Ticks and fleas

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby Sanjay PS » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:03 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Virgo wrote:
cherrytigerbarb wrote:Is it ok to kill ticks and fleas if it's to save the life of an infested animal?

Absolutely not. You should never, ever kill living beings.

The fact that the infested animal will die is very sad, however, it is not your fault. All beings must die. It is a time to be equanimous.


Really? What if it was a human being infested with ticks and fleas? Would you let the human die so that you don't accumulate any bad kamma?

Yes, killing is bad, but everything is not all so easy when we have obligations and responsibilities. And size does matter to some extent. The Vinaya makes one such distinction, considering murder (of a human) an offense so serious as to require permanent expulsion from the Sangha (Parajika 3), while killing an animal is a far less serious offence (Pacittiya 62), on a par with insulting someone, idle chatter and having a non-regulation size sitting mat.

Large royal animals are not allowed to be eaten even if offered to monks. Animals and small beings which one does not see but accidentally steps on or kills; there is no offense.



i am in complete agreement with David .

What is mentioned makes sense . With these noble thoughts of trying our best not to intentionally harm any beings , we must dig deeper and look further inside ourselves whether the roots of lust, anger , hatred , conceit , jealousy , ill will , harbored since time immemorial , is loosing its hold on us . If these base emotions continue to be strong with us , and yet we focus mostly only on the intricate details , i think somewhere down the road , we may have unknowingly forgotten our basics .

Also the contemplation of dukkha in everything that we do , is a pointer of the way life has been , is , and will always be..........the noble truth of living.............

sanjay
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby Mr Man » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:52 am

Virgo wrote:I am sorry, but you do not own the pet. You feed it and give it shelter (and if it is very lucky, you get it good medical treatment).

And I admire that you care for it.

Kevin


This is not the case in the UK. You do own your pet and you have a legal duty of care. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/animal-welfare-act-2006-it-s-your-duty-to-care

Kevin what is your position on breaking the law (or advising someone to break the law)? Would that be akusala kamma patha? Would condemnation be acting as judge and jury? Is kamma interwoven? Or is it Self?

The first precept is fairly clear. In my opinion we move forward from there (that is our point of reference) and try to act with responsibility, wisdom, intelligence & compassion according to our ability (where we are).
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby Virgo » Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:54 am

Jason wrote:I agree more with the Mahayanin stance on this issue (e.g., see the Upayakausalya Sutra) than that of the Theravadin Adhidhamma.

Hi Jason, then I guess we simply disagree on this one.

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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby Virgo » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:01 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
Really? What if it was a human being infested with ticks and fleas? Would you let the human die so that you don't accumulate any bad kamma?


Someone else could take the ticks and fleas off of them. I really rather not kill. If it was a human though, and there was no other choice, I might have to reconsider what I would do. They are lesser creatures as you point out, however, we should have metta for all creatures. While the kamma may be less for killing smaller creatures, it is hard for me to weigh one life against another - they are both living beings with feelings.




David wrote:Yes, killing is bad, but everything is not all so easy when we have obligations and responsibilities. And size does matter to some extent. The Vinaya makes one such distinction, considering murder (of a human) an offense so serious as to require permanent expulsion from the Sangha (Parajika 3), while killing an animal is a far less serious offence (Pacittiya 62), on a par with insulting someone, idle chatter and having a non-regulation size sitting mat.

Large royal animals are not allowed to be eaten even if offered to monks. Animals and small beings which one does not see but accidentally steps on or kills; there is no offense.


They are the same level offence as those other actions because humans are "higher" and more advanced beings, but the category is big and some of the things in it are much worse than others. A Pacittiya is a very serious offence actually.

Killing, even of "Pacittiya" level for monks is still akusala kamma pattha leading to birth in the lower realms, and a shorter life span when one is reborn.

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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby Virgo » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:07 pm

Sanjay PS wrote:What is mentioned makes sense . With these noble thoughts of trying our best not to intentionally harm any beings , we must dig deeper and look further inside ourselves whether the roots of lust, anger , hatred , conceit , jealousy , ill will , harbored since time immemorial , is loosing its hold on us . If these base emotions continue to be strong with us , and yet we focus mostly only on the intricate details , i think somewhere down the road , we may have unknowingly forgotten our basics .

