Riverbend wrote:Thank you for taking the time to answer. Isn't it very difficult to know what has a mind? An ant, for instance. How can we say it has a mind and isn't just responding to stimuli? Humans have a subjective self awareness. We act and ask questions about it. That's the difference between just responding and making decisions.
Well, with ants and other insects, I think they show varying responses to stimuli. If you move your fingetip into an ant's space, some will choose to run the opposite direction, some will turn 90 degrees and run that way, and some will probably bite your finger instead. To me, that shows a mind at work deciding, rightly or wrongly, about the best course of action, whereas plants will always grow toward the source of light and are not capable of choosing to grow away from it. This is probably not a very good analogy, but in general, yes, insects are considered sentient.
And yes, it can be difficult to tell in some cases if a being is sentient, and I think even some Buddhists disagree about exactly where to draw the line. But if we're unsure, we can always play it safe and refrain from killing it.
Riverbend wrote:But talking of ants, what would be the action of a Buddhist if confronted with thousands of ants in his kitchen where he keeps his food?
This exact question was asked and the majority of the responses were things like thoroughly cleaning the kitchen to remove the source of the attraction for the ants and I think there was something that ants don't like the smell of that was recommended to be used as a repellent, but I can't recall what it was.