What is the lay follower to do?

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What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Wind » Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:14 am

In regards to the "Do not kill" precept. I imagine there are plenty of lay followers whose livelihood is base on either fishing or raising animals for consumption or sale. It is a critical part of many village life. How are these lay followers able to abide by the precept or right livelihood?

I was just thinking it is not hard for us city folks to live a life according to the precepts but for those who live in remote areas where hunting/fishing is crucial for survival, it would be almost impossible. What are they to do?
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:45 am

Wind wrote:...What are they to do?


Move to the city :tongue:
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Stephen » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:25 am

Killing animals to sell their meat is definitely wrong livelihood. Killing to survive, i.e food for you and your family, would be different. It's really a matter of how far you are willing to go to avoid unskillful kamma and to become liberated. Compared to the amount of mental effort one has to put in to uproot the defilements, moving or finding a more wholesome livelihood is far from impossible.
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:51 am

are you in a situation where you have to kill for a living, or to survive? if not then be thankful. can you offer a better opportunity for those who are in such a situation? if so then you should, if not then what are you gonna do?

this is one of those situations where the zen teacher would say "don't put another head on your head"

we are in no situation to be the judges of other's kamma, the best we can do is watch our own minds/hearts do our best and help others when possible.
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Wind » Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:32 am

Stephen wrote:Killing to survive, i.e food for you and your family, would be different.


Can you elaborate in what ways it would be different?
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:40 am

Wind wrote:
Stephen wrote:Killing to survive, i.e food for you and your family, would be different.


Can you elaborate in what ways it would be different?

motivation
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Mukunda » Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:02 am

Manapa wrote:
Wind wrote:
Stephen wrote:Killing to survive, i.e food for you and your family, would be different.


Can you elaborate in what ways it would be different?

motivation


Taking another being's life for the purpose of sustaining one's own, or their loved ones lives is still self centered and as such, is unwholesome kamma.
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby chownah » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:23 pm

Isn't there a Sutta where the Buddha tells a story about parents who kill and eat their child because it was the only way that any of them could survive.....maybe it is applicable to this thread.

Also, doesn't another Sutta mention a person who was a murderer and then became an arahant in the same life?
I guess that killing is not a show stopper.

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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:09 pm

chownah wrote:Isn't there a Sutta where the Buddha tells a story about parents who kill and eat their child because it was the only way that any of them could survive.....maybe it is applicable to this thread.

Also, doesn't another Sutta mention a person who was a murderer and then became an arahant in the same life?
I guess that killing is not a show stopper.

chownah

There is a thread on this sutta but I can not remember its name, it was within the past two months, and the only person in the suttas I can think of is Angulimala, although there could be others who were excecively violent before ordaining.
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Wind » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:24 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:are you in a situation where you have to kill for a living, or to survive?


There is a good chance I might be. Therefore, want to understand the right course of action.

Modus.Ponens wrote:
Wind wrote:...What are they to do?


Move to the city :tongue:


It's not that simple. In poorer countries that are many distinct ethnic groups who live in remote areas in which they have their own culture and language. They can't simply set foot in a city and survive, due to their lack of money, education, and entirely different language. Without support, they will go broke quickly and end up homeless. In their native province, they thrive since it's the only way of life they know. Also they have to contend with discrimination whenever they set foot outside. Staying where they are gives them the best life, although they may be view as poor from the eyes of outsiders, they are happy. So moving doesn't make reasonable sense to them, as well as they are proud of their native land.
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:29 pm

Mukunda wrote:Taking another being's life for the purpose of sustaining one's own, or their loved ones lives is still self centered and as such, is unwholesome kamma.


I'll say it again, Motivation!

If the motivation is to kill that is one thing, if the motivation is to survive and the only way to do so is to kill that is another kamma wise.

Like most things to do with Kamma, it is not black and white here, don't forget the grey! we all exist through ending another living beings life, this can be rationalised in several different ways, but don't fool yourself into thinking you aren't the same as anyone else who eats to survive, or eats because they enjoy a particular type of food.
If the motivation is based in greed, anger & delusion or any combination of them it can be dark Kamma with dark results, or dark kamma with bright results, only the results maybe different.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Wind » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:35 pm

chownah wrote:Isn't there a Sutta where the Buddha tells a story about parents who kill and eat their child because it was the only way that any of them could survive.....maybe it is applicable to this thread.


