Do plants feel pain?

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Stiphan
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Do plants feel pain?

Post by Stiphan » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:09 pm

I'll tell you a short funny story first.

Back in February, I was in a park near Manchester airport. I had been walking through a huge field of grass, and I was only 5 metres away from the asphalt alley, when suddenly I wondered: "Hang on a second, does the grass underneath me actually feel pain when I'm walking on it?".

So I stopped (just in case I didn't hurt any more grass). My mind told me it didn't feel pain. But my heart, my feelings, felt as if the grass did feel pain.

I stood there for many minutes, wondering what to do. I only had 5 or so metres to cross, and then I'd be on the asphalt. But I just didn't want to hurt the grass!

So, perhaps out of a sense of humour, I asked myself: "Well, can I fly?". "Yes, through psychic powers."...

Anyway, since it was obvious I couldn't fly, and I couldn't stay there forever, with great care, as if I was a burglar in someone's home, I tread as lightly as I possibly could on the remaining 5 metres of grass, and in doing so, in my mind apologizing to the grass...


Well, I hope that made you laugh! Seriously, though, now I think that plants don't feel pain. The Buddha, as far as I am aware, never said they feel pain. After all, modern science would say you need a nervous system to be able to feel pain, and plants lack such a system.

But it does make you wonder. They are life forms. They have great sensitivity. They arise from a seed, then they grow and mature, then they wither away (grow old), and then they die. They are so different from animals, yet they have certain similarities - some can even "eat" insects!

Plants are awesome! I adore them, as I adore nature. I wish I knew for real the answer to my original question in the park: "Do they actually feel pain?", because then... maybe I should not only not walk on grass (as I strove to avoid walking on it in the weeks and months after that experience, just in case), but maybe not even eat them. But then, since I'm already a vegetarian (vegan from January 1), I'd have nothing to eat...

Here's an interesting scientific article that seems to suggest they may actually feel pain:
Do plants feel pain?
Call me Stephen, please. May you be well and happy. :heart:

Know right from wrong — and their consequences — and act accordingly, always doing your very best.

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DooDoot
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Re: Do plants feel pain?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:02 am

In the 1st noble truth, suffering seems to have been summarized as attachment (upadana) to the five aggregates. The plants mental construct upadana?

SarathW
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Re: Do plants feel pain?

Post by SarathW » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:46 am

The plants mental construct upadana?
Where does it say?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Do plants feel pain?

Post by SarathW » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:48 am

According to Abhidhamma plant possess Rupa Jivitandriya only.
Human and animal possesses Rupa and Nama Jivitandriya both.

Lengthy discussion.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1204&hilit=
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

chownah
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Re: Do plants feel pain?

Post by chownah » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:52 am

The air feels pain every time you breath it.
chownah

justindesilva
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Re: Do plants feel pain?

Post by justindesilva » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:40 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:02 am
In the 1st noble truth, suffering seems to have been summarized as attachment (upadana) to the five aggregates. The plants mental construct upadana?
Only a jainist will feel that plants have feelings. Jainism advocated its followers to avoid eating even seeds of plants as it was believed it has feelings.
Lord Buddha in his explanation of Paticca Samuppada has clearly indicated that it is vingnana which fabricates perceptions involving citta with kusala mula and akusala mula leading to karma and its results. Therefore as plants are only formed of form or rupa (apo tejo vayo patavi) without nama (mind) we do not have to consider that plant life has clinging or upadana. As there is no upadana plants do not undergo vedana or suffering.

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DNS
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Re: Do plants feel pain?

Post by DNS » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:27 pm

justindesilva wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:40 am
Only a jainist will feel that plants have feelings. Jainism advocated its followers to avoid eating even seeds of plants as it was believed it has feelings.
Lord Buddha in his explanation of Paticca Samuppada has clearly indicated that it is vingnana which fabricates perceptions involving citta with kusala mula and akusala mula leading to karma and its results. Therefore as plants are only formed of form or rupa (apo tejo vayo patavi) without nama (mind) we do not have to consider that plant life has clinging or upadana. As there is no upadana plants do not undergo vedana or suffering.
In Buddhism, there is a Vinaya rule against eating seeds too. I forget which Vinaya passage. It's not clear if that rule applies to lay people or not.

And then there is also a rule that monastics cannot harm plant life (Pac.10, 11).

chownah
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Re: Do plants feel pain?

Post by chownah » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:23 am

DNS wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:27 pm


In Buddhism, there is a Vinaya rule against eating seeds too. I forget which Vinaya passage. It's not clear if that rule applies to lay people or not.

And then there is also a rule that monastics cannot harm plant life (Pac.10, 11).
....of course eating rice is just eating seeds......
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Re: Do plants feel pain?

