Plants ~ Borderline Beings?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:20 pm

Stefan wrote:Why didn't the Buddha include the "plant realm" in his list of realms where one can be reborn into?


Excellent question. One which I have asked many times. We can never know and therefore whatever one might say would be a guess.

Interestingly, the same thing happened in the Torah, during the description of Noah's orders from The God of Abraham and Isaac: Take animals two by two and put them on an arc. God totally ignored the predominant life forms on Earth, which would have been destroyed by such a great flood described by Torah. It remains a perpetual curiosity.

Since Buddha was a Samasambuddha, knower of all things past, present, and future, he certainly knew about the true nature of plants. Perhaps it is that plants cannot comprehend human languages, just as we could not comprehend plant languages at the time. But we are learning today what the true plant capabilities are.

Remember, Buddha said to us that what he taught us was only a mere handful of everything that he knew, but that what he taught us was sufficient for us to end dukkha and for us to achieve nibbana in the here and now.

Perhaps there is an entire dhamma somewhere, written and communicated in plant language, which applies only to plants.

But this is pure conjecture. Perhaps we will know more when we achieve the ability to communicate better with plants. We are just learning.

What do you think. Your ideas are just as good as mine, or anybody else's along these lines.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Sumano
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Sumano » Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:42 pm

Perhaps there is an entire dhamma somewhere, written and communicated in plant language, which applies only to plants.


May all flowers,trees, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, and mosses attain Nibbana in this very life!
I am on the path, however not yet advanced. Any opinions or insights I share are meant entirely for discussion purposes and in cases where people might find them beneficial in whatever way. Since I am not advanced on the Path, I cannot guarantee that what I say will always necessarily be 100% true or in line with the Dhamma. However, having had an extremely interesting life with a wide variety of different (many of them deep) experiences, I hope that anything I share will be of use, provide food for thought, and inspire interesting and beneficial discussions.

Mettā to all! :anjali:

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Hanzze
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Hanzze » Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:42 pm

Dear friends,

I can not tell the happiness by reading this tread.

I am sure, that there some infos in the suttas. The higher teachings are given to monks, maybe the monk rules are useful:

The living beings are often in the rules of the vinaya like in house building or monastery building.

"bhūtagāmapātabyatāya, pācittiyaṃ."

Not to destroy plants. If a bhikkhu destroys or causes someone else to destroy plants that already reached their growing stage or completed their growth, he commits a pācittiya.

However, a bhikkhu who destroys a germ (root, stem, joint, bud or a seed) commits a fault but not a pācittiya. Concerning moss, being neither endowed of a bud, nor of leaves, it is considered as a germ. If, at the same time a root or a bud have grown out, it is already considered as a plant (or tree). By destroying a plant (or a tree), a bhikkhu commits the pācittiya 11. If a bhikkhu accidentally destroys small plants, he does not commit any fault.

Offering of fruits

In order to consume one of these plants or seeds (fruits and vegetables containing edible grains, roots, leaves, sugar cane, etc.), the vinaya foresees a way to make them permitted. There are three ways to make a fruit (or another plant) authorised:

1. Notch done with a nail.
2. Marking by means of fire (or by cooking, etc.)
3. Cutting with a knife.

In order to make the fruit permitted, a kappiya (hence the term), layman or sāmaṇera, by touching a fruit (or another plant) must first of all announce to a bhikkhu that this fruit is authorised and only after (or at the same time), he damages it by marking it with fire, a scratch with a nail, or even by peeling and by completely cutting it into slices, but this fruit should at least have a small notch (or a burn). If the fruit is cut before announcing that it is authorised, it is suggested to renotch it after this announcement.

Once the fruit is allowed, the kappiya offers it to the bhikkhu who must receive it (touching from the base) whilst the kappiya holds it, or else, by receiving it in the container in which it is, or perhaps on the table on which it is served.

When a bhikkhu is offered a non authorised fruit, he can request a kappiya to make it authorised by pronouncing the adequate formula, in pāḷi or in another language...

"kappiyaṃ karohi."

Please make this fruit authorised", "Could you make that this fruit become consumable", etc.

Before damaging the fruit (or by damaging it), the kappiya pronounces the adequate formula whether in pāḷi, or else in another language...

"kappiyaṃ bhante."

"Now being authorised, Venerable" or "You can eat it" or "It is ready to be consumed", etc.

