Plants ~ Borderline Beings?

Where members are free to take ideas from the Theravāda Canon out of the Theravāda framework. Here you can question rebirth, kamma (and other contentious issues) as well as examine Theravāda's connection to other paths
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PadmaPhala
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Re: Plants in Buddhism - Idea of B. Nature of Grasses an Tre

Postby PadmaPhala » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:25 am

few living beings have more accessible bodhi nature than a bodhi tree :D

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Ajisai
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Are plants living beings ?

Postby Ajisai » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:34 am

Hello everyone,

As a very beginner, this is the first (but certainly not the least) of my silly questions.

Scientifically speaking, plants are living beings. I even read a scientific article some time ago, which explained that plants actually communicate with sounds that cannot be heard by the human hear, or communicate releasing chemical stuff into the air.

So my question is: how does Buddhims consider plants?
Is picking up a flower like killing a living being?
Are plants part of the samsara?

I cannot stop wondering so I hope you can help me. :smile:

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Are plants living beings ?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:43 am

Ajisai wrote:So my question is: how does Buddhims consider plants?


I believe they are considered "one-facultied" life forms.

Is picking up a flower like killing a living being?


No.

Are plants part of the samsara?


No. Beings do not get reborn to the plant kingdom, just devas, humans, animals, and other celestial realms (according to Buddhism).

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Paul Davy
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Re: Are plants living beings ?

Postby Paul Davy » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:45 am

Greetings,

To borrow an awesome post from Cooran...

cooran wrote:Hello all,

An assortment of information for your delectation:

Plants ~ Borderline Beings?
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1204" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Plant Life
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=6822" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

From the Patimokkha, suddhapaacittiyaa, The Section about plant beings, 11:

"In causing damage to plant beings there is an offence entailing
expiation."

From SuttaVibhanga (Horner transl), the account leading up to this rule is
given:

"....at Alavi in the chief shrine at Alavi. Now at that time the monks of
Alavi, making repairs, were cutting down trees and having them cut down;
and a certain monk of Alavi cut down a tree, and the devata living in that
tree said to this monk:

"Do not, honoured sir, desiring to make an abode for yourself, cut down my
abode."

This monk, taking no notice, cut it down, and in doing so, struck the arm
of that devata's son. Then it occurred to that devata:

"What now if I, just here, should deprive this monk of life?" Then it
occurred to that devata:

"But this would not be suiting in me, that I were, just here, to deprive
this monk of life. What now if I were to tell this matter to the lord?"

Then this devata approached the lord, and having approached she told this
matter to the lord.

"Very good, devata, it is good that you, devata, did not deprive this monk
of life. If today you, devata, had deprived this monk of life, you,
devata, would also have produced much demerit. You go, devata; in a
certain place there is a solitary tree, go you into it."

People looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying:

"How can these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, cut down trees and have them
cut down? These recluses, sons of the Sakyans, are harming life that is
one-facultied." Monks heard these people who looked down upon, criticised,
spread it about. Those who were modest monks looked down upon, criticised,
spread it about, saying:

"How can these monks of Alavi cut down trees and have them cut down?"....

"Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, cut down trees and had them cut
down?"

"It is true, lord," they said.

The enlightened one, the lord, rebuked them, saying:

"How can you, foolish men, cut down trees and have them cut down? Is it
not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased.....And
thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

For destruction of vegetable growth there is an offence of expiation."
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... sage/66737" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
.....................
From Ajahn Dhammanando:

Hi all,

This is a re-post as the formatting of the last one was a mess.

> Connie: "For people believe, O Bhikkhus, that life dwells in a tree."

This is the key point. The belief that plants and the earth possess one
faculty (either kaayindriya or jiivitindriya) was held by the
Niga.n.thas (Jains) and acelakas (non-affiliated naked ascetics); since
these were the largest and oldest sama.na groups at that time, their
beliefs had passed into common lore and so any sama.na worth his salt
was expected to conform to them (by keeping the rains retreat so as not
to tread on growing crops, by not digging the earth or damaging plants,
and by taking various precautions when building a hut). But nowhere
does the Buddha actually concede that these beliefs were correct and in
the Vinaya commentaries they are dismissed as "mere imagining".

Best wishes,
Dhammanando
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... sage/69259" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Plants in Early Buddhism and the Far Eastern idea of the Buddha Nature of Grasses and Trees
http://www.scribd.com/doc/47341101/Plan ... -and-Trees" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"Whether I were to preach in brief, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach in detail, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach both in brief or in detail, Sāriputta, rare are those who understand." (A I 333, Sāriputtasutta)

SarathW
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Re: Are plants living beings ?

Postby SarathW » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:09 am

Killing means the intentional destruction of any living
being. The Pāli term pāna strictly means the psycho-physical
life pertaining to one’s particular existence. The wanton destruction
of this life force, without allowing it to run its due
course, is pānātipāta. Pāna means that which breathes. Hence
all animate beings, including animals, are regarded as pāna,
but not plants as they possess no mind. Bhikkhus, however,
are forbidden to destroy even plant life. This rule, it may be
mentioned, does not apply to lay-followers.

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/buddh ... gsurw6.pdf

PS:The way I understand they have Jivithandriya
:)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Ajisai
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Re: Are plants living beings ?

Postby Ajisai » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:10 am

David, thank you for your very clear answers.

What does "one-facultied" mean? Does it mean that it can only grow?

Retrofuturist, thanks a lot for all the links and readings. I am going read this carefully. :)

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Are plants living beings ?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:25 am

Ajisai wrote:What does "one-facultied" mean? Does it mean that it can only grow?


