About not kill any living being

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About not kill any living being

Postby _Daniel_ » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:50 pm

Hello,

I am agnostic, and I am studying buddhism, because I think that it is a interesting religion/philosophy, and I would like do a approach to it. I have a question about the importance of not kill any living being. For example, if I am sleeping, and there are a lot of mosquitoes in the room trying to bite me, cant I kill them? It is survival, I dont want kill them, but they are attacking me.

Thank You.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Mukunda » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:58 pm

Is killing the mosquitoes the ONLY option? What about (1) mosquito netting, (2) repellents, (3) going to a different room?

:anjali:
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Kenshou » Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:14 pm

Well, they aren't attacking you with malicious intent. They need your yummy fluids to live, that's really all there is to it. They have only their own well-being in mind (not that they have much of a mind at all) when they nip you, they don't know they're irritating you.

That said, they are annoying, and you'll probably instinctively mush a few of them without thinking about it, if you're trying to be compassionate or not. And though you aren't likely to suffer much over killing a bug, the fact is that an attitude of killing isn't productive to the rest of the path, from the Buddhist perspective, and we are out to cultivate wholesome attitudes and discourage unproductive ones. I don't know where you live or your conditions, personally I try to make sure to open doors and windows quickly and minimize opportunities for buggies to get in the house.
Last edited by Kenshou on Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby _Daniel_ » Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:26 pm

Thawnk you for your answers, I think I now understand a bit better this point.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:09 pm

_Daniel_ wrote:It is survival, I dont want kill them, but they are attacking me.

Really? It is survival? :thinking:
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Virgo » Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:25 pm

_Daniel_ wrote:Hello,

I am agnostic, and I am studying buddhism, because I think that it is a interesting religion/philosophy, and I would like do a approach to it. I have a question about the importance of not kill any living being. For example, if I am sleeping, and there are a lot of mosquitoes in the room trying to bite me, cant I kill them? It is survival, I dont want kill them, but they are attacking me.

Thank You.

When you kill, you destroy a beings life and take it. Imagine there were giants that were 1,000 feet tall and live to be 10,000 years old. To them humans would be as significant to them as mosquitos are to us. Do you think it would be fine for them to step on a human and squash it every time it saw one?

It has an alright life in the animal realm. You take that away. Who knows where it will be reborn. What if it is reborn in hell? You took away it's cozy earth life (although that life wouldn't last long any way) and now it is experiencing hell instead, simply because of your own attachment and aversion.

Do you see the drawbacks in attachment and aversion a little more clearly now?

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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Tex » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:05 pm

1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.


You will accrue kamma and vipaka if you kill any sentient being, even in self-defense, and if you've taken the precepts, you will also be violating the first precept, even in self-defense.

I would need a much more substantial threat than a tiny mosquito to make me even consider taking on those consequences. It's not a lion! Just catch him in a jar or some tupperware and put him outside.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Wind » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:45 pm

I get bitten by mosquitoes all the time esp when I go outdoors. They seem to target me particularly. But now as a Buddhist, I don't harbor any hatred or fear of them biting me but I do use preventive measures such as repellent. If they succeed, the bites usually swell up a little then goes away after a couple of days. It's not that big of a deal to kill a living being over it. Even if I might catch a life-threatening disease from a mosquito, then it is within my karma that I have such fate.

No matter how much we try to prolong our lives, there are factors that are out of our hands that may shorten it prematurely. We can't choose how we die, but we can choose how we live.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby _Daniel_ » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:08 pm

Wind wrote:I get bitten by mosquitoes all the time esp when I go outdoors. They seem to target me particularly. But now as a Buddhist, I don't harbor any hatred or fear of them biting me but I do use preventive measures such as repellent. If they succeed, the bites usually swell up a little then goes away after a couple of days. It's not that big of a deal to kill a living being over it. Even if I might catch a life-threatening disease from a mosquito, then it is within my karma that I have such fate.

No matter how much we try to prolong our lives, there are factors that are out of our hands that may shorten it prematurely. We can't choose how we die, but we can choose how we live.


Ok, now I am lost, even if you might catch a life-trheatening disease for a mosquito...that is within your karma?? then If I have a pistol and there is a hungry lion in front of me ready to attack me, I shouldnt use the pistol?? perhaps my good karma have done possible that I have a pistol in my hands in that moment and I should use, dont you think so?


Virgo wrote:
_Daniel_ wrote:Hello,

I am agnostic, and I am studying buddhism, because I think that it is a interesting religion/philosophy, and I would like do a approach to it. I have a question about the importance of not kill any living being. For example, if I am sleeping, and there are a lot of mosquitoes in the room trying to bite me, cant I kill them? It is survival, I dont want kill them, but they are attacking me.

