Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby marc108 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:50 pm

Ive been giving vegetable gardening a serious crack this year and have realize just how difficult pest control is while adhering to the first precept. Large pests like slugs, snails and worms can easily be picked off but microscopic bugs & eggs that can easily decimate an entire garden seems to be impossible to control without killing? Id be interested to hear from any gardeners that maintain the 1st precept and how they have dealt with pests?
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
User avatar
marc108
 
Posts: 464
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:10 pm

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby SDC » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:03 pm

Marc, this is my first year as well. I haven't run into many issues as of yet, but it is definitely on my mind. I have a good deal of ant hills between my rows that I make sure not to step on or disturb while I’m weeding and loosening the soil. They don’t seem to be doing any damage.

I have already decided that I won't be doing anything to intentionally kill any pests, so hopefully whatever issues I do have can be handled otherwise.

I would also interested in any non-violent solutions.
User avatar
SDC
 
Posts: 1023
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm
Location: North Jersey

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby daverupa » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:31 pm

The Dhamma Encyclopedia entry on this issue is interesting for any number of reasons, but here now: just about every instance of "wealthy householder" in the Suttas means some sort of farmer (/merchant), and yet the killing of pests never seems to garner any discussion or advice despite farmers being par for the course c.400 BCE India.

Was pest control nonexistent - aside from chasing crows? Or is this an ethical mountain being made of a moral molehill?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4178
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:40 pm

marc108 wrote:Ive been giving vegetable gardening a serious crack this year and have realize just how difficult pest control is while adhering to the first precept. Large pests like slugs, snails and worms can easily be picked off but microscopic bugs & eggs that can easily decimate an entire garden seems to be impossible to control without killing? Id be interested to hear from any gardeners that maintain the 1st precept and how they have dealt with pests?

Have you tried encouraging the natural predators?
it isn't totally keeping the precept, but it isn't specifically breaking it either as nature is simply taking its course, and has the benefit of keeping chemicals to a minimum!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5751
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby marc108 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:46 pm

Citta,

I havent brought any in on purpose, but 2 small toads came into the garden & got too big to leave... they wiped out the entire population of slugs and snails. before the toads, my gf and i would collect snails and slugs every single night and then drop them on the other side of my condo complex. :woohoo:
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
User avatar
marc108
 
Posts: 464
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:10 pm

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby Ben » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:50 pm

Hi marc and SDC

Earth-worms are your allies. They break down rotting vegetation and excrete castings which is rich in nutrients for growing plants.
I don't worry about pests. Some types of vegetables are eaten by pests and others aren't. But then, I don't completely keep my vegetable garden weed free either.
You may wish to investigate permaculture groups in your area as they will be the best source of advice for naturally controlling pests in your geographic and climatic region. Some pests, such as snails can be controlled using a barrier method such as spent coffee grounds. I also cut soft-drink bottles in half and place the wide end over delicate seedlings to also protect against snails and other pests. Pest-birds can be controlled by draping bird-net over trees and vegetables. Companion planting can also be used to reduce the prevalence of some insect pests. I also have to contend with possums, rabbits, sheep and the neighbour's turkeys, so my vegetable garden is surrounded by a chicken-wire fence with an electrified wire. The electrified wire doesn't kill - just discourages entry by way of a shock.
I'll be interested to know how you both go with your gardening and I hope your efforts reward you with a bounteous harvest!
with metta,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16145
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby Hanzze » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:07 am

Where does all that protecting material come from?

All these ideas are nice, but at they end do not make a different. I find gardening very useful, especial for people tend not to see the work and victims till we come to food. And at least one would act much more responsible as normal and much mindfulness and patient is needed to do it well.

I guess there are some cases, one would be able to observe the 1st precept well, and there are cases where one would be not able.

Generally the Instructions to Rahula are very useful to learn and walk on.
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 _()_
User avatar
Hanzze
 
Posts: 1906
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:47 pm
Location: Cambodia

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby manas » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:41 am

The first precept means not to intentionally take the life of any living being, so if we are to walk the Path of Dhamma, there can't be any compromise on that. Even the tiniest aphid is a living, feeling being, wishing life and fearing death. As I understand it, not only should we not kill it, we should handle it with care if removing it, so as not to hurt the creature. And yes, I do like to grow things in my backyard, so I'm not just an 'armchair onlooker'. My philosophy is, grow enough so there's enough left over that the pests can't get to first. But yeah, permaculture is the best way, as Ben wrote there are so many simple and natural ways to protect our food plants that don't require us to intentionally kill anything.