Post by Dinsdale » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:24 am

justindesilva wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:40 am
As there is no upadana plants do not undergo vedana or suffering.
I think that's a reasonable analysis. It seems that plants don't feel pain in the way that animals do.
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seeker242
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Re: Do plants feel pain?

Post by seeker242 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:28 pm

DNS wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:27 pm
justindesilva wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:40 am
Only a jainist will feel that plants have feelings. Jainism advocated its followers to avoid eating even seeds of plants as it was believed it has feelings.
Lord Buddha in his explanation of Paticca Samuppada has clearly indicated that it is vingnana which fabricates perceptions involving citta with kusala mula and akusala mula leading to karma and its results. Therefore as plants are only formed of form or rupa (apo tejo vayo patavi) without nama (mind) we do not have to consider that plant life has clinging or upadana. As there is no upadana plants do not undergo vedana or suffering.
In Buddhism, there is a Vinaya rule against eating seeds too. I forget which Vinaya passage. It's not clear if that rule applies to lay people or not.

And then there is also a rule that monastics cannot harm plant life (Pac.10, 11).
The question now is why were these rules instituted by the Buddha?

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DNS
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Re: Do plants feel pain?

Post by DNS » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:09 pm

Even if plants do feel pain, I imagine it is a very low level type of pain, more of a biological reaction (in a similar way to the way they move toward sunlight), certainly not comparable to an animal's pain when getting injured or killed. We have to draw the line somewhere in terms of which lives are worthy of protection from killing.

1. Humans
2. + All other mammals
3. + All medium to large animals, including those in the seas
4. + All small animals about the size of a worm or larger
5. + All animals including insects
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
6. + Plants
7. + Bacteria, algae, microorganisms not visible to the naked eye

In my opinion, a clear demarcation line exists at number 5 and above. Animals have advanced nervous systems, sentience and consciousness and clearly feel pain and suffering. Drawing the line below numbers 6 or 7 would be too extreme and not realistic and probably not even possible.

justindesilva
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Re: Do plants feel pain?

Post by justindesilva » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:44 am

seeker242 wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:28 pm
DNS wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:27 pm
justindesilva wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:40 am
Only a jainist will feel that plants have feelings. Jainism advocated its followers to avoid eating even seeds of plants as it was believed it has feelings.
Lord Buddha in his explanation of Paticca Samuppada has clearly indicated that it is vingnana which fabricates perceptions involving citta with kusala mula and akusala mula leading to karma and its results. Therefore as plants are only formed of form or rupa (apo tejo vayo patavi) without nama (mind) we do not have to consider that plant life has clinging or upadana. As there is no upadana plants do not undergo vedana or suffering.
In Buddhism, there is a Vinaya rule against eating seeds too. I forget which Vinaya passage. It's not clear if that rule applies to lay people or not.

And then there is also a rule that monastics cannot harm plant life (Pac.10, 11).
The question now is why were these rules instituted by the Buddha?
Lord buddha was advanced by many jainists as it was a contemporary religion based mainly on extreme Ahimsa. Wheras buddhism was based on the four noble truths the jainist ascetics are said to have turned buddha sravaka.
Samannapala sutta is one sutta where the lines of differences in jainism and buddhism id seen. A research text " Jainism in Buddhist literature" written by Dr. Hiralal Jain in Vidyodaya university Colombo under the guidance of Dr. Ven Balangoda Ananda Maitri is a book which shows the differences and parallels of the two religions jainism and Buddhism in detail.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Do plants feel pain?

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:20 am

justindesilva wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:44 am
Samannapala sutta is one sutta where the lines of differences in jainism and buddhism id seen. A research text " Jainism in Buddhist literature" written by Dr. Hiralal Jain in Vidyodaya university Colombo under the guidance of Dr. Ven Balangoda Ananda Maitri is a book which shows the differences and parallels of the two religions jainism and Buddhism in detail.
The author was actually Dr. Bhagchandra Jain Bhaskar. Dr. Hiralal only wrote the foreword. It's available here:

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.320363

justindesilva
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Re: Do plants feel pain?

Post by justindesilva » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:45 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:20 am
justindesilva wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:44 am
Samannapala sutta is one sutta where the lines of differences in jainism and buddhism id seen. A research text " Jainism in Buddhist literature" written by Dr. Hiralal Jain in Vidyodaya university Colombo under the guidance of Dr. Ven Balangoda Ananda Maitri is a book which shows the differences and parallels of the two religions jainism and Buddhism in detail.
The author was actually Dr. Bhagchandra Jain Bhaskar. Dr. Hiralal only wrote the foreword. It's available here:

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.320363
May I express my gratitude for the correction by Bante Dammanando.

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