How bad is killing a mosquito?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Annapurna
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby Annapurna » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:43 pm

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Lazy_eye
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:25 pm

Yes, practically speaking we have to draw a line somewhere or we would be Jains.

The problem is that it remains something of a gray area whether micro-organisms fall under the category "sentient life" or not. As Individual pointed out, they also display evidence of intelligent behavior. So the fact that they are microscopic and require a host body as an ecosystem doesn't, in itself, settle the question.

As far as I know, the Buddha didn't say anything about this category of beings, so we have to extrapolate from what he did say. (If there' s a relevant sutta passage, hope someone will share it!)

If you or I take an antibiotic, then it seems we are actually fulfilling the criteria stated by TMingyur:

Intention: I want to remove the bacteria from my body
Correct perception: I know it is a living organism in there.
Affliction: it does not want to be removed (microorganisms have defensive and evasive behaviors)
Performance: I take the antibiotic
Culmniation: Bacteria is gone, I am better

I don't want to make too much of this topic since, as Anna said, it's probably not so important practically speaking. Still, if we are going to justify taking antibiotics, then why not kill mosquitoes that carry a disease? Why not put down a rabid dog? etc etc.

And the only answer I can come up with right now is that, as ordinary beings in samsara, we are going to face dilemmas like this from time to time. We may not be able to find a clear-cut answer, and we may not avoid generating kamma. Absolute purity/perfection is only feasible for those who have completely severed their attachment to samsara. Maybe someone like Dipa Ma could do it.

The rest of us, well, we just have to work on it to the best of our capacities.

LE
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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beeblebrox
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:48 pm


Individual
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby Individual » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:06 am

The best things in life aren't things.


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Annapurna
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby Annapurna » Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:15 pm

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Hanzze
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby Hanzze » Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:46 pm

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Annapurna
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby Annapurna » Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:25 pm

They itch, the stings. :evil:
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timmbuktwo
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby timmbuktwo » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:51 am

Mosquito's are living , so do not "kill" them. It is always easy thinking one way when you are at the top-tip of a pyramid only looking down, however , imagine the feeling when you look up from there and actually see another layer over you , then you may feel like what the others below you feel.

Who knows, maybe mosquito bites are actually beneficial .

Luke
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby Luke » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:35 pm


rainthebat
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby rainthebat » Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:51 pm

Folks, many of you may very well drive an automobile...

Are you aware that driving an automobile causes injury to, and kills many thousands of insects (mosquito size + or -) in one ride.

Butterflys are killed (gasp) by many an automobile... and on rainy nights - dare I say it - several frogs, snails, worms, slugs, peepers, eggs, larvae... there is a lot of self denial about this,

so don't worry

so much about killing a mosquitoes with the hand, try and think about what driving a vehicle or riding an airplane (but no monks fly in airplanes these days, do they!). The only way to never kill, is to never be born (which is actually a goal according to lots of Buddhist thought!)

Basically, killing an insect (think the though; try not to do), but if you must, trust that you are buddhist, and whatever the decision, it will be closer to the right decision than your average of the 6 billion people whom many are committing more severe Karma... like many who know their involved in shortening a large animal with electromagnetic spinal cord/ life power ability.

Sometimes even the Gods and Goddess' and asuras, may play with human life in probably "strange" ways such as killing and manipulating.

Altogether, there is not self, so just having a loving heart is as reasonable as one can expect nowadays.

:heart: :heart: :geek: :heart: :heart:
Last edited by rainthebat on Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rainthebat
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby rainthebat » Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:05 pm

. Most of us are small time murderers, most of us are still at least walking on ground where small insects and spiders may be crawling... I've yet to see a Nun or Monk that can hover (but it is claimed of being possible - surely they wouldn't want to attract that much overwhelming attention, if they did have that talent) :spy:

. The Buddha is neither coming, nor going ... no sentient being will ever be a Buddha, because a Buddha has transcended being a sentient being, and the birthing or dying perception it involves.

. Since I drive a car, my energy can not come close to that level, but I still agree with that line of thought. :o :alien:

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cooran
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby cooran » Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:43 am

---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 ---

Parth
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby Parth » Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:09 am

Dear rainthehat

The point is not how many get killed by an act but, that of intention, you do not drive a motorcar so that you kill several insects at a go, even a doctor while doing a surgery might end up killing a human being who otherwise may have lived a few more weeks but, that is not a negative karma. It is a negative karma only if you do it so as to harm others.

