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.
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.