Do Buddhists value all life equal?

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Satori
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Do Buddhists value all life equal?

Postby Satori » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:52 pm

I was reading that Buddhhists think killing animals is wrong, so from this I inferred tht Buddhist regard animals and humans as equal.

Do Buddhists think it is wrong to kill ants? Do they value them the same as human beings or even their family? Is it just an ideal? Why do they have this ideal?

Even if we do accept this ideal, and try to put it into practic , I don't see how it is possible. As our very existance seems to be at the expense of other beings; even vegetarian lifestyle requires distruction of small animals.

I was also wondering if this belief , is linked to the Buddhist belief that everthing is empty or non-self.

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Do Buddhists value all life equal?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:19 pm

Hi, Satori

No, buddhists don't atribute the same value to human life as to animal life. The proof is in the Vinaya. A monk that kills a human being (or even just praises death of a human being) is automaticaly expelled from the Sangha, while if a monk kills an animal it is an ofense but the monk is not banned from the sangha.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

Satori
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Re: Do Buddhists value all life equal?

Postby Satori » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:26 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:Hi, Satori

No, buddhists don't atribute the same value to human life as to animal life. The proof is in the Vinaya. A monk that kills a human being (or even just praises death of a human being) is automaticaly expelled from the Sangha, while if a monk kills an animal it is an ofense but the monk is not banned from the sangha.


Thank you for that insightful reply. But in Buddhism is killing an amimal , even an ant , regarded as a serious wrongdoing? Even if it is not seen as bad as killing a human being.

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cooran
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Re: Do Buddhists value all life equal?

Postby cooran » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:44 pm

Hello Satori, all,

Getting the Message by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
‘’When asked if there was anything whose killing he approved of, the Buddha answered that there was only one thing: anger. In no recorded instance did he approve of killing any living being at all.’’
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ssage.html

You may find this general index at Access To Insight of assistance when trying to find what the Buddha taught on various subjects:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-subject.html

(I) In the Vinaya:
Harmlessness º Throughout its history Buddhism has been renowned for its tolerance and compassion towards all living beings and this is reflected in the Buddhist monks' Vinaya. Their rules cover situations of causing harm ranging from murder — which is universally accepted as a crime — to such things as destroying plant life.

MURDER
The third Defeater (Paaraajika) Offence deals with murder. The original story describes how some bhikkhus wrongly grasped the Buddha's meditation teaching on the loathsome aspects of the body[38] and, falling into wrong view, committed suicide or asked someone to end their lives for them. The rule can be summarized like this:
"Intentionally bringing about the untimely death of a human being, even if it is still a foetus, is [an offence of Defeat.]" (Summary Paar. 3; BMC p.78)

º A bhikkhu must not recommend killing, suicide or help arrange a murder.[39] Also, because in this rule a human being is defined as beginning with the human foetus, counting "from the time consciousness first arises in the womb," he must not advise or arrange an abortion.
There is no offence if death is caused accidentally or without intention.[40]

KILLING
The previous offence was one of Defeat for murder whereas this rule is one of Confession (paacittiya) for killing animals. It originally arose because Venerable Udaayin, a frequent delinquent, detested crows so much that he shot them with arrows and then displayed their cut-off heads.
"Deliberately killing an animal — or having it killed — is [an offence of Confession]."(Summary Paac. 61; BMC p.423)
'Animal' here is paano, literally 'having breath.' The Commentary explains that it includes living beings down to the size of a bedbug. Elsewhere the texts forbid the killing of "even an ant."

º One of the bhikkhu's requisites is a water filter. This is employed to prevent the killing of (visible) waterborne creatures when making use of water from a well or stream. Practically, this also leads bhikkhus to take extra care that they cover water jars or regularly change water so that mosquito larvae do not have opportunity to breed. This shows how the Vinaya Rule emphasizes care and forethought as 'preventive medicine.'

There are two rules concerned with bhikkhus and their use of water:
One of these offences was originally perpetrated by the notorious 'group-of-six' monks who used water that contained living beings. It can be summarized:
"Using water, knowing that it contains living beings that will die from one's use, is [an offence of Confession.]" (Paac. 62; BMC p.424)
In the second offence the monks of AA.lavii were doing repairs and 'sprinkled grass and clay' with water that they knew contained life. It is summarized:
"If a bhikkhu knows that water contains living beings but still pours it out onto grass or earth it is [an offence of Confession.] Also pouring — or having it poured — into such water anything that would kill the beings therein is [an offence of Confession.]" (Paac. 20; See BMC p.319)

Intention is an essential factor here. For example, if a bhikkhu only intends to sweep a path but accidentally kills ants in the process, there is no offence because it is not deliberate. However, ordering an animal to be killed (and it is) is an offence. (Also, if he suspects that that animal was killed to provide him with food, it is an offence to eat it.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#killing

Vinaya – Meat Eating
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .html#meat

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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