Thank You.

When you kill, you destroy a beings life and take it. Imagine there were giants that were 1,000 feet tall and live to be 10,000 years old. To them humans would be as significant to them as mosquitos are to us. Do you think it would be fine for them to step on a human and squash it every time it saw one?

It has an alright life in the animal realm. You take that away. Who knows where it will be reborn. What if it is reborn in hell? You took away it's cozy earth life (although that life wouldn't last long any way) and now it is experiencing hell instead, simply because of your own attachment and aversion.

Do you see the drawbacks in attachment and aversion a little more clearly now?

Kevin


the hell?? I never have heard that buddhist believe in a hell...and perhaps after I killed the mosquito, it now can reincarnate in a human or other better living form. Then I could have done a favour him and I should get better karma, isnt it?
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Wind » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:15 pm

_Daniel_ wrote:
Ok, now I am lost, even if you might catch a life-trheatening disease for a mosquito...that is within your karma?? then If I have a pistol and there is a hungry lion in front of me ready to attack me, I shouldnt use the pistol?? perhaps my good karma have done possible that I have a pistol in my hands in that moment and I should use, dont you think so?



I think buddhanet.net has more material that cover the subject of karma. It can explain better than I. Or you can use the search function on this forum, I am sure we have a thread on this subject.

As a Buddhist, I would ask why do you have a pistol in the first place?
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby octathlon » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:18 pm

I was actually going to start a thread with a couple of questions about the first precept, but I think here is a good place to ask one of them:

What exactly is meant by "living beings" according to the Pali word or the understanding of those whom the Buddha was instructing? I've seen the translation "living beings" and "living creatures", and in this thread someone said "sentient beings".

I understand that animals in general are included. But what about for example, plant life, bacteria, amoebas, etc. which are also "living" beings, but are they considered "creatures" or "sentient beings"? Apparently insects count, according to the responses I see here. I don't want to be pedantic (or just stupid :tongue: ), but I would like to have a better understanding of what is meant.

BTW obviously, I understand that the severity of the consequences varies with the type of creature, since I have read that killing a human is worse than killing an animal, up to the worst-- killing an arahant.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Kenshou » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:25 pm

Daniel,

Don't get too bothered by Virgo's use of the term "hell". But it is a part of the Buddhist worldview that there are both good destinations and bad destinations that a being can be born in. But don't mix that up with the Christian-esque ideas of "hell".

And you are right to point out that that the other side of Virgo's argument is just as valid of a conclusion, it could have gone to a good destination thanks to you and so that'd be good, right? But I think this isn't how we should think of it.

I think it can be verified for ourselves that an attitude of compassion and kindness has a better influence on the mind as a whole, and an attitude of cruelty does not. You don't often find someone that's totally well adjusted, and loves to kill things. It's just kind of how the mind works. So, I don't think you need to worry about this or that future state of a being as a justification for your actions, but be willing to be kind to things as they are in the present, and know that that kindness will be beneficial to your overall mental development.

Ok, now I am lost, even if you might catch a life-trheatening disease for a mosquito...that is within your karma?? then If I have a pistol and there is a hungry lion in front of me ready to attack me, I shouldnt use the pistol?? perhaps my good karma have done possible that I have a pistol in my hands in that moment and I should use, dont you think so?


I would like to point out that I do not think that Buddhist karma works this way. Karma or kamma is by and large, a mental thing, dealing with the internal effects and results that come from the actions we do. But kamma would not deal with things such as happening to get a disease from a mosquito, happening to have a gun, or happening to get eaten by a lion. But our kamma would play a role in determining how the mind would react to such things, and the reaction of the mind is where suffering is or is not created. And suffering is what we're worried about.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Wind » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:33 pm

Kenshou wrote:
I would like to point out that I do not think that Buddhist karma works this way. Karma or kamma is by and large, a mental thing, dealing with the internal effects and results that come from the actions we do. But kamma would not deal with things such as happening to get a disease from a mosquito, happening to have a gun, or happening to get eaten by a lion. But our kamma would play a role in determining how the mind would react to such things, and the reaction of the mind is where suffering is or is not created. And suffering is what we're worried about.


Hi Kenshou

Kamma does affect physical reality not just mental. There are suttas that even explains Arahants who got hurt because of past kamma. And you are right that suffering is purely mental and that is what Buddhist are more concern with.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Tex » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:37 pm

_Daniel_ wrote:the hell?? I never have heard that buddhist believe in a hell.