:anjali:
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2129
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:30 am

marc108 wrote:Citta,

I havent brought any in on purpose, but 2 small toads came into the garden & got too big to leave... they wiped out the entire population of slugs and snails. before the toads, my gf and i would collect snails and slugs every single night and then drop them on the other side of my condo complex. :woohoo:

Yeah that is the sort of thing I mean, make the place a little more enticing for them, not bring them in deliberately, although as you have their food, it may just be a matter of time.

I did hear once that copper is good to keep slugs & snails out of the plants, and there is a special tape you can get for it, but don't know how efferctive it would be?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5751
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby Hanzze » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:50 am

Dear Cittasanto,

"not bring them in deliberately" but accept the benefit you would gain from it, if there are more predators of the unwelcome ones... Or what exactly did you mean by it?
I am not sure if we should be happy if things take there ways even if they might benefit us. I guess its better to reflect on the circle we are in.

Collecting the snails and slugs every single night was for sure a good practice of compassion as well as mindfulness. Of cause leave it its ways is good, but then the whole.

I guess deliberately sometimes has many levels but its good to uncover the next.
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 _()_
User avatar
Hanzze
 
Posts: 1906
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:47 pm
Location: Cambodia

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:12 am

Id be interested to hear from any gardeners that maintain the 1st precept and how they have dealt with pests?


I told myself when I started growing a small proportion of my own food several years ago that I would not under any circumstances break that first precept. Like other posters here, I protect plants with physical barriers, and remove the slugs and snails. (I tell myself they will be happier in that field over the fence!). But the bottom line is that if a plant does not thrive under such conditions, then I don't grow it.

Gradually my efforts have become more productive under this regime.

One important lesson this has taught me is that there is no way I could be self-sufficient under these conditions. As someone who has been vegan since 1984, I live because others (commercial growers and market-gardeners) do the killing for me. There is something almost epically futile about picking broad beans without crushing any of the black-fly that are "sharing" the plant with me, or carefully removing dozens of tiny worms off the lid of the composter so I don't crush them. One rainy night I was hunting for slugs with a torch and felt the tell-tale crunch as I accidentally trod on a snail. "Good", I thought, "that's one less of the little blighters, and I never even intended to kill it!!"
User avatar
Sam Vara
 
Posts: 1003
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby jason c » Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:38 am

in order to maintain our carcasses we must eat one form of life or another. much killing is required. try and grow food on your own, do not shop at a grocery store. you will soon realize this is true. the carrot you pull from the ground was enjoying its life, but we pull it from the ground and eat it. it was living just the same as the snails in your garden why give less concern to it. take and grow food knowing that it is a necessity for your survival. use the food you ingest to walk the path to enlightenment, take only what you need. appreciate all the hard work that goes into growing the food we consume each day, do not feel we are better because we did not spray the pesticides, be thankful that there are people growing food for our needs. but by all means try for ourselves to grow our own food, it will help us to appreciate the hard work and sacrifice of others.
observe the first precept

metta,
jason
jason c
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon May 21, 2012 11:41 am

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:20 am

The Jain practice of sustained examination of one's own prolonged starvation-suicide is one attempt to deal with the fact that a human being exists at a cost to life. That the Buddhist practice is so different from the Jain one seems due to the fact that the ideal food structure is one of grains & other grown foods, and with the elimination of animal foodstuffs the problem would revolve around insects; animals (as opposed to insects) as a group come to be prioritized differently under this ethic.

One does what one can, but at a certain level we ought to say that sustained ahimsa makes unintended death-of-insect a wholly minor affair; getting hung up on it (upadana) seems to assuredly miss the forest for the trees.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4178
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby Ben » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:00 pm

Well said, Dave!
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16145
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby Hanzze » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:17 pm

daverupa wrote:The Jain practice of sustained examination of one's own prolonged starvation-suicide is one attempt to deal with the fact that a human being exists at a cost to life. That the Buddhist practice is so different from the Jain one seems due to the fact that the ideal food structure is one of grains & other grown foods, and with the elimination of animal foodstuffs the problem would revolve around insects; animals (as opposed to insects) as a group come to be prioritized differently under this ethic.

One does what one can, but at a certain level we ought to say that sustained ahimsa makes unintended death-of-insect a wholly minor affair; getting hung up on it (upadana) seems to assuredly miss the forest for the trees.

I guess while gardening one is far away of practicing Jain as well as the recommended Buddhist practice (in regard of securest livelihood). If we start on such a point tho say "a unintended(*) death-of-insect a wholly minor affair", we might not reach or even strive to reach an proper livelihood.

(*) The word unintended is very good useable for excuses.

