I have recently been reviewing my understanding of the first percept. Today my eyes were drawn to the front of a parked car which was splattered with dead insects. I haven’t owned a car for about 15 years, however, every now and then I either hire a car or borrow a friends car.
I certainly know that by driving a car at speed many little insects are going to get killed. I know that they will have no way of getting out of the way of the car. Essentially I am propelling a large projectile directly into unsuspecting beings. If they were human beings it would surely be blameworthy in the extreme.
In the past I have transported many bhikkhus in cars and many monks and nuns from other Buddhist traditions also. Not once has any of them suggested that it is a problem for me to drive as a lay person. I have never heard a dhamma talk that addresses this or read any suttas that might have a bearing - do chariots reach speeds capable of killing flying insects?
Interestingly, when I walk I take extreme care (most off the time) not to crush any ants or other creepy crawlies under foot, but I have never even considered the problem with driving.
So what do you think? Is it time for me to give up driving and stop all of this mayhem for good?