If the fruits fit to be authorised are in large quantity, it is just sufficient to gather them in such a way that they all touch each other. Afterwards, by damaging one of these fruits, all the others are also made authorised.

If a non autorized fruit must be ground before being offered, as a matter of convenience, it is preferable that it is made authorised before grinding.

Once a fruit is made authorised, it remains as such forever. If an authorised fruit being offered to a bhikkhu is not eaten and the bhikkhu on purpose forsook it, this fruit can be re-offered to such or another bhikkhu another day. To that end, it doesn't need to be authorised a second time.

The fruits that need to be authorised by a kappiya are all those that contain edible seeds (strawberries, fresh peanuts, tomatoes...) or that can be damaged (grape, mandarins...) The cooked fruits in which the seeds are eaten no longer need to be authorised by a kappiya given the fact that the seeds are no longer fertile. The same applies to fruits whose seeds or grains are too young to be fertile.

The roots fit to give birth to a plant need a kappiya so as to be authorised (ginger, radish, carrots...)

The uncooked cereals also need a kappiya in order to be authorised (corn, wheat, millet, sunflower...)


even respect

"na harite agilāno uccāraṃ vā passāvaṃ vā kheḷaṃ vā karissāmīti sikkhā karaṇīyā."

Not to defecate, urinate, or spit on the grass or on green plants (unless a medical reason prevents doing otherwise). If a bhikkhu is in a place completely covered by vegetation, he must find an area where the grass is dry to do his needs.

http://en.dhammadana.org/sangha/vinaya/227.htm

I am sure, if somebody knows the original suttas where the rules are taken from, we will find more
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

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

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Hanzze
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Hanzze » Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:54 pm

just an inspiration

Dhammika Sutta: Dhammika

In[1] ancient times when seafaring merchants put to sea in ships, they took with them a bird to sight land. When the ship was out of sight of land, they released the bird; and it flew eastward and westward, northward and southward, upward and all around. And if the bird saw no land, it returned to the ship; but if the bird sighted land nearby, it was truly gone.[2]

...

Once upon a time[3] there was a royal fig tree called Steadfast, belonging to king Koravya, whose five outstretched branches provided a cool and pleasing shade. Its girth extended a hundred miles, and its roots spread out for forty miles. And the fruits of that tree were indeed great: As large as harvest baskets — such were its succulent fruits — and as clear as the honey of bees.

One portion was enjoyed by the king, along with his household of women; one portion was enjoyed by the army; one portion was enjoyed by the people of the town and village; one portion was enjoyed by brahmans and ascetics; and one portion was enjoyed by the beasts and birds. Nobody guarded the fruits of that royal tree, and neither did anyone harm one another for the sake of its fruits.

But then a certain man came along who fed upon as much of Steadfast's fruits as he wanted, broke off a branch, and wandered on his way. And the deva who dwelled in Steadfast thought to herself: "It is astonishing, it is truly amazing, that such an evil man would dare to feed upon as much of Steadfast's fruits as he wants, break off a branch, and then wander on his way! Now, what if Steadfast were in the future to bear no more fruit?" And so the royal fig tree Steadfast bore no more fruit.

So then king Koravya went up to where Sakka, chief among the gods, was dwelling, and having approached said this: "Surely you must know, sire, that Steadfast, the royal fig tree, no longer bears fruit?" And then Sakka created a magical creation of such a form that a mighty wind and rain came down and toppled the royal fig tree Steadfast, uprooting it entirely. And then the deva who dwelled in Steadfast grieved, lamented, and stood weeping on one side with a face full of tears.

And then Sakka, chief among the gods, went up to where the deva was standing, and having approached said this: "Why is it, deva, that you grieve and lament and stand on one side with a face full of tears?" "It is because, sire, a mighty wind and rain has come and toppled my abode, uprooting it entirely."

"And were you, deva, upholding the dhamma of trees when this happened?" "But how is it, sire, that a tree upholds the dhamma of trees?"

"Like this, deva: Root-cutters take the root of the tree; bark-strippers take the bark; leaf-pickers take the leaves; flower-pickers take the flowers; fruit-pickers take the fruits — and none of this is reason enough for a deva to think only of herself or become morose. Thus it is, deva, that a tree upholds the dhamma of trees."

