Treating Fleas?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Treating Fleas?

Postby BobbyC » Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:29 pm

A friend of my posed a very good question today that I didn't have a ready answer for: How do Buddhists treat fleas?
I know we, naturally, wouldn't be able to kill them. But at the same time, it couldn't go untended. So what would be the correct method?

Many thanks guys,

Bob
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby cooran » Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:04 pm

Hello Bobby,

The thing to do is to prevent a flea infestation happening.

Lots of sites on the internet with good suggestions:

5 Solutions for Natural Flea Control
http://www.care2.com/greenliving/5-solu ... ntrol.html

with metta
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby salmon » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:31 am

To make fleas and ticks jump off our dogs, we used to use this homeopathic concoction of diluted lemongrass. It doesn't kill them but makes them leave the host coz they hate the smell. Lemongrass is great for shoo-ing mozzies away too! And it's got a nice tangy frangrance :)
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:40 am

when i was in Thailand i got some soup with some friends and they told me the reason lemongrass was in the soup is because it keeps the bugs away..
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:46 am

BobbyC wrote:A friend of my posed a very good question today that I didn't have a ready answer for: How do Buddhists treat fleas?
I know we, naturally, wouldn't be able to kill them. But at the same time, it couldn't go untended. So what would be the correct method?

Many thanks guys,

Bob
:yingyang:
Kill them.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby Ben » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:50 am

This thread is reminding me of a south park episode...

Anyone remember this one?
(Trailer only)


Watch the entire episode, the ending is very funny.
kind regards

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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby cooran » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:20 am

tiltbillings wrote:
BobbyC wrote:A friend of my posed a very good question today that I didn't have a ready answer for: How do Buddhists treat fleas?
I know we, naturally, wouldn't be able to kill them. But at the same time, it couldn't go untended. So what would be the correct method?

Many thanks guys,

Bob
:yingyang:
Kill them.

Hello Tilt,

Can you say some more please - on how your advice to a newbie fits with the Buddha's teachings of non-harming, keeping the Precepts, and the teaching about rebirth?

with metta
Chris
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---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 ---
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:49 am

cooran wrote:Hello Tilt,

Can you say some more please - on how your advice to a newbie fits with the Buddha's teachings of non-harming, keeping the Precepts, and the teaching about rebirth?

with metta
Chris
I had mice in my house chewing the wiring, which is an extreme fire hazard and very costly damage to fix. I could have tried to live trap them, but given their breeding potential and the likelihood of not catching them all, I killed them. It was either the mice or my house, dog, cats, lizard, and human inhabitants. Not much of a choice.

As for fleas. The little suckers carry disease, but let us say that one can drive them off of one's body without killing them, where are they going to go? If you are in your house and you do this, it is into the carpet or nooks and crannies where they will go on to to re-infest the inhabitants again. What about lice or scabies or bedbugs? You will have louse picking party where the participants sit around naked picking lice off of each other? Scabies and bed bugs can only be treated by killing them. I am not a big fan of personal live stock, given their potential for disease and great discomfort.

Sometimes we simply have to make a choice to act in such a way that seems to go against the precepts, but remember that life is predicated upon death. It is best we act in such a way to keep the death to a minimum, but death is going to happen by our very fact of living.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby alan » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:53 am

I offer my second Huzzah of the night.
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby cooran » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:53 am

Hello tilt,

Thanks for explaining. I have to say I am quite shocked. How is this action any different from someone who does not know the Buddha's Teachings.

I live where homes frequently have mice, rats, snakes, possums, cockroaches. At least, mine does from time to time. All of them - all - can be excluded, repelled, caught in humane non-harming traps, or discouraged/prevented from entering the home.

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 ---
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:02 am

cooran wrote:Hello tilt,

Thanks for explaining. I have to say I am quite shocked. How is this action any different from someone who does not know the Buddha's Teachings.
You live a life that is completely free of the death of others living creatures?

I live where homes frequently have mice, rats, snakes, possums, cockroaches. At least, mine does from time to time. All of them - all - can be excluded, repelled, caught in humane non-harming traps, or discouraged/prevented from entering the home.
Ideally, one can seal one's home such that unwanted beasties do not get in, but given that we had newly moved into the house and had no idea of mouse potential, we were unprepared for the rodent onslaught, and given the nature and extent of the damage and the number of mice involved, I had no problem with their demise.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby alan » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:05 am

I haven't found any reasons in the suttas to believe we should not kill bugs.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.6.09.than.html

Seems like a perfect opportunity to tell us all about why we should respect the lives of insects. But he didn't do it.
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby alan » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:08 am

He used the occasion to teach heedfulness, not respect for bugs.
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby cooran » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:13 am

Tilt said: You live a life that is completely free of the death of others living creatures?


From deliberately killing other beings? Yes, tilt.

Alan, the sutta you quote is about unintentional killing ~ a modern day example would be driving at night and killing insects on the road.

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 ---
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:16 am

cooran wrote:
Tilt said: You live a life that is completely free of the death of others living creatures?


From deliberately killing other beings? Yes, tilt.
But given that you know that it happens, you are not free from the death of other living creature.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby alan » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:25 am

Hi Cooran
I'll have to respectfully disagree. The sutta is about the Buddha's response to seeing insects mindlessly flying into a light. If I'm interpreting it correctly, he is comparing those bugs to people who act in a heedless manner.
I don't think there is much to take from this sutta in regards to unintentional killing.
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby cooran » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:29 am

tilt said: But given that you know that it happens, you are not free from the death of other living creature.

That is probably so tilt - but that is not what is being discussed. Unintentional/unknowing killing carries no blame.
The Precept is about refraining from deliberately choosing to take the life of another being - and, I am free from deliberately choosing to kill another living being - which brings akusala kamma.

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 ---
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby alan » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:35 am

Here's another translation. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.6.09.olen.html

Do we see the Buddha telling us how bad it is to kill insects? No.
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby cooran » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:36 am

Hello BobbyC,

This thread may also be of interest to you:

About not kill any living being
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=4893

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 ---
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Re: Treating Fleas?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:38 am

cooran wrote:
tilt said: But given that you know that it happens, you are not free from the death of other living creature.

That is probably so tilt - but that is not what is being discussed. Unintentional/unknowing killing carries no blame.
Once you know that a certain action is going to kill something, are you then faultless, whatever you think your intention might be?

The Precept is about refraining from deliberately choosing to take the life of another being - and, I am free from deliberately choosing to kill another living being - which brings akusala kamma.
You might be able to drive fleas off your body, but then you are depriving them of lunch, and then they die. It may not have been your intention to kill them directly, but you killed them nonetheless by depriving them of lunch because you your aversion to them. And what about scabies, or other parasites that can only be treated by killing them?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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