About not kill any living being

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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby octathlon » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:00 am

A lot of this doesn't seem logical to me.

I keep reading that if you don't intend to kill or harm, you don't reap any kamma from the action. What if for example, you are very tired but decide to drive anyway, fall asleep at the wheel and kill a person? You knew it was dangerous to drive, but you didn't intend to harm anyone, so you are in the clear? This may not be the best example, but there are many other possible examples of causing great harm to others without intending it, when we could have avoided it if we had been more thoughtful. What about shady business practices due to greed which result in people's life savings being lost, though you didn't intend harm to them, you knew the business practice was wrong?

yet on the other hand:

A tapeworm is infesting you and threatening your life, but you must not kill it? -- the kamma from that is so bad it would be better to let yourself die than kill the worm? And killing a worm intentionally is worse than killing a person through negligence?

What am I missing? :thinking:
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby bodom » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:13 am

Ariyamagga Sutta: The Noble Path

"Monks, these four types of kamma have been directly realized, verified, & made known by me. Which four? There is kamma that is dark with dark result. There is kamma that is bright with bright result. There is kamma that is dark & bright with dark & bright result. There is kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

See also:

Kukkuravatika Sutta: The Dog-duty Ascetic
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby octathlon » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:42 am

Thank you Bodom,

I conclude that my examples would indeed produce kamma, and all this talk of no kamma if no intention to harm is incorrect. We do things out of ignorance that cause harm, and even though we didn't intend to cause harm, that doesn't excuse it.

Ignorance (Avijja) is the first link or cause of the wheel of life. It clouds all right understanding.

Dependent on ignorance of the Four Noble Truths arise activities (Sankhara) — both moral and immoral. The activities whether good or bad rooted in ignorance which must necessarily have their due effects, only tend to prolong life's wandering. Nevertheless, good actions are essential to get rid of the ills of life.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... shell.html
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby salmon » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:26 am

This might be completely irrelevant...but I once saw a Thai forest monk (who is very well respected) accidentally swat a mozzie on his arm, thereby killing it. I must have looked quite shocked coz when he noticed me staring, he grinned and said "mai mii Cetana" (trans. No Cetana present). His mindfulness had dropped at that moment, and he swiped to scratch an itch on his arm...hence accidentally killing the mozzie that was having his meal. :tongue:

EDIT: By the way, I vaguely remember reading something about a blind arahant killing ants when he stepped on them and the Buddha explaining why no kamma was involved. Anyone got a better picture?
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Terasi » Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:29 pm

I read that bacteria have no conciousness, so I can understand that there may be difference between killing an elephant and boiling water to drink.

But how about killing a person, an elephant, a mosquito, different or not?
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:07 pm

salmon wrote:By the way, I vaguely remember reading something about a blind arahant killing ants when he stepped on them and the Buddha explaining why no kamma was involved.

Yep, that's in the scriptures somewhere.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:07 pm

octathlon wrote:I keep reading that if you don't intend to kill or harm, you don't reap any kamma from the action.

You do not reap the kamma of killing. As long as your action was intentional, though, there will be some sort of kamma.

What if for example, you are very tired but decide to drive anyway, fall asleep at the wheel and kill a person?

There would not be kamma for killing. But there would be kamma from deciding to drive while impaired.

there are many other possible examples of causing great harm to others without intending it

I have heard that between two people who grasp a hot iron bar, one knowing it is hot and one unknowing, the one who didn't know will be burned worse than the one who knew. I believe this simile is from the Question of King Malinda, but I'm not positive.

What about shady business practices due to greed...

Then there will be kamma due to that greed.

A tapeworm is infesting you and threatening your life, but you must not kill it?

No one said "must not". What was said that killing it will have consequences. Not killing it will also have consequences. Everything has consequences.

it would be better to let yourself die than kill the worm?

From what I understand of Buddha's teachings, yes.

And killing a worm intentionally is worse than killing a person through negligence?

Again, as I understand the teachings, yes.

What am I missing? :thinking:

Possibly you are missing the long term view. Let me know if you need more explanation.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:09 pm

Terasi wrote:I read that bacteria have no conciousness, so I can understand that there may be difference between killing an elephant and boiling water to drink.

But how about killing a person, an elephant, a mosquito, different or not?

I have heard there is a difference in the weight of the kamma.
I have also heard try to do kamma-math will drive you insane.