Even in this case the intent was to save his son rather than kill a mosquito, and the life of a normal human is possibly more important than that of a mosquito so fine I think the paternal feelings were more important. This may be a mixed karma bordering on positive in fact.

Metta

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zavk
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby zavk » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:21 am

Heh.... this is an issue that annoys my partner somewhat. When I say 'annoy', it is not as if she gets angry with me. She has very sensitive skin and is squirmish around some insects and bugs, so she clicks her tongue at me whenever I refuse to swat at them. But she understands and respects my reasons for not doing so, I must say.

Why do I refrain from killing mosquitoes, bugs, etc? I must say that my decision is not really based on a careful or thorough consideration of some of the very good points raised in this thread so far: issues about what qualifies as a sentient being, what qualifies as consciousness, the dynamics of kamma and rebirth, etc. To be sure, these issues are worth considering and thinking them through can help us get a better understanding of the Dhamma. However, if you have been around discussion forums long enough (and really you don't have to be at it for very long), I think you'll agree with me that there is no easy way to reach a consensus about such things. Debates about these issues then to go on and on, and in the process, they can sometimes generate feelings of annoyance and irritation amongst the participants, producing feelings of unwholesomeness. So this is partly one reason why, though I find these issues interesting, I do not usually dwell too much on them.

The main reason I choose to refrain from killing mosquitoes, bugs, etc, is NOT because I have figured out the answers to such questions. Rather, it is because each time I catch my urge to react blindly and stop myself from doing it, I EMBODY and ENACT my commitment to the Dhamma, to the precepts in particular. In that very brief moment when I choose to remain calm and equanimous, I LIVE the Dhamma; the Dhamma--and all the talk about non-violence, kindness, kamma, etc--become a living event rather than just concepts and propositions. In that moment, debates about sentient beings/consciousness/kamma/rebirth become somewhat less urgent in comparison to how I choose to act in THAT very moment: whether I want to embody wholesomeness or not.

Again, I must say that thinking through these issues can help us develop Right View. But in those moments when I'm confronting an annoying mosquito buzzing around my ear, my decision is oriented by Right Effort (which is about honouring my commitment to wholesomeness, to the precepts) more than anything else. Questions about the 'rightness' or wrongness' or the 'truthfulness' and 'falseness' of statements about consciousness, sentience, etc, take a back seat to whether I choose to EMBODY wholesomeness or not, so that I may LIVE the Dhamma rather than merely engage with it as a set of rules, statements, and propositions.

Now, if only my partner would stop giving me grief for being blasé about insects hanging out in the bathroom.... but I love her for it, nonetheless. :)

:anjali:
With metta,
zavk

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mikenz66
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:36 am

Great post zavk,

Luckily we don't have mosquitoes here. I've trained my partner to mostly catch flies with a butterfly net and take them outside. I remind her that she's supposed to be keeping the precepts, which she accepts, but she's less impressed by my suggestion that the flies "just want to be your friend"... :tongue:

:anjali:
Mike

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cooran
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby cooran » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:24 am

Hello all,

Mosquitos can easily be kept out of houses by installing mesh screens on houses in tropical and sub-tropical areas, or can be turned away by wearing repellent on the skin, or, if they get inside the house ... caught in cupped hands or a disc case and then released outside.
You do not have to kill another sentient being to ''save'' a child from being bitten.

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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Hanzze
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby Hanzze » Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:58 pm

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Annapurna
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby Annapurna » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:54 pm

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

phil
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby phil » Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:06 am

Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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tobes
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Re: How bad is killing a mosquito?

Postby tobes » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:09 am

I think it's also worth considering the positive side to all of this: the merit of saving the lives of little insects.

A little bug lands in your drinking water. Certain death! Every effort to escape is fruitless. Slowly the struggle becomes overwhelming......then a giant human hand offers a life raft/green leaf. Suddenly there is respite. For ten minutes on dry land there is no movement, too waterlogged, perhaps the hand was too late. But then the water dries up and the bug dances off into the night.....

How easy a gesture for that human hand! How wholesome an intention! How beautiful the action! How brilliant the result!

:namaste:


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