"Then indeed, sire, I was not upholding the dhamma of trees when the mighty wind and rain came and toppled my abode, uprooting it entirely." "If it were the case, deva, that you were to uphold the dhamma of trees, it may be that your abode might be as it was before." "I will indeed, sire, uphold the dhamma of trees! May my abode be as it was before!"

And then Sakka, chief among the gods, created a magical creation of such a form that a mighty wind and rain came down and raised up the royal fig tree Steadfast, and its roots were entirely healed.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

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

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andre9999
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Re: Plant Life

Postby andre9999 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:10 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:What do you think. Your ideas are just as good as mine, or anybody else's along these lines.


I think that while they're almost certainly not sentient, the romantic notion of valuing all life is pleasant to me... I anthropomorphize pretty much everything, unfortunately.

There was something I read of Native Americans, which may not even be true, but the concept was that they prayed in thanks of the spirits of whatever they killed. They knew that they needed meat to survive, and they had incredible respect and thanks for everything it gave them in death. I don't know if this crossed over into plants, but I suspect that would have.

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:51 pm

Hanzze wrote:Dear friends,

I can not tell the happiness by reading this tread.

I am sure, that there some infos in the suttas. The higher teachings are given to monks, maybe the monk rules are useful:

The living beings are often in the rules of the vinaya like in house building or monastery building.

"bhūtagāmapātabyatāya, pācittiyaṃ."

Not to destroy plants. If a bhikkhu destroys or causes someone else to destroy plants that already reached their growing stage or completed their growth, he commits a pācittiya.

However, a bhikkhu who destroys a germ (root, stem, joint, bud or a seed) commits a fault but not a pācittiya. Concerning moss, being neither endowed of a bud, nor of leaves, it is considered as a germ. If, at the same time a root or a bud have grown out, it is already considered as a plant (or tree). By destroying a plant (or a tree), a bhikkhu commits the pācittiya 11. If a bhikkhu accidentally destroys small plants, he does not commit any fault.

Offering of fruits

In order to consume one of these plants or seeds (fruits and vegetables containing edible grains, roots, leaves, sugar cane, etc.), the vinaya foresees a way to make them permitted. There are three ways to make a fruit (or another plant) authorised:

1. Notch done with a nail.
2. Marking by means of fire (or by cooking, etc.)
3. Cutting with a knife.

In order to make the fruit permitted, a kappiya (hence the term), layman or sāmaṇera, by touching a fruit (or another plant) must first of all announce to a bhikkhu that this fruit is authorised and only after (or at the same time), he damages it by marking it with fire, a scratch with a nail, or even by peeling and by completely cutting it into slices, but this fruit should at least have a small notch (or a burn). If the fruit is cut before announcing that it is authorised, it is suggested to renotch it after this announcement.

Once the fruit is allowed, the kappiya offers it to the bhikkhu who must receive it (touching from the base) whilst the kappiya holds it, or else, by receiving it in the container in which it is, or perhaps on the table on which it is served.

When a bhikkhu is offered a non authorised fruit, he can request a kappiya to make it authorised by pronouncing the adequate formula, in pāḷi or in another language...

"kappiyaṃ karohi."

Please make this fruit authorised", "Could you make that this fruit become consumable", etc.

Before damaging the fruit (or by damaging it), the kappiya pronounces the adequate formula whether in pāḷi, or else in another language...

"kappiyaṃ bhante."

"Now being authorised, Venerable" or "You can eat it" or "It is ready to be consumed", etc.

If the fruits fit to be authorised are in large quantity, it is just sufficient to gather them in such a way that they all touch each other. Afterwards, by damaging one of these fruits, all the others are also made authorised.

If a non autorized fruit must be ground before being offered, as a matter of convenience, it is preferable that it is made authorised before grinding.

Once a fruit is made authorised, it remains as such forever. If an authorised fruit being offered to a bhikkhu is not eaten and the bhikkhu on purpose forsook it, this fruit can be re-offered to such or another bhikkhu another day. To that end, it doesn't need to be authorised a second time.

The fruits that need to be authorised by a kappiya are all those that contain edible seeds (strawberries, fresh peanuts, tomatoes...) or that can be damaged (grape, mandarins...) The cooked fruits in which the seeds are eaten no longer need to be authorised by a kappiya given the fact that the seeds are no longer fertile. The same applies to fruits whose seeds or grains are too young to be fertile.

The roots fit to give birth to a plant need a kappiya so as to be authorised (ginger, radish, carrots...)

