A simple cause and effect illustration:
The boys fear/dislikes pain:
quote: "Yes, lord, we fear pain. We dislike pain."
Yet the boys were not aware that by catching the fishes, they were actually creating a "cause"
.....and with every cause, there will be an "effect"
as noted by the Blessed One:
quote: "If you're doing or will do an evil deed, you won't escape pain catching up as you run away."
The pain "caused
" towards catching the fishes will have the same "effect
" on the doer!.....one CANNOT escape it!.....PERFECTION.
The point here is to escape the cycle and to go beyond!
Agreed, but the boys were probably unaware that they were creating a cause which would affect the fish. Most adults who reflect upon it would be better informed, and would probably agree that the boys are causing pain for the fish. But how many would think that there are wider consequences for the doer? Do we think that the doer experiences the same pain as the fish, and if so, why do we?
With regard to the different question of why the boys are catching fish, I think it likely that the message here is that they are doing it for fun. Small fish, rather than fish for the family dinner. In other passages, though, the Buddha registers concern over the fates of those who kill even out of apparent necessity, for food:
"And which is the individual who torments others and is devoted to the practice of torturing others? There is the case where a certain individual is a butcher of sheep, a butcher of pigs, a butcher of fowl, a trapper, a hunter, a fisherman, a thief, an executioner, a prison warden, or anyone who follows any other bloody occupation. This is called an individual who torments others and is devoted to the practice of torturing others.
If catching the little fish for sport, are the boys totally innocent because they are ignorant of the consequences of their actions? There is the suggestion that they know that in principle their actions are wrong, because of the reference to running away. You can run away from the wandering holy man who you think might give you a bit of a scolding, but not from your Kamma