Are monastics allowed to make lay people kill plants?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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Are monastics allowed to make lay people kill plants?

Postby starter » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:54 pm

I wonder if the Patimokkha allows monastics to ask lay people to kill plants like weeds? Will they get bad karma by unknowingly doing things (or having to do things) against Patimokkha?

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Re: Are monastics allowed to make lay people kill plants?

Postby Hickersonia » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:58 pm

I don't think a monk or nun can directly order (or ask) you to do such a thing, although I believe they are allowed to infer (hint at?) that it may need to be done.

I don't have my reference materials here [at work] with me or I'd cite them in my response.

I'm not sure there is bad karma associated with every act the Patimokkha instructs against -- some of the issues seemed to be (IMO) more about maintaining the image of the Sangha than about any actual "evil" in the acts themselves.
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Re: Are monastics allowed to make lay people kill plants?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:01 pm

When I did brushfire prevention work at Santi Forest Monastery, the bhikkhus could only say "the fire marshal said we need to have X space around each kuti cleared of foliage", but they could not say to us "clear these plants from this particular place".
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]


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Re: Are monastics allowed to make lay people kill plants?

Postby starter » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:54 pm

Hello Bhante Pesala, Hickersonia, and daverupa ,

Thanks for the helpful information and comments. As I understand from the link provided by Bhante Pesala, "Intentionally cutting, burning, or killing a living plant is a pācittiya offense." So I tend to think as long as the intention is to kill plants, even hinting by a monastic is probably not OK.

Metta to all,

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Re: Are monastics allowed to make lay people kill plants?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:44 am

Hinting is allowable, urging or instructing a lay person to damage plants is not.

I just came across this example from the Commentary on Dhp v 223 and remembered this thread.

Uttarā was the daughter of Puṇṇa, a poor man who worked for hire. While others were enjoying a holiday, Puṇṇa had to work because he was so poor. One day, the Elder Sāriputta, who had just arisen from spending seven days in absorption (nirodha samāpatti), wished to bestow a blessing on Puṇṇa. He went to the field where Puṇṇa was working and stood there gazing at a bush. Puṇṇa cut off a piece to offer tooth-sticks to the elder.
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Re: Are monastics allowed to make lay people kill plants?

Postby Sekha » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:52 am

what I have seen in WPN is that the workaround to this is to say: 'I need this area cleaned', without mentioning the plants, even though they are obviously there. Then it truly becomes a grey area, as from this point the fact that it is wholesome or not totally depends on the monk's mental action, which is of course highly subjective and thus beyond definite judgement.
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Re: Are monastics allowed to make lay people kill plants?

Postby starter » Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:13 pm

Hello Bhante Pesala and Sekha and other friends,

Thanks for your input. I now think "hinting" is OK, as long as the monastics make it clear that the intention is to "clear ground" for a legitimade reason instead of killing plants.

Metta to all,

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Re: Are monastics allowed to make lay people kill plants?

Postby Martin Po » Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:51 pm

Only when there is 4 conditions there is killing kamma:

1. desire of killing
2. determination of means to kill (weapon etc)
3. action of killing
4. death


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