The uncooked cereals also need a kappiya in order to be authorised (corn, wheat, millet, sunflower...)


even respect

"na harite agilāno uccāraṃ vā passāvaṃ vā kheḷaṃ vā karissāmīti sikkhā karaṇīyā."

Not to defecate, urinate, or spit on the grass or on green plants (unless a medical reason prevents doing otherwise). If a bhikkhu is in a place completely covered by vegetation, he must find an area where the grass is dry to do his needs.

http://en.dhammadana.org/sangha/vinaya/227.htm

I am sure, if somebody knows the original suttas where the rules are taken from, we will find more


Hanze, Thank you for this. I had read it long ago, but had forgotten how respectful of plants Buddha was in his instructions. Hopefully it will help others to understand the respect that Buddha had for plants. :anjali:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:56 pm

andrer9999 wrote:
Ron-The-Elder wrote:What do you think. Your ideas are just as good as mine, or anybody else's along these lines.


I think that while they're almost certainly not sentient, the romantic notion of valuing all life is pleasant to me... I anthropomorphize pretty much everything, unfortunately.

There was something I read of Native Americans, which may not even be true, but the concept was that they prayed in thanks of the spirits of whatever they killed. They knew that they needed meat to survive, and they had incredible respect and thanks for everything it gave them in death. I don't know if this crossed over into plants, but I suspect that would have.


Yes, I am attracted to the idea of giving thanks for all life which is sacrificed for our need to survive. As was stated repeatedly in another thread, "Veganism vs. Carnivorism", or something to that effect, all life must eat life to survive. We make our decisions as to what to eat on the basis of what we know and how we have been raised in our various cultures. My understanding is that we make choices based upon which choice causes the least amount of harm.

There is of course a third choice, which was also stated in the other thread: We may choose to sacrifice our own lives for the benefit of other living beings.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:03 pm

Hanzze wrote:just an inspiration

Dhammika Sutta: Dhammika

In[1] ancient times when seafaring merchants put to sea in ships, they took with them a bird to sight land. When the ship was out of sight of land, they released the bird; and it flew eastward and westward, northward and southward, upward and all around. And if the bird saw no land, it returned to the ship; but if the bird sighted land nearby, it was truly gone.[2]

...

Once upon a time[3] there was a royal fig tree called Steadfast, belonging to king Koravya, whose five outstretched branches provided a cool and pleasing shade. Its girth extended a hundred miles, and its roots spread out for forty miles. And the fruits of that tree were indeed great: As large as harvest baskets — such were its succulent fruits — and as clear as the honey of bees.

One portion was enjoyed by the king, along with his household of women; one portion was enjoyed by the army; one portion was enjoyed by the people of the town and village; one portion was enjoyed by brahmans and ascetics; and one portion was enjoyed by the beasts and birds. Nobody guarded the fruits of that royal tree, and neither did anyone harm one another for the sake of its fruits.

But then a certain man came along who fed upon as much of Steadfast's fruits as he wanted, broke off a branch, and wandered on his way. And the deva who dwelled in Steadfast thought to herself: "It is astonishing, it is truly amazing, that such an evil man would dare to feed upon as much of Steadfast's fruits as he wants, break off a branch, and then wander on his way! Now, what if Steadfast were in the future to bear no more fruit?" And so the royal fig tree Steadfast bore no more fruit.

So then king Koravya went up to where Sakka, chief among the gods, was dwelling, and having approached said this: "Surely you must know, sire, that Steadfast, the royal fig tree, no longer bears fruit?" And then Sakka created a magical creation of such a form that a mighty wind and rain came down and toppled the royal fig tree Steadfast, uprooting it entirely. And then the deva who dwelled in Steadfast grieved, lamented, and stood weeping on one side with a face full of tears.

And then Sakka, chief among the gods, went up to where the deva was standing, and having approached said this: "Why is it, deva, that you grieve and lament and stand on one side with a face full of tears?" "It is because, sire, a mighty wind and rain has come and toppled my abode, uprooting it entirely."

"And were you, deva, upholding the dhamma of trees when this happened?" "But how is it, sire, that a tree upholds the dhamma of trees?"

"Like this, deva: Root-cutters take the root of the tree; bark-strippers take the bark; leaf-pickers take the leaves; flower-pickers take the flowers; fruit-pickers take the fruits — and none of this is reason enough for a deva to think only of herself or become morose. Thus it is, deva, that a tree upholds the dhamma of trees."