I think so. It probably means that it is just a rudimentary form of life, not one with consciousness, perceptions. Plants do react to sunlight, they do 'consume' water and other things, but it is reactive, [apparently] no decisions being made.

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cooran
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Can Plants think?

Postby cooran » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:47 am

Hello all,

Interesting

Can Plants think?
http://www.sciencefriday.com/segment/01 ... think.html

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

SarathW
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Re: Can Plants think?

Postby SarathW » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:55 am

No, according to Abhidhamma not even life!

:shrug:

In Abhidhamma trees, plants, mountains and others
are all taken to be external, not internal. Therefore, we cannot
say there is Jīvita in plants or trees. Jīvita, as you see here,
arises only internally. Jīvita-navaka and all these Kammaja
groupings arise internally only. So Jīvita cannot be found
outside living beings according to Abhidhamma. Abhidhamma
takes trees and others as non-living things, not as living
beings. It would be wrong to say that there is Jīvita in trees or
plants. We should be very careful when we talk about these
things. There may be what is called life in plants or in trees,
but that life is not Jīvita. It may be some other thing which is
called life.
Page 356:

http://buddhispano.net/sites/default/fi ... ies-II.pdf
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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cooran
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Re: Can Plants think?

Postby cooran » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:17 am

Hello all,

New research on plant intelligence may forever change how you think about plants
http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-01-09/n ... out-plants

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

culaavuso
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Re: Can Plants think?

Postby culaavuso » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:33 am

Plant intentionality and the phenomenological framework of plant intelligence brings a whole new perspective to the suttas talking about beings living in trees, such as MN 45.

MN 45: Cula-dhammasamadana Sutta wrote:Just as if a maluva creeper pod were to burst open in the last month of the hot season, and a maluva creeper seed were to fall at the foot of a sala tree. The deva living in the tree would become frightened, apprehensive, & anxious. Her friends & companions, relatives & kin — garden devas, forest devas, tree devas, devas living in herbs, grass, & forest monarchs — would gather together to console her: 'Have no fear, have no fear. In all likelihood a peacock is sure to swallow this maluva creeper seed, or a deer will eat it, or a brush fire will burn it up, or woodsmen will pick it up, or termites will carry it off, and anyway it probably isn't really a seed.'

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rowboat
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Re: Can Plants think?

Postby rowboat » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:39 am

Cooran, I look forward to reading the New Yorker article by Michael Pollan.

"Refracted rearwards along the course of evolution, consciousness displays itself qualitatively as a spectrum of shifting shades whose lower terms are lost in the night." - Teilhard de Chardin

:anjali:
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5

PimonratC
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Re: Can Plants think?

Postby PimonratC » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:49 am

What is the difference between plants and our body ... :smile:

.

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lyndon taylor
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Re: Can Plants think?

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:08 am

Duh, we have a brain!!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

alan
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Re: Can Plants think?

Postby alan » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:03 am

He's made a business of writing stories like this. Gets a lot of play in free media, but tells us nothing of any use.

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cooran
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Re: Can Plants think?

Postby cooran » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:41 am

Interesting opinions here :tongue:

A little bit about Professor Pollan:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Pollan

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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lyndon taylor
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Re: Can Plants think?

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:19 am

In either case, if you want to reduce the killing of animals, be a vegetarian or vegan, if you want to reduce the killing of plants, be a vegetarian or vegan, as meat production kills way more plants than vegetarians do.......
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Spiny Norman
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Re: Can Plants think?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:25 am

cooran wrote:Can Plants think?


No, and I think they're better off for it. ;)
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

Shaswata_Panja
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Re: Can Plants think?

Postby Shaswata_Panja » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:06 am

culaavuso wrote:Plant intentionality and the phenomenological framework of plant intelligence brings a whole new perspective to the suttas talking about beings living in trees, such as MN 45.

MN 45: Cula-dhammasamadana Sutta wrote:Just as if a maluva creeper pod were to burst open in the last month of the hot season, and a maluva creeper seed were to fall at the foot of a sala tree. The deva living in the tree would become frightened, apprehensive, & anxious. Her friends & companions, relatives & kin — garden devas, forest devas, tree devas, devas living in herbs, grass, & forest monarchs — would gather together to console her: 'Have no fear, have no fear. In all likelihood a peacock is sure to swallow this maluva creeper seed, or a deer will eat it, or a brush fire will burn it up, or woodsmen will pick it up, or termites will carry it off, and anyway it probably isn't really a seed.'



Please do see M Night Shyamalan's Happening--one of the greatest film on environmental destruction ever made---and thank you for making this post..i would love to disclose more about that film but I am resisting...i think seeing your post..The Happening surely qualifies as a Dhamma film?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Happening_(2008_film)

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Mkoll
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Re: Can Plants think?

Postby Mkoll » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:54 am

If you're interested in this sort of thing, I'd recommend The Secret Life of Plants: a Fascinating Account of the Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Relations Between Plants and Man. Interesting, to say the least.

:reading:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa

Buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi
Dhammaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi
Saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi


Katamañca, bhikkhave, nāmarūpaṃ? Vedanā, saññā, cetanā, phasso, manasikāro: idaṃ vuccati nāmaṃ. Cattāro ca mahābhūtā, catunnañca mahābhūtānaṃ upādāyarūpaṃ: Idaṃ vuccati rūpaṃ. Iti idañca nāmaṃ, idañca rūpaṃ: idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, nāma-rūpaṃ.


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