More important is to realize that all killing stems from the same unwholesome roots. Eliminate those roots and "which being is worse to kill" is no longer a question you will worry about.
- Peter

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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby bodom » Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:20 pm

YAMAKA VAGGA (The Twin Verses)

One day, Venerable Cakkhupala who was blind came to pay homage to the Buddha at the Jetavana monastery. While he was pacing up and down in meditation, he accidentally stepped on some insects. In the morning, some bhikkhus visiting him found the dead insects. They thought ill of him and reported the matter to the Buddha. When questioned by the Buddha whether they had seen Cakkhupala killing the insects, they answered in the negative.The Buddha then admonished them, "Just as you had not seen him killing, so also he had not seen those living insects. Besides, being an Arahant he had no intention of killing, and was not guilty of committing an unwholesome act.'


http://www.mahindarama.com/e-library/dhammapada1.htm

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Refugee » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:14 pm

Recently, I was faced with this dilemma: The fixed (built-in) wooden cupboards in my kitchen were infested with termites that had already eaten sections of the woodwork. There is no way to literally trap these termites because they are inside the wood. The only way I could think of to stop their spread and damage is to use a pesticide. I did this. I felt really bad while using the pesticide and afterwards.
Last edited by Refugee on Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My practice is simply this: Avoid evil, do good, and purify the mind.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby octathlon » Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:13 pm

@Peter; Thank you; I now understand a little better about how in my examples the kamma applies to the original unwholesome acts instead of the outcomes; but using the driving-while-too-tired example, do you think there is any kammic difference in the case of the action causing an accident and death of someone, versus lucking out and no accident occurring at all? I'm not going to spend any more time worrying about it after this, :lol: but just curious as to your thoughts.

One day, Venerable Cakkhupala who was blind came to pay homage to the Buddha at the Jetavana monastery. While he was pacing up and down in meditation, he accidentally stepped on some insects. In the morning, some bhikkhus visiting him found the dead insects. They thought ill of him and reported the matter to the Buddha. When questioned by the Buddha whether they had seen Cakkhupala killing the insects, they answered in the negative.The Buddha then admonished them, "Just as you had not seen him killing, so also he had not seen those living insects. Besides, being an Arahant he had no intention of killing, and was not guilty of committing an unwholesome act.'


I do understand why kamma does not apply in this case, because 1, it is not unwholesome to pace up and down in meditation, and 2, "Besides, being an Arahant he had no intention of killing, and was not guilty of committing an unwholesome act."
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby salmon » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:59 am

Thanks for the link to the story bodom!
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:21 am

octathlon wrote:using the driving-while-too-tired example, do you think there is any kammic difference in the case of the action causing an accident and death of someone, versus lucking out and no accident occurring at all?

If there were truly no difference in the mind-states in the two cases... then I can't see how the kamma would be any different. The consequences would surely be different. For example, where I live driving drunk has one criminal penalty while unintentionally killing someone while driving drunk has another , much more severe penalty. But just speaking about kamma... the Buddha teaches kamma stems from intention, period.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Wind » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:31 am

octathlon wrote:A tapeworm is infesting you and threatening your life, but you must not kill it?



That tapeworm scenario is a tough one. What would be the best solution?
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Kenshou » Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:50 am

Well, seeing as from a Buddhist perspective human birth is very valuable, it would be better to get rid of it and take whatever bad results. I doubt that anyone but an arahant would choose do any differently.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:32 pm

On the other hand, I have heard the way to ensure a human birth in one's next life is to adhere to the five precepts.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Kenshou » Sat Jul 17, 2010 7:51 pm

But then, if you aren't sure about rebirth, that might not be a strong enough of a bargain. If you are then I guess it's a different situation.
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby adosa » Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:08 pm

Or on the other hand your re-birth might be as a mudpuppy if you passed away now, so you had better survive for awhile longer.


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"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby dhamma_spoon » Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:39 am

Wind wrote:
octathlon wrote:A tapeworm is infesting you and threatening your life, but you must not kill it?



That tapeworm scenario is a tough one. What would be the best solution?


That is a tough choice to make, indeed! :thinking:
"The best solution" depends on each individual's goal of Dhamma practice. If we aim at Stream-entry, then absolutely we abstain from killing -- all kinds.

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A soup spoon does not know the taste of the soup.
A dhamma spoon does not know the taste of the Dhamma!
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Re: About not kill any living being

Postby Goedert » Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:09 pm

Friends,

You can try to use incense. Insects don't like smoke.

You can try to make the Heaven tapeworm place, try to make a place with nutrients they like, things to they live on. Then when all of them get into the Heaven tapeworm place, get it out of your house and put it far away, put it on the woods.

Hope it helps.
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