"Then indeed, sire, I was not upholding the dhamma of trees when the mighty wind and rain came and toppled my abode, uprooting it entirely." "If it were the case, deva, that you were to uphold the dhamma of trees, it may be that your abode might be as it was before." "I will indeed, sire, uphold the dhamma of trees! May my abode be as it was before!"

And then Sakka, chief among the gods, created a magical creation of such a form that a mighty wind and rain came down and raised up the royal fig tree Steadfast, and its roots were entirely healed.


Thank your for this, Hanzze.

May Sakka restore all deforested regions of The Earth.
May all Devas have their homes restored, due to their honoring The Dhamma of their trees. :anjali:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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andre9999
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Re: Plant Life

Postby andre9999 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:11 pm

Hanzze wrote:Dear friends,

I can not tell the happiness by reading this tread.

I am sure, that there some infos in the suttas. The higher teachings are given to monks, maybe the monk rules are useful:

The living beings are often in the rules of the vinaya like in house building or monastery building.

http://en.dhammadana.org/sangha/vinaya/227.htm

I am sure, if somebody knows the original suttas where the rules are taken from, we will find more


This rule is taken out of context, which makes it practically meaningless. You can find the context here:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/bmc1/bmc1.ch08-2.html#Pc11

"A certain Āḷavī bhikkhu was chopping down a tree. The devatā living in the tree said to the bhikkhu, 'Venerable sir, do not chop down my home to build a home for yourself.' The bhikkhu, disregarding her, kept right on chopping and injured the arm of the devatā's child. The devatā thought: 'What if I were to kill this bhikkhu right here?' Then another thought occurred to her: 'But no, that wouldn't be proper... What if I were to tell the Blessed One of what has happened?' So she went to the Blessed One and... told him of what had happened.

"'Very good, devatā, very good. It's very good that you didn't kill the bhikkhu. If you had killed him today, you would have produced much demerit for yourself. Now go, devatā. Over there is a vacant tree. Go into it.' (The Commentary adds here that the tree, being in Jeta's Grove, was a definite move up for the devatā. She had a front-row seat for overhearing the Buddha's teachings well into the night; unlike other lesser devas she wasn't pushed out to the far reaches of the galaxy when large groups of major devas met with the Buddha; and when the Four Great Kings came to attend to the Buddha, they always made a point of visiting her before leaving. However:)

"People criticized and complained and spread it about, 'How can these Sakyan-son monks cut down trees and have them cut down? They are mistreating one-facultied life.'"


Thanissaro Bhikkhu states that "the reason this rule was laid down in the first place was to prevent bhikkhus from offending people who held to the animist belief that regarded plants as one-facultied life having the sense of touch."

Literalist interpretations of ancient religious texts is rarely useful, in my opinion.

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Re: Plant Life

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:27 pm

ander999 wrote: Thanissaro Bhikkhu states that "the reason this rule was laid down in the first place was to prevent bhikkhus from offending people who held to the animist belief that regarded plants as one-facultied life having the sense of touch."

Literalist interpretations of ancient religious texts is rarely useful, in my opinion.


Thank you for the link, ander.

Obviously modern biological, botanical, and ecological science has shown that plants are not one-facultied. Another example of how ignorance causes dukkha.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Re: Plant Life

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:07 am

Removed because it violated TOS
Last edited by BubbaBuddhist on Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Hanzze
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Hanzze » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:36 am

Dear andrer9999,

thanks for sharing. As soon people make rules, it has the interest to keep something alive, make it join able for others who do not understand yet. In the same way the Buddha also never teaches to abstain form meat or to eat meat. He also did not teach to have children, or don't have children. He just told about beings and not harming.

If one tells that it is only like that, it would be the next disaster.

I think it is good to follow just the precepts, and the 8fold path. The rest of the told Dhamma is just one hint and the force to look for your self, the next hint (inspiration) and look for your self. Not harming as much as possible and your past karma allows. Or directly walking the safe path that was worked out, with its clear roles. Maybe to bring that up is just a good remembrance for somebody already had leaved the household. You know there is so much like to build and help... which is causing so much suffering.

