No-killing Precept

Hello, may you all be happy. :deciduous_tree:

I’m wondering if you could help me with changing A’s views so s/he could see that observing the first precept is good for him/her.

A doesn’t agree that killing should be avoided. His/her concerns are that some animals like rats who come to his/her house are dirty. I assume s/he has view that protecting his/her belongings from destruction done by the rats is correct.

I understand that I should use an effective tact. One example is this animated video - - where it’s illustrated that the Buddha says something to make the person-to-be-taught’s mind ready for teachings.

May you have a great day/evening. :pray::slightly_smiling_face:

I would begin by discussing this aspect. Why do rats come to A’s house in any case? Is there something that A is doing or in A’s house that encourages them?

Perhaps we can get A to see that killing this particular rat doesn’t help prevent more rats from coming in… they don’t have any concept of retributive justice! The only thing that occurs is much more work for A - putting poison, picking up dead bodies etc etc… with the added risk of accidental poisoning. How would A feel if their child/ pet consumed that poison? Or if they themselves contracted some kind of disease from the dead Rat?

Perhaps A can be guided into adopting some better means of protecting their belongings? Such as ultrasonic pest repellers? Something that would neither harm them, nor others?

Working in this way, perhaps A might realize the benefit of skillful action… and from that understanding they might see the value of the First Precept.


It is not stated how closely A’s views affect or impinge upon you, and the Buddha did not go about trying to convert people unless they came to him with a question, indicating they were ready for progress. If a person is at a stage where they are receptive to the teachings, the first thing is not to impose rules, but to explain that not harming living beings has a positive effect on the mind state, and one interested in progressing in meditation can notice this.


The following story by Ajahn Brahm might be relevant. While the story does not discuss the first precept, it presents worldly ways as a slippery slope.

A good nun lived a very simple life, with few possessions and dwelling in a cave. Every morning, she would take her alms bowl to the nearby village to collect just enough food for her one meal of the day. She had plenty of time to meditate, study, and teach what she knew to any of the local villagers.

When she returned from alms round one morning, she noticed a hole in her spare robe, so she found a small piece of cloth and hand sewed a patch onto the robe. She’d done this before. You see, in her cave lived a family of mice, and they liked nibbling her robes. While sewing, she thought that if she had a cat, then there would be no mice, and she wouldn’t have to spend so much time sewing patches. So the next day, she asked the villagers for a cat, and they gave her a well-behaved brown cat whose color matched her robes.

The cat needed milk and fish, so the nun had to ask the villagers for these extra items every morning. One morning. She thought that if she had her own cow, then she wouldn’t need to keep asking for milk to feed the cat to keep away the mice that chewed her robes. So she asked one of her wealthy supporters for a cow.

Once the nun had a cow, she had to get grass for the cow to eat. So she begged the villagers for grass to feed her cow to provide milk for the cat to keep away the mice that chewed her robes.

After a few days, the nun thought that if she had her own field, then she would not need to harass the poor villagers for grass everyday. So she arranged for a collection to be made to buy a nearby pasture to provide grass for her cow to provide milk for the cat to keep away the mice that chewed her robes.

It was a lot of work looking after the pasture, catching the cow every morning and milking it, so she thought that it would be helpful to have a boy, a young attendant who could do all these chores for her. In return, the nun would give him moral guidance and teachings. The villagers selected a boy from a poor family in dire need of some moral guidance. Now she had a boy to look after the pasture to provide grass for her cow to provide milk for the cat to keep away the mice that chewed her robes.

Now the nun needed to collect more than twice as much food every morning, because young boys eat a lot. More over, she needed a small hut nearby for the boy to sleep in, because it was against the rules for the boy to sleep in the cave with a nun. So she asked the villagers to build a hut for her boy who looked after the pasture to provide grass for her cow to provide milk for the cat to keep away the mice that chewed her robes.

By this time, she began to notice the villagers avoiding her. They were afraid that she was going to ask them for something more. Even when they saw a brown cow approaching in the distance, thinking it was the nun, they would run away or hide in their houses with the door securely bolted and the curtains drawn over the windows.

When a villager did come to ask her some questions on meditation, she said, “Sorry. Not now. I’m too busy. I have to check the hut being built for the boy who looks after my field to graze my cow that provides the milk for my brown cat that keeps away the mice so that I don’t need to keep patching my robe.”

She noticed what she was saying and realized: “Such is the origin of materialism.”

She then told the villagers to dismantle the hut, sent the boy back to his family, gave away the cow and the field, and found a good home for her cat.

A few days later, she had returned to her simple life, with few possessions and dwelling in a cave. After returning one morning from the village with just enough alms food for her one meal of the day, she noticed that a mouse had chewed another hole in her robe.

With a quiet smile, she sewed on another patch.


Hi Paul, thank you for your reply.

From what I know, the Buddha surveyed the world with his divine eye and approached people whom he saw ready for his teachings. One Arahant who was approached by the Buddha was Angulimala.

I’m not the Buddha and can’t gauge how ready A is for the teachings. However, A has been interested in watching talks by a monk as well as practicing dana and other good things for some time now but disagreed with refraining from killing. The monk doesn’t always mention Buddhism or the Buddha taught this this this, but his approach seems to be working very well with many people including A.

What I am trying to get at is that how I can emulate the Buddha or the monk’s approach to make him/her have… right view(?)… that killing is actually not good, by gathering some ideas from the community here first. Angulimala probably has never heard of the Buddha before the Buddha appeared in front of him.

That’s an exceptional case, and the reason the Buddha intervened was because it was seen the murderer was at a juncture where it would be profitable. But normally people come to the Buddha.

"I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One, on a wandering tour among the Kosalans with a large community of monks, arrived at Kesaputta, a town of the Kalamas. The Kalamas of Kesaputta heard it said, “Gotama the contemplative — the son of the Sakyans, having gone forth from the Sakyan clan — has arrived at Kesaputta. And of that Master Gotama this fine reputation has spread: ‘He is indeed a Blessed One, worthy, & rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, a knower of the cosmos, an unexcelled trainer of those persons ready to be tamed, teacher of human & divine beings, awakened, blessed. He has made known — having realized it through direct knowledge — this world with its devas, maras, & brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & brahmans, their rulers & common people; has explained the Dhamma admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end; has expounded the holy life both in its particulars & in its essence, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. It is good to see such a worthy one.’”—AN 3.65

The more a practitioner develops their own practice, the more they will automatically influence others. Wanting others to advance is a profitable thought, but should be kept at that unless an obvious opportunity to speak or act arises.

This could help A see rats in a different light:

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Hi @faujidoc1 and @Bundokji
Thank you for the posts from which I can learn!

@paul1 Yes, I agree that as a practitioner progresses, s/he can influence others positively.

The link below will bring you to an animated video which shows another effective way the Buddha uses in helping a being. Brahma Baka has a wrong view. Instead of preaching through words, the Buddha makes him discover himself that his view is actually wrong. It’s similar with the video in the first post in how the lady arrives at the realization through discovering herself.
It’d be great if I can make A arrive at the view that killing is not good.

I’m not sure if the two links I posted here have roots in the EBT.
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