Also the contemplation of dukkha in everything that we do , is a pointer of the way life has been , is , and will always be..........the noble truth of living.............

sanjay

Hi Sanjay. What you may not realize is that killing is always done with dosa. Why is one beings life more important than another? It is natural that we way think in this way but really is it wholesome or unwholesome? It is good to know these things. Equinimity should arise at times.

All the best,

Kevin
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby seeker242 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:13 pm

If one has a problem killing fleas and ticks, it would be better to not have the responsibility of taking care of pets to begin with IMO. :) However, if one does have a pet, the very responsible thing to do is to not allow them to be become infested with fleas and tics to begin with. That way, you won't have to make that choice to begin with. Of course that does not help if they already are infested.

Would it be more unethical to let a dog suffer and die from a flea infestation than it would be to give him a flea bath, I think so!
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby Virgo » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:24 pm

Here some of the problems with rebirth in samsara are evident.

Because we love and are attached to one animal that is suffering unwholesome kamma vipaaka, we harm other beings which are harming the one we like, and through which it is experiencing it's unwholesome vipaaka (result of kamma). Then, we create unwholesome kamma through that deed, and we will be made to suffer it's unwholesome vipaaka in turn at some point in the future. And it goes on and on in this way.


Would an Arahant kill the bugs to save the dog?

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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby seeker242 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:33 pm

Virgo wrote:Here some of the problems with rebirth in samsara are evident.

Because we love and are attached to one animal


Or, not because of "attachment" but because of "compassion".

Would an Arahant kill the bugs to save the dog?


I don't think anyone except another Arahant can answer that, as only an Arahant or a Buddha can know another Arahant's mind.

:namaste:
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby Virgo » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:38 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Virgo wrote:Here some of the problems with rebirth in samsara are evident.

Because we love and are attached to one animal


Or, not because of "attachment" but because of "compassion".


What about compassion for the flea who dies by the press or your thumb and possibly reappears in a hell? Is that compassion? Many beings are reborn in hell. if you had not killed it, would it be in hell now?


seeker242 wrote:
Would an Arahant kill the bugs to save the dog?


I don't think anyone except another Arahant can answer that, as only an Arahant or a Buddha can know another Arahant's mind.

:namaste:


No, that is simply wrong. It is impossible for Ariyas to kill.

All the best,

Kevin
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby seeker242 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:46 pm

Virgo wrote:
seeker242 wrote:
Virgo wrote:Here some of the problems with rebirth in samsara are evident.

Because we love and are attached to one animal


Or, not because of "attachment" but because of "compassion".


What about compassion for the flea who dies by the press or your thumb and possibly reappears in a hell? Is that compassion? Many beings are reborn in hell. if you had not killed it, would it be in hell now?


seeker242 wrote:
Would an Arahant kill the bugs to save the dog?


I don't think anyone except another Arahant can answer that, as only an Arahant or a Buddha can know another Arahant's mind.

:namaste:


No, that is simply wrong. It is impossible for Ariyas to kill.

All the best,

Kevin


Agree to disagree.

:namaste:
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:27 pm

Virgo wrote:
seeker242 wrote:
Virgo wrote:Here some of the problems with rebirth in samsara are evident.

Because we love and are attached to one animal


Or, not because of "attachment" but because of "compassion".


What about compassion for the flea who dies by the press or your thumb and possibly reappears in a hell? Is that compassion? Many beings are reborn in hell. if you had not killed it, would it be in hell now?
Geez, Kevin, if you get a tape worm, you will let it have its way in your body, even as it makes its way to your brain to it damage up there?

Or how about an infection of the acanthamoeba parasite that would eat your cornea, causing considerable pain and likely blindness? You would not kill it, cause its demise?

And you would not kill the fleas that would be harboring the Black Death, letting them spread it far and wide?

And if some random human infected with fleas, lice, ticks, and other personal livestock, the person should just suffer and possibly die from bacterial, viral, and parasite infection mediated by these pest?

