Dhp 11 (153-154) wrote:Through the round of many births I roamed
without reward,
without rest,
seeking the house-builder.
Painful is birth
again & again.

House-builder, you're seen!
You will not build a house again.
All your rafters broken,
the ridge pole dismantled,
immersed in dismantling, the mind
has attained to the end of craving.


Without killing animals or eating plants, there would be nothing left to eat. This makes it somewhat impractical to prohibit eating plants. However, it's also worth considering that the suttas recommend considering eating any food to be similar to a parent forced to eat the flesh of their only child for survival. This is consistent with the idea of eating being necessary for survival but harming plants also being undesirable.

SN 12.63: Puttamansa Sutta wrote:"And how is physical food to be regarded? Suppose a couple, husband & wife, taking meager provisions, were to travel through a desert. With them would be their only baby son, dear & appealing. Then the meager provisions of the couple going through the desert would be used up & depleted while there was still a stretch of the desert yet to be crossed. The thought would occur to them, 'Our meager provisions are used up & depleted while there is still a stretch of this desert yet to be crossed. What if we were to kill this only baby son of ours, dear & appealing, and make dried meat & jerky. That way — chewing on the flesh of our son — at least the two of us would make it through this desert. Otherwise, all three of us would perish.' So they would kill their only baby son, loved & endearing, and make dried meat & jerky. Chewing on the flesh of their son, they would make it through the desert. While eating the flesh of their only son, they would beat their breasts, [crying,] 'Where have you gone, our only baby son? Where have you gone, our only baby son?' Now what do you think, monks: Would that couple eat that food playfully or for intoxication, or for putting on bulk, or for beautification?"

"No, lord."

"Wouldn't they eat that food simply for the sake of making it through that desert?"

"Yes, lord."

"In the same way, I tell you, is the nutriment of physical food to be regarded. When physical food is comprehended, passion for the five strings of sensuality is comprehended. When passion for the five strings of sensuality is comprehended, there is no fetter bound by which a disciple of the noble ones would come back again to this world.


It's also interesting to note that killing an animal and destroying plant life are both offenses of confession (pācittiya 11 and pācittiya 61) while killing a human is an offense of defeat (pārājika 3).

The intention motivating the action and general state of mind has a significant part to play, too.

AN 6.63: Nibbedhika Sutta wrote:Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.
culaavuso
 
Posts: 1248
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:27 pm

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby SarathW » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:16 am

fivebells wrote:
SarathW wrote:Are killing trees bad Kamma?


Don't know about you, but if I ever met a killing tree I would definitely regard it as bad karma. :)


viewtopic.php?f=13&t=14905
;)
SarathW
 
Posts: 2749
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby pegembara » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:46 am

Killing lots of trees can cause this. Surely this cannot be considered making good kamma.

Image
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
pegembara
 
Posts: 680
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:50 am

Greetings,

Not to seem a stick in the mud, but in Buddhism kamma = cetana = intention... it is not defined by whatever we decide "surely cannot be considered making good kamma".

To focus on the end result of the action rather than intention underlying it is the Jain way of looking at kamma.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14812
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:11 am

Actually I believe the scripture says intention is kamma, as in a form of kamma, as opposed to all kamma is intention, as in the only kind of kamma.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 951
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby cooran » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:23 am

This might be of interest:

Questions on Kamma by Bhikkhu Bodhi
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha057.htm

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7799
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby Zom » Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:39 am

User avatar
Zom
 
Posts: 898
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby seeker242 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:57 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Not to seem a stick in the mud, but in Buddhism kamma = cetana = intention... it is not defined by whatever we decide "surely cannot be considered making good kamma".

To focus on the end result of the action rather than intention underlying it is the Jain way of looking at kamma.

Metta,
Retro. :)


You could say that. :anjali: But at the same time, if you already know full well that an action will have bad consequences, but you do it anyway, isn't that the definition of "making bad kamma", even though your intention in doing the action is good?

You could also take that to the extreme and say "Well, I killed a person but my intentions were only good so it didn't make any bad kamma"? How can that be? You still killed someone?

Or, perhaps you could say that people are sometimes not even aware of what their intentions even are, and perhaps fool themselves into thinking they are good, when they actually aren't good?

