Bad Karma to have intent to KILL germs?

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

Bad Karma to have intent to KILL germs?

Postby Uilium » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:29 pm

If ones body comes in contact with an infection is it proper to take antibiotics with the intention to kill the lifeforms? Should we spray our trash cans with Lysol with the intention to kill germs? Is there anything in the Pali suttas or commentaries that is evidence that an Arahant might find it proper? Is there a line drawn somewhere?
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Re: Bad Karma to have intent to KILL germs?

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:41 pm

Uilium wrote:If ones body comes in contact with an infection is it proper to take antibiotics with the intention to kill the lifeforms? Should we spray our trash cans with Lysol with the intention to kill germs? Is there anything in the Pali suttas or commentaries that is evidence that an Arahant might find it proper? Is there a line drawn somewhere?


I have had this explained to me along the lines that panatipata is about the destruction of creatures that breathe. See, for example, Venerable Dhammika's point:

Like most people, the ancient Indians associated life with respiration and in fact one of the Pali words for animal life is apana, literally ‘breathing things.’ The first Precept actually says: ‘I take the precept not to harm breathing things’ (panati pata…), meaning that bacteria, sponges, plants, etc. are not included in the Precept.


http://sdhammika.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/breath.html
I don't know if any of the suttas specify which, if any, life forms are of less important in this respect. But as you raise the issue of intention, one might ask whether a person using antibiotics or lysol has the primary intention of killing, or of saving life and preventing suffering. I would imagine that the kammic consequences of killing as you describe are less than in the case where a person kills the lifeforms purely for fun; or where a person endangers or ends a precious human life because they neglected hygiene.
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Re: Bad Karma to have intent to KILL germs?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:51 pm

Germs and viruses are not sentient beings but instead complex forms of rūpa, like a computer or an automobile.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Bad Karma to have intent to KILL germs?

Postby marc108 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:57 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Germs and viruses are not sentient beings but instead complex forms of rūpa, like a computer or an automobile.



exactly. Viruses technically are not considered to be alive.
"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."
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Re: Bad Karma to have intent to KILL germs?

Postby Nyorai » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:36 am

Uilium wrote:If ones body comes in contact with an infection is it proper to take antibiotics with the intention to kill the lifeforms? Should we spray our trash cans with Lysol with the intention to kill germs? Is there anything in the Pali suttas or commentaries that is evidence that an Arahant might find it proper? Is there a line drawn somewhere?

According to Buddha in sutra, anything beyond one naked eyes like germs issue, is not fault as one is not arahat yet. In a glass of water, there are 84,000 germs. Antibiotics is not killing, it actually harmonizing it and make one feel better when sick. Not all sickness need antibiotics. Lysol spraying cant actually kill germs, your intention killed. Never be too dogma over this otherwise, you may find difficulty living with other.
ImageTo become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.
If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path. He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self.Image
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Re: Bad Karma to have intent to KILL germs?

Postby pegembara » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:13 am

Karma is intention. Was the intention merely to kill germs or to prevent disease and death? After all one doesn't pour antiseptic into a pond for no reason.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Bad Karma to have intent to KILL germs?

Postby barcsimalsi » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:40 am

I don't think exterminating living thing that doesn't have consciousness is consider killing.
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