Ticks and fleas

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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kc2dpt
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Post by kc2dpt » Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:59 am

cherrytigerbarb wrote:Is it ok to kill ticks and fleas if it's to save the life of an infested animal?
What do you mean "is it ok"?
OK with whom or what?

One might ask, "Is it in line with the Buddha's teachings to kill ticks and fleas if it's to save the life of an infested animal?"

Or one might ask, "Is killing always an unwholesome act which leads to suffering? Or is it sometimes a wholesome act which leads to pleasure? Is it ever a wholesome act which leads to peace?"

I have read a lot of scriptures and I have never come across one which says "killing is sometimes a wholesome act". So as far as I can tell, no it is not in line with the Buddha's teachings.

I think if I owned a dog I would feel compelled to keep it safe from ticks and fleas. My choice would be to use a repellant. If there was no such choice, if my only choice was some sort of poison, then I think I would just not own a dog.

If I were to walk in high grass, I would wear long clothes and use repellant.

My point is, I do not think we find ourselves in an unavoidable situation where killing fleas and wasps is the only course of action. If you choose to keep a dog then you also choose everything that comes with it.

I find wasp nests around my home regularly. The thoughts which arise are not ones of compassion for my family. The thoughts which arise are fear for my families well being. Fear, last I checked, is not a wholesome thought. Killing wasps because I fear the pain they might cause my family would not be a wholesome act.

I'm trying to use fake wasp nests to discourage them from building their nests near my house. We'll see how that goes.

Some posts in this thread have suggested killing with a thought of compassion. I don't see how that would work. There might be, in that series of thoughts, a thought of compassion for the animal infested with the ticks, but it is impossible that would be the only thought which arises. There are, in such situations, many different thoughts. At some point there will be the weighing of one life against another, which I'm pretty sure is not a wholesome thought. And there will inevitably have to be the thoughts concerned with the killing itself. The thought "I will end the life of this being" must arise. That I understand to be an unwholesome thought, regardless of what other thoughts preceded it. There seems to be some suggestions in this thread that the killing thought somehow becomes wholesome if it's preceded by other wholesome thoughts. I do not recall reading anything like that in the Buddha's teachings.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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kc2dpt
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Post by kc2dpt » Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:07 am

cherrytigerbarb wrote:Is it ok to kill ticks and fleas if it's to save the life of an infested animal?
I thought of something else. We might ask "Am I OK with killing <insert circumstance here>?" I once heard it said "If you are not OK with it, then don't do it." I think that is sound advice.

I guess the flip side is... if you are OK with it then I'm not sure anything I'm going to say is going to change that.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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cooran
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Post by cooran » Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:52 am

Why not use herbal repellents, rather than pesticides?

With metta,
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Post by DNS » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:59 am

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.

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cherrytigerbarb
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Post by cherrytigerbarb » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:57 am

kc2dpt wrote:My point is, I do not think we find ourselves in an unavoidable situation where killing fleas and wasps is the only course of action. If you choose to keep a dog then you also choose everything that comes with it.
In this particular case, the animal had been abandoned and was brought to us as we are an animal rescue. It had already been treated with two kinds of pesticide, but the infestation was so great that the treatment was not working. We made the decision to have further treatment applied and all the ticks physically removed by a vet. The life of the animal was saved and it is now thriving.
"The foolish reject what they see, not what they think. The wise reject what they think, not what they see." - Huang Po.

Sanjay PS
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Post by 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
The Path of Dhamma

The path of Dhamma is no picnic . It is a strenuous march steeply up the hill . If all the comrades desert you , Walk alone ! Walk alone ! with all the Thrill !!

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Mr Man
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Post by 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/publicati ... ty-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

Post by 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.

Kevin

Virgo
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Post by 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.

Kevin

Virgo
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Post by 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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seeker242
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Post by 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!

Virgo
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Post by 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?

Kevin

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seeker242
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Post by 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

Post by 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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seeker242
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Re: Ticks and fleas

Post by 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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