Hi Mat, I am responding to you because you have been the only person on this thread to even mention plants as I have a few questions on plant life. Someone told me that the Buddha instructed his disciples not to damage plant life so I did a search on access to insight dot com for ‘plant’ and ended up with half a dozen suttas where the Buddha says something along the lines of ‘He abstains from damaging seed and plant life’. Nothing more than that, just a single line.
Since then, I have been pondering the issue a fair bit and find now I have a real problem with mowing the lawn and pulling out weeds. The whole first precept is a bit of an issue for me, when I was younger - long before I even heard about Buddhism, I did a little fishing and hunting. Now I feel a whole lot of guilt about that and am starting to wonder if it has made me a bit overly sensitive in regards to killing plant life. I can’t mow the lawn anymore and I have real trouble with the idea of pulling plants out of the ground, even weeds. I have tried to do it but I get to guilty and the one day I did do it I found I was completely unable to get my mind to settle down in meditation, I kept feeling bad about destroying all the weeds I had pulled out of the ground.
As you can guess, I have taken those brief mentions to mean the Buddha values all life, not just animal life and that we should strive to not take any life, not even plant life, but then I have read this whole thread and no one else seems to have a problem with it so maybe I am overthinking (or more to the point, over-feeling) the issue.
I understand the Bhikkhu’s have some rules that forbid them from ‘killing’ plants or pruning them back, does anyone know if there are any other references to killing/damaging/pruning plants in the suttas? Also does anyone know what the reasons are for these lines about abstaining from damaging plant and seed life?
Perhaps one of the Bhikkhu’s who post here might be able to point me in the right direction or give some clarification?