I am sure that there are more suttas regarding plants.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

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

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Re: Plant Life

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:04 am

Greetings,

Just a gentle reminder that this is the General Theravada discussion forum, so if we could keep this in mind when presenting further references or opinions that would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

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Hanzze
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Hanzze » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:12 am

Kimsuka Sutta: The Riddle Tree
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 1998–2011
Alternate translation: Walshe

A certain monk went to another monk and, on arrival, said to him, "To what extent, my friend, is a monk's vision said to be well-purified?"

"When a monk discerns, as it actually is, the origination & passing away of the six media of sensory contact, my friend, it is to that extent that his vision is said to be well-purified."

The first monk, dissatisfied with the other monk's answer to his question, went to still another monk and, on arrival, said to him, "To what extent, my friend, is a monk's vision said to be well-purified?"

"When a monk discerns, as it actually is, the origination & passing away of the five clinging-aggregates, my friend, it is to that extent that his vision is said to be well-purified."

The first monk, dissatisfied with this monk's answer to his question, went to still another monk and, on arrival, said to him, "To what extent, my friend, is a monk's vision said to be well-purified?"

"When a monk discerns, as it actually is, the origination & passing away of the four great elements [earth, water, wind, & fire], my friend, it is to that extent that his vision is said to be well-purified."

The first monk, dissatisfied with this monk's answer to his question, went to still another monk and, on arrival, said to him, "To what extent, my friend, is a monk's vision said to be well-purified?"

"When a monk discerns, as it actually is, that whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation, my friend, it is to that extent that his vision is said to be well-purified."

The first monk, dissatisfied with this monk's answer to his question, then went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he [reported to the Blessed One his conversations with the other monks. The Blessed One then said:]

"Monk, it's as if there were a man who had never seen a riddle tree.[1] He would go to another man who had seen one and, on arrival, would say to him, 'What, my good man, is a riddle tree like?"

"The other would say, 'A riddle tree is black, my good man, like a burnt stump.' For at the time he saw it, that's what the riddle tree was like.

"Then the first man, dissatisfied with the other man's answer, went to still another man who had seen a riddle tree and, on arrival, said to him, 'What, my good man, is a riddle tree like?'

"The other would say, 'A riddle tree is red, my good man, like a lump of meat.' For at the time he saw it, that's what the riddle tree was like.

"Then the first man, dissatisfied with this man's answer, went to still another man who had seen a riddle tree and, on arrival, said to him, 'What, my good man, is a riddle tree like?'

"The other would say, 'A riddle tree is stripped of its bark, my good man, and has burst pods, like an acacia tree.' For at the time he saw it, that's what the riddle tree was like.

"Then the first man, dissatisfied with this man's answer, went to still another man who had seen a riddle tree and, on arrival, said to him, 'What, my good man, is a riddle tree like?'

"The other would say, 'A riddle tree has thick foliage, my good man, and gives a dense shade, like a banyan.' For at the time he saw it, that's what the riddle tree was like.

"In the same way, monk, however those intelligent men of integrity were focused when their vision became well purified is the way in which they answered.

"Suppose, monk, that there were a royal frontier fortress with strong walls & ramparts and six gates. In it would be a wise, experienced, intelligent gatekeeper to keep out those he didn't know and to let in those he did. A swift pair of messengers, coming from the east, would say to the gatekeeper, 'Where, my good man, is the commander of this fortress?' He would say, 'There he is, sirs, sitting in the central square.' The swift pair of messengers, delivering their accurate report to the commander of the fortress, would then go back by the route by which they had come. Then a swift pair of messengers, coming from the west... the north... the south, would say to the gatekeeper, 'Where, my good man, is the commander of this fortress?' He would say, 'There he is, sirs, sitting in the central square.' The swift pair of messengers, delivering their accurate report to the commander of the fortress, would then go back by the route by which they had come.

"I have given you this simile, monk, to convey a message. The message is this: The fortress stands for this body — composed of four elements, born of mother & father, nourished with rice & barley gruel, subject to constant rubbing & abrasion, to breaking & falling apart. The six gates stand for the six internal sense media. The gatekeeper stands for mindfulness. The swift pair of messengers stands for tranquillity (samatha) and insight (vipassana). The commander of the fortress stands for consciousness. The central square stands for the four great elements: the earth-property, the liquid-property, the fire-property, & the wind-property. The accurate report stands for Unbinding (nibbana). The route by which they had come stands for the noble eightfold path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

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

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Hanzze
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Hanzze » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:17 am

Gilana Sutta: Sick
(Citta the Householder's Last Hours)
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 1998–2011
Alternate translation: Walshe

On that occasion Citta the householder was diseased, in pain, severely ill. Then a large number of garden devas, forest devas, tree devas, and devas inhabiting herbs, grasses, & forest giants assembled and said to him: "Make a wish, householder: 'In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!'"

