Knowing that living beings (such as insects) will directly be killed as a result of your actions?

Welcome to the forum Raghav. If you want to talk with someone you can click on their avatar to send them a message. But I see that Aconlan was posting in this thread nearly two years ago. Possibly they have moved on.

I hope you can find other threads that interest you. :blush:

I had similar question and one of the moderator guided me to this topic, Basically began with is it ok to kill weeds in the garden and why is destroyer of seeds, plants considered bad.

How do you know someone is conscious or not, there has to be a knower present to tell that, ventilator can keep body warm and running without consciousness doctors can’t even tell someone is live or dead with 100% certainty

Then further reading the Final ruling Below and few other places I see intentional killing of plants and seeds is not allowed, intentional digging is prohibited, cooking raw food is prohibited all is for saving this precept

(SuttaCentral)‘If a monk destroys plants, he commits an offense entailing confession.’”

Question comes to me to what extent this precept goes, and what are the beings who are conscious, our body is composed of +50% foreign cells bacteria and viruses More than half your body is not human - BBC News . Are these also sentiment beings, Any living cells?

When we open our mouth, move our body or perform any day to day activity certainly some smaller beings, plants or seeds might be destroyed, When you rub hands 1000s of cells are destroyed also these microbes along with might be. So literally a 10 step walk is not possible maintaining this precept to the fullest, so does it mean one should stop a intentional walk? Or movement of body ?

Isn’t the point simply to maintain mindfulness about sensations, feelings, thoughts, and mental formations along with the actions that follow forth? Few human beings are perfected. Buddhism teaches a series of practices, much as a musician practices scales. “Practice makes perfect,” as the saying goes. But in practicing anything humans are bound to make mistakes. The goal is to maintain mindfulness so as to cultivate greater awareness of one’s sensations, feelings, thoughts, and mental formations along with the actions that follow forth. That way we can strive to act in ways that bring us closer to a perfected state, even if we do not get there in this lifetime.

Case in point: I typed this message while taking a break from cleaning between the boards on my outdoor deck in preparation for waterproofing the deck. There is a robin that has built its nest right below the deck. I do not want to disturb the robin, so I am being very mindful about where the nest is located and I am not cleaning in that area. Many people wouldn’t care one wit about the robin. Some people would even destroy the nest (the bird does make quite a mess). As someone trying to put Buddhist teachings into practice I find the process of avoiding the area where the robin is nesting very conducive to my mindfulness practice. It is quite meditative to stay aware of my presence relative to the nesting area as I go about my work.

In the meantime, am I destroying life along the way? Perhaps. There are insects on the deck, for sure. I make efforts not to step on them, but I probably have killed some inadvertently, just as we all do when walking, biking, driving, etc. But by maintaining mindfulness in cleaning the deck to stay clear of the robin’s nest below I like to think I am putting Buddhist teachings into practice.

Robins case is understood so in the garden should I take out weeds and still follow 5 precepts?

Then why is killing plants etc below not allowed isn’t it because you also harm beings under the soil? If that’s the case why would you discount killing some insects on the way

And microbes are so small you can’t even be mindful of not killing microbes



This topic may also give you some further information about the Vinaya, plants and digging :slight_smile:

Lots of goodies, if you ‘dig’ around :smiley:

Just one thing to keep in mind. From what I understand, the Vinaya are ‘training rules’. They exist as part of a teaching framework for monastics. It doesn’t mean that they represent absolute moral principles. So choosing what to focus on, where to have right attention and right effort is important, and depends on your level of practice and circumstances :slight_smile:

So are you suggesting it’s okay to dig out the weeds and it doesn’t break this precept even if it breaks confess it and no bad karma happens doing this?

Sorry I don’t feel competent to give that kind of advice, but there are a few monastics who discuss this in the previous replies :slight_smile: I’m just linking you with resources :pray:


No worries none is on spot here just trying to do right thing. In our body itself there are 57% external bacteria, pathogens, viruses, worms and what not wondering this was considered intentional knowing they exist and our actions can kill them

Even in the link you shared our poop can have worms and pathogens who survive in warmth of body and will die left alone or flushed in toilet does that break the precept

… you are debating whether or not to poop? … I think there is a way to stop, harmlessly; achieve liberation, extinguishment. Using the current yet temporary vehicle of this life, maintained for that purpose, is worthy of attention and examination. I hope that goes well for you. But I suppose out of respect for this forum, we should explore this in terms of the Early Buddhist Texts rather than personal opinions. Some have been suggested. My eyes are a little tired at the moment, but I’ll catch up when I can.


