Bedbugs and the 1st precept

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

Bedbugs and the 1st precept

Postby FatDaddy » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:01 pm

Confession time. My family recently incurred an infestation of bedbugs, probably from purchasing bedding from a second hand store. If it was just me I probably would just tolerate them. They don't even bite me, but my wife an daughter were severely affected by the bites. Simply removing them was not an option unless we replaced all of our beds and furniture, which we could not afford to do. I killed and conspired to kill hundreds of them. I feel a great deal of remorse about this. I have been sending Metta to all beings who are reviled and killed just for existing. It is my strong intent that they have a favorable rebirth.

We are being vigilant about preventing anything like this from occurring in the future. But if it did, I don’t know how I would handle it differently.

Is this the karma of being a householder? I would appreciate compassionate feedback.
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
— Sn 1.8
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Re: Bedbugs and the 1st precept

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:09 pm

FatDaddy,

I just merged your thread with one which I had started earlier. Sometimes, we find ourselves making decisions which we know will bring bad results and harm others but, rather than beating ourselves over the head with it, we should just be mindful of it, forgive ourselves and try to do better next time. We live in NYC and whenever my kids see furniture on the curb they immediately say "Bed Bugs!" so we do our best to stay away from second-hand furnishings. Nonetheless, sometimes there's just nothing to do for it. I wish you the best and take care!
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Re: Bedbugs and the 1st precept

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:12 pm

Greetings FD,

Unfortunately, being a householder you are in a situation where you will have to make some very difficult decisions.
Its something we all face. Try and bring wisdom to the difficult situations where you find yourself.
Be vigilant with your practice.
with metta,

Ben
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Re: Bedbugs and the 1st precept

Postby FatDaddy » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:14 pm

KB and Ben, thanks for the kind response.
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
— Sn 1.8
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Re: Bed Bugs

Postby manas » Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:06 am

EmptyShadow wrote:But it's killing! It's "funny" how ppl expect to get rid of bad kamma results by doing more bad kamma.
I dont know what's the best solusion for massive infestation but to me it seems that many buddhists dont take the first precept very seriously and go for the poison or call exterminators after seeing one bug or so.


Emptyshadow,

things change when you have children, one day you will understand how sometimes difficult decisions must be made. I had to apply poison to my child's hair to get rid of an infestation of lice, living off her blood and causing near-constant itching. Yes, that was killing, but I wasn't going to ask my beauty-conscious daughter to shave all her hair off. Lay life is complicated!

:anjali:
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Re: Bedbugs and the 1st precept

Postby bodom » Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:16 am

Insects and pest control

...there does appear to be some differences in the weight of the negative kamma assigned to the killing of smaller beings as compared to larger beings and humans. The Vinaya makes one such distinction, considering murder an offense so serious as to require permanent expulsion from the Sangha (Parajika 3), while killing an animal is a far less serious offence (Pacittiya 62), on a par with insulting someone, idle chatter and having a non-regulation size sitting mat...There will be negative kamma associated with the killing of any animal, which includes insects, but it appears that the weight of the kamma will be lesser for insects.


http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... st_control

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The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Bedbugs and the 1st precept

Postby Maarten » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:23 pm

edit
Last edited by Maarten on Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Bedbugs and the 1st precept

Postby Maarten » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:32 pm

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Last edited by Maarten on Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bedbugs and the 1st precept

Postby Kamran » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:42 am

It would be irrational not to kill the bedbugs given they pose a health concern.

I think it is possible in any religion to become an extremist or take it to the point of insanity.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: Bedbugs and the 1st precept

Postby manas » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:57 am

Kamran wrote:It would be irrational not to kill the bedbugs given they pose a health concern.

I think it is possible in any religion to become an extremist or take it to the point of insanity.


Indeed...I am yet to find a single person, Buddhist or otherwise, who would not take medicine to expel parasitic worms from his or her intestinal tract, if they knew they had a potentially dangerous infection and such medicine was offered. Would this kill the worms? Yes. Would I do it? Yes.

I don't know offhand, but I suspect that bedbugs might be able to transmit toxins or germs to persons who are bitten. If that were the case, and if one's children were at risk, then it's clear that something would have to be done to protect one's children. We should not become fanatical at the expense of reason.
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