I did think about this sutta, but not sure if it's what the Buddha intended. I know it is how we should regard food. But should we take it further to assume it's ok to kill for survival sake? It does seems to suggest so but want to let those who may discern the meaning better than me speak on this issue.
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:41 pm

Greetings,

I think that sutta has more to do with not relishing food, than it does to killing/not-killing.

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Wind » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:49 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

I think that sutta has more to do with not relishing food, than it does to killing/not-killing.

Metta,
Retro. :)


what do you think retro, should the new lay followers who have just heard the Dhamma do if their life and their family survival is base on continual hunting and fishing? I assume this scenerio is more common in the times of the Buddha as people don't have supermarkets and they live in tribes. So how did the Buddha advise them?
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby adosa » Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:08 pm

Hi Wind

Again, its about intention. Killing for the sake of killing vs. killing to survive. None of us can make it even one day without killing something. But what are our intentions? In life we encounter every shade of gray. It's never black and white. That's why we need the ability to reflect on our intentions. The householder life is considered difficult, because of ethical dilemmas just like this one. Read this article. I think it explains things rather nicely,


http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha151.htm




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"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Mukunda » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:34 am

Manapa wrote:
Mukunda wrote:Taking another being's life for the purpose of sustaining one's own, or their loved ones lives is still self centered and as such, is unwholesome kamma.


I'll say it again, Motivation!

If the motivation is to kill that is one thing, if the motivation is to survive and the only way to do so is to kill that is another kamma wise.

Like most things to do with Kamma, it is not black and white here, don't forget the grey! we all exist through ending another living beings life, this can be rationalised in several different ways, but don't fool yourself into thinking you aren't the same as anyone else who eats to survive, or eats because they enjoy a particular type of food.
If the motivation is based in greed, anger & delusion or any combination of them it can be dark Kamma with dark results, or dark kamma with bright results, only the results maybe different.


If one kills another living being, even in order to survive, they have decided that their own life is more important and valuable than the life of the being they kill. Hence, the act is based in selfish delusion and greed for life. If I place my survival above the survival of another being, my motivation is self centered. It really is that simple.
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Mukunda » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:43 am

Wind wrote:what do you think retro, should the new lay followers who have just heard the Dhamma do if their life and their family survival is base on continual hunting and fishing? I assume this scenerio is more common in the times of the Buddha as people don't have supermarkets and they live in tribes. So how did the Buddha advise them?


The Buddha was quite clear that taking another beings life (including animals) for the purpose of making a living (including subsistence farming) was NOT right livelihood. Not only did he discourage the act of taking their life, he also discouraged selling meat and even raising animals for the purpose of slaughter, as he considered those acts wrong livelihood as well.
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Mukunda » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:58 am

chownah wrote:Isn't there a Sutta where the Buddha tells a story about parents who kill and eat their child because it was the only way that any of them could survive.....maybe it is applicable to this thread.

Also, doesn't another Sutta mention a person who was a murderer and then became an arahant in the same life?
I guess that killing is not a show stopper.
chownah


The story about the parents is intended to show the proper attitude towards food; that its purpose should be for sustenance and not sense pleasure.

Angulamala was indeed a serial murderer. The often neglected parts of the story are (1) he was killing at the direction of his guru, (2) he ceased killing, then achieved arahantship, and (3) even as an arahant, he reaped the bitter fruit (vipakka) of his previous actions (kamma).
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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:05 am

Greetings,

Mukunda wrote:(3) even as an arahant, he reaped the bitter fruit (vipakka) of his previous actions (kamma).

Well, actually no, since vipaka is mental... but it's not really consequential to this topic.

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


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Re: What is the lay follower to do?

Postby Mukunda » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:51 am

He experienced the results of his actions, HOW he perceived or experienced them depends on his mental state.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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