No not at all my query is below can this be done by keeping 5 precepts all others are analogies

Yes definitely, I want to know the right thing to do here with keeping 5 precepts and avoiding immoral actions can someone advise here

Pardon me not getting a clear picture on weeds I will like to confess that today I dig out weeds in my garden, every piece of earth I turn over has insects and microbes and similar is every breath, and similar is every drop of water I drink, Pls excuse me.

Mil 5.1.8
It is not all suffering that has its root in Karma. There are eight causes by which sufferings arise, by which many beings suffer pain. And what are the eight? Superabundance of wind, and of bile, and of phlegm, the union of these humours, variations in temperature, the avoiding of dissimilarities, external agency, and Karma. From each of these there are some sufferings that arise, and these are the eight causes by which many beings suffer pain. And therein whosoever maintains that it is Karma that injures beings, and besides it there is no other reason for pain, his proposition is false.
So what arises as the fruit of Karma is much less than that which arises from other causes. And the ignorant go too far when they say that every pain is produced as the fruit of Karma. No one without a Buddha’s insight can fix the extent of the action of Karma.

Reverend, the Jain leader Nātaputta claims to be all-knowing and all-seeing, to know and see everything without exception, thus:…
He says “O Jain ascetics, you have done bad deeds in a past life. Wear them away with these severe and grueling austerities. And when you refrain from such deeds in the present by way of body, speech, and mind, you’re not doing any bad deeds for the future. So, due to eliminating past deeds by mortification, and not doing any new deeds, there’s nothing to come up in the future. With nothing to come up in the future, deeds end. With the ending of deeds, suffering ends. With the ending of suffering, feeling ends. And with the ending of feeling, all suffering will have been worn away.”

When they said this, I said to them, ‘But reverends, do you know for sure that you existed in the past, and it is not the case that you didn’t exist? Do you know for sure that you did bad deeds in the past?’

‘Do you know that you did such and such bad deeds? Do you know that so much suffering has already been worn away? Or that so much suffering still remains to be worn away? Or that when so much suffering is worn away all suffering will have been worn away?’

‘But reverends, do you know about giving up unskillful qualities in the present life and embracing skillful qualities?’

‘No we don’t, reverend.’

I say that the ending of defilements is for one who knows and sees, not for one who does not know or see. For one who knows and sees what? ‘Such is form, such is the origin of form, such is the ending of form. Such is feeling … Such is perception … Such are choices … Such is consciousness, such is the origin of consciousness, such is the ending of consciousness.’ The ending of the defilements is for one who knows and sees this.

“Sir, they speak of this thing called a ‘sentient being’. How is a sentient being defined?”

“Rādha, when you cling, strongly cling, to desire, greed, relishing, and craving for form, then a being is spoken of. When you cling, strongly cling, to desire, greed, relishing, and craving for feeling … perception … choices … consciousness, then a being is spoken of.

Suppose some boys or girls were playing with sandcastles. As long as they’re not rid of greed, desire, fondness, thirst, passion, and craving for those sandcastles, they cherish them, fancy them, treasure them, and treat them as their own. But when they are rid of greed, desire, fondness, thirst, passion, and craving for those sandcastles, they scatter, destroy, and demolish them with their hands and feet, making them unplayable.

In the same way, you should scatter, destroy, and demolish form, making it unplayable. And you should practice for the ending of craving. You should scatter, destroy, and demolish feeling … perception … choices … consciousness, making it unplayable. And you should practice for the ending of craving. For the ending of craving is extinguishment.”

How are those weeds, insects etc separate from “you”? Are these not all part of the same everchanging process of Samsara, being artificially differentiated by “you” only because of “Name & Form”, conditioned by Volition, rooted in Ignorance?
What arises is only suffering arising, what ceases is only suffering ceasing.
Certainly, “I” would not unduly obsess over the inevitable results of “my” form being part of Samsara. At the same time, “I” would not intentionally squash that insect either, just as “I” would not intentionally cut off “my” finger.
:pray: :grin: :pray:


I just want to share this story I found in


Parable 44:
A Sramanera Saves Ants from Water and
Is Recompensed with Long Life

Once there was a man of the path, an arhat, who was bringing up
a sramanera (novice). He knew that this sramanera’s life was sure
to end after seven days. He gave him a leave of absence and let him
return home. He told him to come back on the seventh day. The
sramanera took leave of his master and went home.
On his way he saw many ants floating about on the water.
Their life was about to come to an end, and he had compassionate
thoughts. He took off his kasaya, filled it with earth, made a dam
in the water, and rescued the ants. He put them up in a high and
dry place, so that they all could live. When he returned to his
master on the seventh day, his master was very astonished. The
master subsequently entered into concentration. Contemplating
with his heavenly eye, he knew that [the sramanera] had no longer
had any remainder of merit, but that he had obtained [merit] by
saving the ants. He did not die on the seventh day but prolonged his life.

I have faith in this.