Your position makes no sense.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:31 pm

Virgo wrote:
No, that is simply wrong. It is impossible for Ariyas to kill.

Are you still claiming to be ariya that you know this as an undisputed fact? So, an ariya would say that any medication that killed any living bacteria or parasite is simply wrong, according to you? The person or animal in question must just suffer and die?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby Virgo » Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:16 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
What about compassion for the flea who dies by the press or your thumb and possibly reappears in a hell? Is that compassion? Many beings are reborn in hell. if you had not killed it, would it be in hell now?
Geez, Kevin, if you get a tape worm, you will let it have its way in your body, even as it makes its way to your brain to it damage up there?

Or how about an infection of the acanthamoeba parasite that would eat your cornea, causing considerable pain and likely blindness? You would not kill it, cause its demise?

And you would not kill the fleas that would be harboring the Black Death, letting them spread it far and wide?

And if some random human infected with fleas, lice, ticks, and other personal livestock, the person should just suffer and possibly die from bacterial, viral, and parasite infection mediated by these pest?

Your position makes no sense.

You'd be better off not killing it. Of course, I do not know whether I would be able to actually do that or not. Nevertheless, killing even such a creature would still be akusala kamma pattha, not as bad as killing for some other reasons, but akusala kamma none-the-less, and the result would be unwholesome.

Kevin
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby Virgo » Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:17 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:
No, that is simply wrong. It is impossible for Ariyas to kill.

Are you still claiming to be ariya that you know this as an undisputed fact? So, an ariya would say that any medication that killed any living bacteria or parasite is simply wrong, according to you? The person or animal in question must just suffer and die?

No, it's just standard Theravada teachings.
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:03 pm

Virgo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Virgo wrote:
No, that is simply wrong. It is impossible for Ariyas to kill.

Are you still claiming to be ariya that you know this as an undisputed fact? So, an ariya would say that any medication that killed any living bacteria or parasite is simply wrong, according to you? The person or animal in question must just suffer and die?

No, it's just standard Theravada teachings.
I have not seen any irrefutable evidence that standard Theravada teachings needs to be so absolutist. If I thought for a moment that one must, because it was supposedly the what the Buddha absolutely taught, that one must let the fleas and ticks live to the detriment and death of the dog, I'd say to hell with these teachings, burn my books, and walk away from it, never looking back. Fortunately, the Buddha's teachings are not the black and white, either/or horror of such absolutism.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby Sanjay PS » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:06 pm

Virgo wrote:
Sanjay PS wrote:What is mentioned makes sense . With these noble thoughts of trying our best not to intentionally harm any beings , we must dig deeper and look further inside ourselves whether the roots of lust, anger , hatred , conceit , jealousy , ill will , harbored since time immemorial , is loosing its hold on us . If these base emotions continue to be strong with us , and yet we focus mostly only on the intricate details , i think somewhere down the road , we may have unknowingly forgotten our basics .

Also the contemplation of dukkha in everything that we do , is a pointer of the way life has been , is , and will always be..........the noble truth of living.............

sanjay

Hi Sanjay. What you may not realize is that killing is always done with dosa. Why is one beings life more important than another? It is natural that we way think in this way but really is it wholesome or unwholesome? It is good to know these things. Equinimity should arise at times.

All the best,

Kevin


Hi Kevin,

Its compassion that is important , not the attachment to it .

Killing is dosa , yes , but so long as there is malice and hatred mixed with it .

Even in the Tipitaka , there is a clear mention by Lord Buddha , that having to resort to this base deed , so long as it is in self-defence does not will the force of kamma .What is important , is the forming mental impressions should not be of hatred , anger and ill-will . In the case of tick and fleas and other beings , it may not be in self-defence , but for the welfare of pets at large, or in many cases we humans ourselves ( we harbor so many unimaginable parasites and bacteria and get sick sooner or later , having but no choice to take whatever medication , in bringing down the infestation levels by eradicating that what caused the imbalance ) . Yes , it is a one way action , there is no disagreement to it , but it is the situation , intensity and intent of killing that matters .

