I hope this is the right place.
I work part-time as a tutor at the local community college. Today a nice young man came in and I helped him specifically on the math section of the ASVAB, which is a military intelligence test. He said he wants to be a marine logistics officer. I said, "You mean, the one who plans the best way to kill people?" He said, "Yes." I asked why he wanted that occupation, and he said, "Because I need constant adventure and challenge." Well, I could have suggested he take up some more peaceful occupation, but I had a feeling that what he really wants is to be in the military. He's very muscular and I could tell that he wants to feel like a "real man" and use all that crazy testosterone he has. I tried to project metta to this young man as I tutored him in math. He says he will try to come to me every day that I work so that he can pass his test in one month. He said, "I really need your help!" I said, "I need your help just as much!" He said, "What can I do for you?" I said, "Help me build peace." He said, "I don't think I can do that, sorry."
On the one hand, I feel bad knowing that I am helping someone to become a highly skilled killer (this is specifically for a military test, remember)... but on the other hand, I know he will get help from someone if not me, and I think perhaps I could plant some dhamma seeds in his mind that may one day grow. Suggestions?
Now the perennial question re: killing bugs. I try really hard not to kill bugs. But as an intelligent person, I understand that by restricting their food supply, I am basically giving them a slow death. This means that if I want to not kill them, I have to continue to feed them (i.e. sleep on the mattress with bed bugs, or leave food out for roaches). But as I feed them, their population explodes and so perhaps many more will die as a result of natural cycles of overpopulation. So no matter what I do, I am killing them. Any intention to not kill them is merely willful ignorance of the consequences of my actions.
I've heard other Buddhists say that it's really all about how your own mind is affected, and so restricting food supply may be not so bad for your mind compared to squashing a bug or throwing poison out for it?
Right now we have fleas in the living room, and my mom is intent on killing them (with a bucket of water they jump into). Personally I would rather just let them bite me, but it turns out that human blood is poison to fleas! Anyway, I feel a bit out of touch with reality with all these ethical concerns.
The other day I had to deal with a maggot infestation on the lid of the trash can and I suddenly understood a sutta about a monk who cut his own flesh out to draw the maggots away from the suffering dog, so as not to harm the maggots. I tried to get the maggots out of the trash can in various ways without harming them, but I killed probably half of them in the process. They really are very fragile! I wished them peace and happiness and I did feel guilty, but mainly I just wanted to never do that again... but everyone would think I'm totally bats if I cut my flesh out to draw them away!
I asked Bhante Seelananda about the bug question and he simply said, "Please abstain from killing insects!" He doesn't like to expound much--I suppose he doesn't have a lot of computer time.