Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Buddhists: I know you don't kill insects, but when you kill bacteria in your body, how do you justify this? By

taking an anit-biotic you even kill friendly organisms within your body. I also wonder if a Buddhist feels somewhat concerned when he takes a walk outdoors at the risk of trampling on and killing ants. I admire Buddhism above other religions, but I know only a little about it and would like to know more in the areas mentioned.

9 Answers

  • juexue
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Buddhism is also called the Middle Way. In this case, means you shouldn't exaggerate anything. The problem in this case is twofold:

    1. You can't avoid killing totally. Insects die when you grow food, when you build houses, when you drive your car, when you walk on the earth, when you eat medicin, they drown in your soup, and so on.

    2. If you really do EVERYTHING you can not to kill any living beings, unfortunately you cant do anything else, because all your energy will be used on this. That means you don't have the possibility to practice for the ultimate goal of enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings.

    There are several examples also from the teachings of the Buddha. One of his teachers before he reached enlightenment was the master that eventually founded the Jain faith. This man was a great master with many followers, who practiced non-killing very thoroughly: the swept the road before then so they wouldn't kill any insects, they wore a piece of cloth covering their mouth so they wouldn't accidentally swallow a flying insect, the brushed off the bread before they ate it, filtered the water before they drank, and even refused to eat not only meat and other food from animals, but also cauliflower and broccoli, because there might be insects inside the curly surface! The Buddha clearly said this, albeit with good intentions, was an exaggeration.

    As already has been mentioned, intentional killing is avoided, as far as possible. Some Buddhists are a bit concerned about taking antibiotics, but generally it is agreed that you should if you need, because a human being practicing the Dharma, thereby being able to reach enlightenment within a considerably shorter time than the bacteria, can be of much more benefit for other sentient beings within the foreseeable future.

    Of course you always try not to trample any insects deliberately, but that doesn't mean you fill your mind with worries about it or make it a problem for yourself. You just do what you can.

    It's also a little difficult to know which living beings are in fact sentient beings and which might be not. Sometimes it is said that all beings that breath, or all beings that have a nervous system, are included in the definition. If they are not sentient (i.e. don't have a consciousness), they're not reborn, and so they can't reach enlightenment. In any case, Buddhists respect all kind of life as far as reasonably possible, so the monks for example don't take down trees or pick flowers without reason, and when they have reasons (building houses, growing food, getting flowers to offer to the Buddhas, and so on), they usually remind themselves not to do this kind of things without reason, through prayers, mantra recitations or something like that.

    Being careful about other living beings is actually very beneficial for your mind, and if you do this consciously, it will surely fill you with more happiness and inner peace. That is also in itself a help for the other parts of your Buddhist practice.

    Source(s): Tibetan Buddhist
  • Yogini
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    OK. I don't intentionally kill anything. If a fly comes into the house or a wasp, I do find ways to get it out alive. It's time consuming but worth it. What you're really talking about is intention to kill. If I walked outside and my intention was to trample on insects then that would be wrong. If I'm walking and happen to accidentally kill an insect then that is an accident. It would be an act of violence if you didn't take care of yourself which is more unethical than not caring for yourself.

    Does this help? It's not as extreme a concept as you might think.

    Source(s): Prajna gave an excellent answer from the Theravada Buddhist perspective.
  • 1 decade ago

    I am not a Buddhist but follow some of their beliefs.

    I value all life and carry insects outside.

    I don't feel I have a right to kill anything unless it is attacking me. Organism that are remove even friendly will may or may not be destroyed in the process and it is my intent not to harm anyone or anything, but it is also said that cleanliness is next to Godliness. Your body can be thought of as a crystal and this is one way to cleans your energy is by water or sun or moonlight. This May or may not be true. I except responsibility for critters damaged by my error but there is to me a law of survival and I'll continue to keep clean and they can move on down the drain to a higher consciousness in the light. :) We cannot let logic lead us into demise.

    Rev. TomCat

  • Prajna
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    'Intention to kill' is a required condition to violate the killing precept. When insects are 'killed' in daily activities without intention and/or awareness, one does not violate the precept. If one later find out some insects were killed due to his unintentional action, one could repent, remind oneself to be more careful in future, and also practice compassion by wishing a good re-incarnation destiny for the insects.

    The object killed must also be a 'Sentient beings' (with consciousness) to violate the killing precept. Thus, bacteria are excluded. So are plants.

    In addition, killing human has worse karma than killing animals, and killing animals has worse karm than killing insects. The higher the intelligence level of the sentient beings killed, the worse is the karma effect.

    May all sentient beings abstain from killings.

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  • ssrvj
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    What do you say about -"not killing inects"-- "not walking in dark without hand-lamp,because of the fear of walking over small insects,"closing the mouth with a muslin cloth piece" to prevent any insect like mosquito entering the mouth"-- is all practised in Jain Religion--which is also 2600+ years old-not in Buddhism--The "spirit" of such practises is to avoid -killing,causing pain and Agony to animals both in Jain and Buddhist religions and that needs to be appreciated rather than making research on the "Letter" of such practices.Certain Religions in their Religious Texts itself "Preaches" (and had /.have been "Practising" also VIOLENCE).

    A Religion means the One which "Preaches" in Religious Texts and "Practises" in life NON -VIOLENCE"---Buddhist and Jain religions do that.---Otherwise it is more Honourable to be an "Atheist.--Sri.Tulasi Muni was an erudite Scholar and an extempore Orator and most respected Monk in Jainism-I do not know whether he is alive or not today..I am neither a Buddhist nor a Jain.I am a Hindu,but have a lot of respect and reverence to Bhuddhism and Jainism.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Buddhists are against taking direct part in the killing of any organism. One of the main focuses of Buddhists is to realize that they are not in control of everything, one can only change what they can control, which is their own thoughts and actions..

    As in all Buddhist philosophy, emphasize is put on state of mind, not the action itself. Actions can be guided by unlimited amounts of motives, rather conscious or subconscious. By working to master our minds, right action will come.

  • 1 decade ago

    Buddhism is realism, not mysticism.

    There is nothing wrong to destroy infections or even insects that are dangerous not only for us, but for the rest of humanity.

    You are invited to join my group called ariya-buddhism.

    Be happy and well

    Source(s): Buddha
  • 1 decade ago

    Sadhu 3x to Prajna for the correct answer from theravada perspective.

    Sukhihotu to all.

  • 1 decade ago

    I hope they do not drive cars.

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