If for example i have strived in living a life in trying my best in not knowingly kill any being however tiny it may be , whatever be the cause . But on the other hand if i find that someone insulting me ,hurting me , gets me agitated and worked up , instead of having compassion and kindness for the person and situation , then it goes on to show a contradiction .

There are four kinds of acts :

1) Intentionally
2) Unintentionally
3) Knowingly
4) Unknowingly

The above are inter-dependent , yet very different . Its worthwhile to contemplate on them, and find meaning and answers for ourselves .

More than worlds of hell and heaven , what is really stirring to feel is that whatever we do , however horrific and beatific be the planes , there is dukkha . To build a hut or make a dwelling , we knowingly or unintentionally kill multitudes of beings. Living is dukkha , one just cannot escape this fact . Nature torches this reality of life both on a macro level and also at the tiniest atomic level , where birth , growth , decay and vaporizing , flashes by . Fundamentally the same , the sorrow of change , of parting away from an illusion.........

And i think Arhants or Ariyas will have no interest whatsoever to have pets , just as it is completely meaningless for them to lead a family life .

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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby Anagarika » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:34 pm

Kevin had earlier posted that my views may cause me to be reborn in the hell realm. He did subsequently soften this post. I wanted to respond that as long as beer is served in hell, I will survive.

I'm writing again now that wiser voices have weighed in , to suggest to Kevin that his tone is somewhat strident and 'black and white.' It can be good to be resolute about certain issues ( ie environmental negligence is harming the planet), but a lot of what we encounter in life arises in some very grey areas. I mentioned earlier the Middle Way, the idea that extremes (self-mortification vs sensuality) do not lead us to insight and release. My hope for myself, and for you, Kevin, is that we can cultivate our understanding along this path, learn from the kalayana mitta here, and strive to gain release from the stress and suffering that these attachments bring us. In other words, try not to be too hard on others, and in turn, yourself.

So, if I do end up in a lower realm for killing ticks, I will meet you there, and I'll buy the first pint. :)
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby Virgo » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:59 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:So, if I do end up in a lower realm for killing ticks, I will meet you there, and I'll buy the first pint. :)

Thanks mate but I don't drink. :)

I do take sila very seriously, but I think this is prudent. What I try to present here is the ideal, and I think it is fair to say that people should protect their vows like they protect their own two eyes, even allowing harm to oneself - in certain cases - not to commit negative actions. I believe that even with akusala citta, if necessary, one should refrain from strong negative actions. Of course, if we commit some, we should not gain more dosa or unwholesomeness over it. If you go and kill a bunch of ticks tomorrow to save a dog, you should realize that it was wrong as in you should definitely know that it is akusala kamma pattha, but you should not have dosa about it. Samsara is not perfect and we are only human. All cetana is conditioned in many ways, so there is no doer, just action done - not a person or a self. This is not an excuse to commit negativity but we must know with insight - even at the conceptual level - that it is not a person ultimately who does thiese things - just conditioned moments of nama and ruupa. And we should know that at least they were small creatures and so on, and that at least we helped the dog. Yet we should still understand that it is because of our defilements that we did so, nevertheless, we should not get worked up about it. Equanimity is needed here too.

Sorry, would write more but I have to go at the moment.

All the best,

Kevin

P.S. The Buddha gave the similie of the salt crystal which is very important. Yet we have to remember, there has to be a lot of WATER for the salt to dilute well...

And, in the end, these things are not-self and arise by conditions. We have a long road ahead.
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby Virgo » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:20 pm

Sanjay PS wrote:Killing is dosa , yes , but so long as there is malice and hatred mixed with it .

Hi Sanjay, dosa is aversion, so malice and hatred are just aspects of it.

Kevin
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:28 pm

Virgo wrote:
Sanjay PS wrote:Killing is dosa , yes , but so long as there is malice and hatred mixed with it .

Hi Sanjay, dosa is aversion, so malice and hatred are just aspects of it.

Kevin
And one can have an aversion -- and thusly malice and hatred and fear -- towards the not killing of fleas, ticks, etc.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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