When this was said, Citta the householder said to the garden devas, forest devas, tree devas, and devas inhabiting herbs, grasses, & forest giants: "Even that is inconstant; even that is impermanent; one must abandon even that when one passes on."

When this was said, Citta the householder's friends & companions, relatives and kinsmen, said to him: "Steady your mindfulness, master. Don't ramble."

"What did I say that you say to me: 'Steady your mindfulness, master. Don't ramble'?"

"You said: 'Even that is inconstant; even that is impermanent; one must abandon even that when one passes on.'"

"That was because garden devas, forest devas, tree devas, and devas inhabiting herbs, grasses, & forest giants have assembled and said to me: 'Make a wish, householder: "In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!"' And I said to them: 'Even that is inconstant; even that is impermanent; one must abandon even that when one passes on.'"

"But what compelling reason do those garden devas, forest devas, tree devas, and devas inhabiting herbs, grasses, & forest giants see, master, that they say to you, 'Make a wish, householder: "In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!"'?"

"It occurs to them: 'This Citta the householder is virtuous, of admirable character. If he should wish: "In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!" — then, as he is virtuous, this wish of his would succeed because of the purity of his virtue. A righteous one, he will wield righteous power.'[1] Seeing this compelling reason, they assembled and said: 'Make a wish, householder: "In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!"' And I said to them: 'Even that is inconstant; even that is impermanent; one must abandon even that when one passes on.'"

"Then, master, instruct us, too."

"Then you should train yourselves: 'We will be endowed with verified confidence in the Buddha: "Indeed, the Blessed One [the Buddha] is worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the cosmos, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed." "'We will be endowed with verified confidence in the Dhamma: "The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves."

"'We will be possessed of verified confidence in the Sangha: "The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced well... who have practiced straight-forwardly... who have practiced methodically... who have practiced masterfully — in other words, the four types [of noble disciples] when taken as pairs, the eight when taken as individual types — they are the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples: worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the incomparable field of merit for the world."

"'Whatever there may be in our family that can be given away, all that will be shared unstintingly with virtuous ones who are of admirable character.' That's how you should train yourselves."

Then, having enjoined his friends & colleagues, his relatives & kinsmen, to place confidence in the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha; having exhorted them to undertake generosity, Citta the householder passed away.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

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

Individual
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Individual » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:07 pm

I say this is an imponderable... but here's an odd thought... :stirthepot:

In the Aggañña sutta, devas adopted grosser forms. After adopting a gross form, they couldn't just go back to being luminous devas. It involves work -- mindfulness and morality.

And it's been said that devas can inhabit plant-life.

Well, if a gandhabba descends into the womb to take the form of a human, why is that called "rebirth" but when other devas adopt the form of a plant, it is called "inhabiting"? Do these plant-inhabiting devas come and go as they please (in plants already born), or do they enter in a similar manner that gandhabbas do (entering at conception)? If I trim a deva-inhabited plant, does the deva still inhabit the stems and leaves I remove, or only the main part? For plants which can reproduce asexually, if you divide one plant into two, four, eight, sixteen, etc., an infinite number, does the deva inhabit them all? When and how could they leave?

Is there something separate inside the plant (certainly not a self!) which makes it worthy of being called inhabiting rather than rebirth? Yet if it is intentional action with result, couldn't it still be called rebirth? Do devas that inhabit plants retain any special abilities? If not, why shouldn't it be called rebirth and if so, can't plant-inhabiting devas fend for themselves and leave the plants upon sensing imminent danger?

And if devas inhabit these plants, what would be the difference between a plant that is inhabited as opposed to a plant that is not inhabited? Could deva-inhabited plants walk and talk, like the Ents of Tolkien novels? Would deva-inhabited plants feel pain but other plants wouldn't? Without having different material faculties, on what basis is there a difference in feeling?