There are 31 planes of existence in Buddhist cosomology, and yes there are hell realms, but they are not eternal like the Judeo-Christian Hell, and beings are not sent there as punishment by any divine authority figure. Birth in the hell realms is simply one possible natural result of particular types of kamma. See here for more: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html

_Daniel_ wrote:..and perhaps after I killed the mosquito, it now can reincarnate in a human or other better living form. Then I could have done a favour him and I should get better karma, isnt it?


Kamma is "intentional action" or "volitional action". Your intentional action is to kill the mosquito, which is unwholesome kamma (action) that will bring unwholesome vipaka (result). Whether the mosquito is born again in a hell realm or a human realm or wherever is irrelevant to the kamma and vipaka that result from your decision to kill him.

This might help clarify kamma, it has a lot of direct sutta references: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/kamma.html
Last edited by Tex on Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Kenshou » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:42 pm

I'll say this: I can understand that kamma (that is, intentional action) can have an effect on the physical world in that the actions that we do effect the web of causality of the world as a whole, and then some way, the potential for an action to be the cause for a later occurrence in the physical world is there. This possibility shouldn't be ignored, however there are many many other influences and things going on in the world that influence what happens to us, not just our actions, and so attributing this or that specific event/result to one's kamma, unless you've got the supposed psychic ability to determine such a thing, is likely an act of speculation and not really good for anything.

So I think it's better to focus on the internal, metal cause and effect, which we can come to know quite well, and then if we are focused on wholesome action for that reason, the external influence of kamma will be good anyway, whatever the external fruits of kamma happen to be.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Wind » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:48 pm

Kenshou wrote:I'll say this: I can understand that kamma (that is, intentional action) can have an effect on the physical world in that the actions that we do effect the web of causality of the world as a whole, and then some way, the potential for an action to be the cause for a later occurrence in the physical world is there. This possibility shouldn't be ignored, however there are many many other influences and things going on in the world that influence what happens to us, not just our actions, and so attributing this or that specific event/result to one's kamma, unless you've got the supposed psychic ability to determine such a thing, is likely an act of speculation and not really good for anything.

So I think it's better to focus on the internal, metal cause and effect, which we can come to know quite well, and then if we are focused on wholesome action for that reason, the external influence of kamma will be good anyway, whatever the external fruits of kamma happen to be.


That's a good point and I agree. But since Daniel is new to Buddhism we want to cover other bases on how Kamma affects one's rebirth and potential event in one's own life, but although that is very difficult to determine as you pointed out unless one is awaken like the Buddha himself. I agree that one should not dwell in understanding how kamma affects future life or how past kamma affects present for it is unproductive.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Goedert » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:52 pm

_Daniel_ wrote:Hello,

I am agnostic, and I am studying buddhism, because I think that it is a interesting religion/philosophy, and I would like do a approach to it. I have a question about the importance of not kill any living being. For example, if I am sleeping, and there are a lot of mosquitoes in the room trying to bite me, cant I kill them? It is survival, I dont want kill them, but they are attacking me.

Thank You.


Hello Friend,

The problem is not the survival. The problem is the rage involved with this act and the privation of others beings life.
If you don't have any health problem in the bite of mosquitoes, why not give some food with them? Be genereous with them...

Hey! I'm kidding!

Instead of killing there is many ways to prevent them bite you. Repelents, nets, etc.

Take care friend.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:08 am

_Daniel_ wrote:If I have a pistol and there is a hungry lion in front of me ready to attack me, I shouldnt use the pistol?

As I understand the Buddha teachings, a wise person who abhors suffering and desires peace would not try to kill the hungry lion with the pistol.


"Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves." - MN 21


_Daniel_ wrote:the hell?? I never have heard that buddhist believe in a hell.

Yes, Buddha taught of hells and heavens and other places too.


"I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct; who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell." - Iti 70

_Daniel_ wrote:perhaps after I killed the mosquito, it now can reincarnate in a human or other better living form. Then I could have done a favour him and I should get better karma, isnt it?

You would only get kamma from that if a] you knew how the insect would be reborn (which you don't) and b] your intention was to send it to that realm (which it isn't). Let's face it, your intention is to rid yourself of an annoyance.
- Peter

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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Virgo » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:27 am

_Daniel_ wrote:Then I could have done a favour him and I should get better karma, isnt it?

Nope. Youc killed him and took his life away.

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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:34 am

Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:Nope. Youc killed him and took his life away.

I realise this the Discovering Theravada, so I don't want to go too deeply into this, but what is the "him" that was killed?

(Accepting the commentarial Theravada account for the sake of argument...) Wouldn't this event have triggered rebirth consciousness and in turn, the first moment of consciousness in a new psycho-physical organism? If the so-called "stream of consciousness" is not destroyed, then what has really been "killed"? What "life" was taken away?

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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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