Theoretically, if you go and kill 100 people, just as long as you have good intentions, this means it does not make bad kamma? I don't see how that could be the case! Now you could say that if you did not intend to kill anyone, and it was really just an accident, you could say it does not make bad kamma because you did not have the intention to kill. However, what if one's intention to kill is considered by the person to be a good intention? Is intention really everything?

How does this Kamma = intention reconcile with actions that are simply born of say greed? People don't generally make a conscious choice to be a greedy person, it's just something they do because greed is in their mind. I doubt anyone wakes up in the morning and says "Well, today I'm going to be greedy! In other words, there is no real intention to be greedy, but acting out of greed does make bad kamma. This seems to me to take intention out of the picture, does it not?

:anjali:
User avatar
seeker242
 
Posts: 296
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:13 pm

I don't see anywhere in the buddhist scripture where it says that Kamma=intention, thats a fundamental misunderstanding, intention is a form of kamma, but kamma is not only intention, its much more than that.

For instance we might say the walking is a form of transportation, but that does not meant all forms of transportation involve walking.

Also the quote about intention being kamma seems to be more in the vein of intention leading to action is kamma, rather than intention with no action whatsoever is kamma. see the link Cooran posted above.
Last edited by lyndon taylor on Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 951
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby daverupa » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:21 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:I don't see anywhere in the buddhist scripture where it says that Kamma=intention


Well...

AN 6.63 wrote:"Intention, I tell you, is kamma.


So there can be an intent of greed if I say "Ooh, I want that chocolate ice cream!" - I'm not intending to be greedy, but I have an intent that's rooted in greed.

The interactions between various fabrications and these roots & their opposites is discussed at AN 3.69.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4515
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:27 pm

We seem to be having some problems with grammar, if I say red is colour, that does not mean colour is red, only, or colour=red, if I say humans are animals, that does not mean animals are human, only, or that animals=humans. likewise if we say intention(and remember intention seems to imply resulting action in the passages) is kamma, that does not mean that kamma is intention, only, or that kamma=intention.

Equal means the same as or identical to, not a form of or part of, intention is not the same as or identical to kamma, intention is a form of or part of kamma.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 951
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:36 pm

seeker242 wrote:You could also take that to the extreme and say "Well, I killed a person but my intentions were only good so it didn't make any bad kamma"? How can that be? You still killed someone?

Or, perhaps you could say that people are sometimes not even aware of what their intentions even are, and perhaps fool themselves into thinking they are good, when they actually aren't good?


daverupa wrote:The interactions between various fabrications and these roots & their opposites is discussed at AN 3.69.


Yes good points above. There might be the feeling that one is doing 'right' but it could really be rooted in something unwholesome. Someone might even kill with the 'intention' that they are doing good, even whole wars get started this way, but as we know they are rooted in greed, aversion, and / or delusion.

One monk performed immoral acts and stated that "I feel neither ease nor discomfort, thus there will be no offense for me." The Buddha responded, "whether this foolish man felt or did not feel, there is an offense." (Vinaya, Suttavibhanga 3.36)
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8288
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby daverupa » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:48 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:intention is a form of or part of kamma.


Having intended, one does action by way of body, speech, or mind. There is no other pathway of action. I suppose there could be unconscious electrified-movement, that might be action by way of body that has no underlying intention, but in such a case I don't think we really care about that action because it's ethically inert - unintentional action isn't kamma. The only kind of kamma is intentional action.

So intention leads to ethically significant action, either of the proliferating sort with various dark & bright results, or the sort that leads on to the ending of kamma. There is no case where unintentional spasms of body, speech, or mind are ethically efficacious.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4515
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:57 pm

Well that's the "kamma is all in your head" way of looking at it, I happen to see kamma as a force of nature, like gravity, far more than just psychological......

Plus the kamma=intention viewpoint does a really lousy job of explaining kamma acting upon you, without anything to do with your intentions.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 951
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby daverupa » Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:50 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:I happen to see kamma as a force of nature, like gravity, far more than just psychological......


Then it's not the kamma the Buddha was concerned with.

Plus the kamma=intention viewpoint does a really lousy job of explaining kamma acting upon you, without anything to do with your intentions.


Kamma doesn't act in that way.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4515
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:52 pm

Well that's a very secular Buddhist way of looking at things, certainly not in line with what I was taught.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 951
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Next

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 6 guests