A very smart person could definitely probe this thing and I do think it's interesting... It's not necessarily enough to just dogmatically assert, "This is what the Buddha taught," without providing any basis. You don't admit you don't know. You don't answer the question. Because the details aren't in the suttas -- what's there is just to help you end suffering, not to know everything about everything. You quote the Buddha, but because of the Simsapa Sutta, you don't know if there are actually complexities about rebirth in which one might see plants in a different way... It's just that such discussion and investigation is not conducive to liberation, to the end of suffering. Because if you consider plants living beings, you can't eat. And if you can't eat, you can't practice dhamma. I wouldn't see it as being more complicated than that. And I see no reason to pick and choose between honoring the original teachings of the Buddha and honoring the reasonable investigation of people today. I'd honor both and denigrate neither. :)
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Hanzze
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:33 am

Dear Individual,

thanks for your post, it could be reason why there is no clear statement that to do not harm beings, better look is it has sentiments or not. So what if we eat fruits (without destroying the seed) drinking milk and eat a lot of cheese?
I guess it is better to be just not involved and except alms or the normal way of live.

Regarding the devas: As people take everything from the nature, one day it might be so normal and it grows to a taking without respect. So maybe the devas are just protector and maybe only in a literary way. So today I guess it is good to point at live and its close connection to all other live in a scientist way.

It is just a side story, but we had/have always a lot of with people making business in cutting wood. There are really made illnesses. I also never had seen somebody "obsessed" before. Well there are many thinks which looks strange and miraculous but in fact they are not. Sometimes they grow into superstition, sometimes they are lost in rational thinking. Its always a search for the middle and I guess it is also good to do not disagree with thinks we can not see because our kind of living does not train to look for fine substantial phenomenas. It is more the: "What nonsense, that do not exist." from childhood, that destroys such kind of sense, like seeing aura what plants also have. As I was told.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

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

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Hanzze
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:04 am

Just an inspiration from "The book of protection" by Piyadassi Thera maybe a little oftopic:
"Mind not only makes sick, it also cures. An optimistic patient has more chance of getting well than a patient who is worried and unhappy The recorded instances of faith healing includes cases in which even organic diseas were cured almost instantaneously (2)"

(2) For the physical basis of resistance, see The nature of Disese by J.E.R. McDonagh, F.R.C.S

"Dr. Bernd Gard of McGill University in Montreal painstakingly proved if a psychic healer held water in a sealed flask and this water was later poured on barley seeds, the plants significantly outgrew untreated seeds. But- and this is the intriguing part - if depressed psychiatric patients held the flasks of water, the growth of seeds was retarded.
Dr. Grad suggests, that there appeared to be some "x-factor" or energy that flows from the human body to affect growth of plats and animal. A person's mood affected this energy. This previously unacknowledged "energy" has the widest implications for medical science, from healing to lab tests, grad says"(1)

(1) Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, Sheila Ostrander & Lynn Schroeder; Bantam Books, USA, p 224; also read chapter on "Healing with Thought", p. 293

...If that be so, not much thinking is necessary to draw the logical inference that mind can influence mind...


(The book of protection gives the "standard" protection in reciting suttas like the "metta sutta")

What ever a plants mind can be, does a mind make a living being? A will? Or just flowing energy?
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

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

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budo
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Re: Plant Life

Postby budo » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:50 am

To answer Individual's question about inhibition vs birth,

Perhaps because plants are not born? Do plants have sex? Are there female and male plants? Perhaps this is why in Noah's arc, as Ron brought up earlier, God did not mention plants. Perhaps because they are not born, they are not considered sentient. If plants are born, at what point are they no longer a seed but a plant? As for humans, at one point in the womb does the spermed egg become sentient? When the brain forms? Where is the brain of the plant? When does it form? If a human birth fails before the brain is developed, is it still death because the human was yet to be born? If sentient means consciousness does that mean humans die if they become brain-dead or a vegetable state, but their bodies are still alive? At one point is one considered born and at one point is one considered dead? If in the future one is able to replace their whole bodies but keep the brain, are they a different person or the same person?

Ron can you answer any of those questions?
“An effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely.” - George Orwell

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Hanzze
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Hanzze » Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:26 am

Budo,

is that serious. In german language one says, when explaining sex to children or with people who are shy to talk about "Lets start with flower's and bee's"

So lets start with it :-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_sexuality

What makes you believe that mind is located in the part that is called brain? There is body and mind.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

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


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