What ever livelihood we are following, i guess this refection is something that clears the forest step by step, and gardening is a very good training (there are some who have told real good insights and experianses)

"Whenever you want to do a bodily action, you should reflect on it: 'This bodily action I want to do — would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Would it be an unskillful bodily action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it would lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful bodily action with painful consequences, painful results, then any bodily action of that sort is absolutely unfit for you to do. But if on reflection you know that it would not cause affliction... it would be a skillful bodily action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then any bodily action of that sort is fit for you to do.

"While you are doing a bodily action, you should reflect on it: 'This bodily action I am doing — is it leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Is it an unskillful bodily action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it is leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both... you should give it up. But if on reflection you know that it is not... you may continue with it.

"Having done a bodily action, you should reflect on it: 'This bodily action I have done — did it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Was it an unskillful bodily action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it led to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it was an unskillful bodily action with painful consequences, painful results, then you should confess it, reveal it, lay it open to the Teacher or to a knowledgeable companion in the holy life. Having confessed it... you should exercise restraint in the future. But if on reflection you know that it did not lead to affliction... it was a skillful bodily action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then you should stay mentally refreshed & joyful, training day & night in skillful mental qualities.

MN 61


As soon as we might find a higher propose for our well known failures we would simply shut the door to walk further on. We can reach very high mindfulness and minimal harming gardening skills, but it has it's limits (which are not dominated by worldly issues) and this makes this tradition much different to others and leads to the door everybody needs to go through if he likes to reach the offshore. Step by step, according to ones karmic possibilities but never stopping to work and observe intentions and there effects.
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 _()_
User avatar
Hanzze
 
Posts: 1906
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:47 pm
Location: Cambodia

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:52 pm

Hanzze wrote:If we start on such a point tho say "a unintended(*) death-of-insect a wholly minor affair", we might not reach or even strive to reach an proper livelihood.


This is a slippery slope fallacy. The ethic as set out rests on "sustained ahimsa", a component of right intention, therefore ultimately supporting right livelihood.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4178
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:22 pm

EM (Effective Micro-organism) is good for pest & disease control, added benefit is it also discourages rodents.
http://www.agritech.tnau.ac.in/org_farm ... anism.html
scroll down a little there is a recipe for the pest control. you can also get a drink called EMX which is good for health apparently, I have had this once, however I have heard good things about it regarding both uses.

There was a small scale production of it where I was, but I left before it was finished.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5751
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby danieLion » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:50 am

I think passages about nutriment, like MN 9: 9-12, are relevant.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby Hanzze » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:51 am

daverupa wrote:
Hanzze wrote:If we start on such a point tho say "a unintended(*) death-of-insect a wholly minor affair", we might not reach or even strive to reach an proper livelihood.


This is a slippery slope fallacy. The ethic as set out rests on "sustained ahimsa", a component of right intention, therefore ultimately supporting right livelihood.

If it is put also into action and is not just a thought construction which is based on a kind of discrimination (needed, must...). Training precepts are training precepts, and when we are able to rest on a livelihood which is not equal with that holly live, than we might have made our ways around the path. Of cause it could be that we have a lot of old merits, but they will not last.
"sustained ahimsa" with knife and axe in the hand is a nice idea, but I guess it will stay just an idea (or a non-dual illusion some sects have developed). We can easily dismantle our thoughts when we think on taken what is not given as this goes mostly hand in hand. I guess there the christian influence of "that is your earth, make something out of it" often interplays with thoughts.
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 _()_
User avatar
Hanzze
 
Posts: 1906
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:47 pm
Location: Cambodia

Re: Vegetable gardening and the 1st precept

Postby danieLion » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:00 am

As the first of the Novice's Questions says: "What is one? All beings subsist on food." This is how the Buddha introduced the topic of causality to young people: The primary causal relationship isn't something gentle like light reflecting off mirrors, or jewels illuminating jewels. It's feeding. Our bodies need physical food for their well-being. Our minds need the food of pleasant sensory contacts, intentions, and consciousness itself in order to function. If you ever want proof that interconnectedness isn't always something to celebrate, just contemplate how the beings of the world feed on one another, physically and emotionally. Interbeing is inter-eating. As Ajaan Suwat, my second teacher once said, "If there were a god who could arrange that by my eating I could make everyone in the world full, I'd bow down to that god." But that's not how eating works.

Ordinarily, even well-intentioned people may not see eating as harmful. We're so compelled to eat that we blind ourselves to its larger impact. Our first pleasure, after the terror of being born, was getting to feed. We did it with our eyes closed, and most people keep their eyes closed to the impact of their feeding throughout life.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... heart.html
Yet, he's also written about how he thinks exterminating ants is unskillful? :shrug:
metta
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Next

Return to Ethical Conduct

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest