Killing precept includes plants?

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ydnan321
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Killing precept includes plants?

Postby ydnan321 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:24 am

For those who read Chinese, please help.
I was reading this Sutra in Vietnamese, which was translated from Chinese at the following site: http://buddhism.lib.ntu.edu.tw/BDLM/sutra/chi_pdf/sutra11/T24n1478.pdf

Particularly, in the passage below, it relates destroying plants to the killing precept? As far as I know, plants are not sentient beings, and that breaking branches should not be considered as killing? I'm deeply confused, if anyone could share insights on this.

  爾時佛便授大愛道十戒為沙彌尼。沙彌尼奉戒者。斷之根也。不得殺生禽獸蟲蛾
斫樹生折草華。終無害心。不得盜不得偷。不得貪人財物。或娛色欲。軟細語言令人
迷亂。貪得布施以為家業。此利墮貪盜之中。比丘尼當慎莫豫也

Thanks,

YN

Soma999
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby Soma999 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:29 am

I think you should adapt this precept to your circonstances. Maybe - see if that suits you - you can consider this precept relates to *intention*.

Killing is destroying plants out of a pleasure to destroy, killing animals out of cruelty, killing good projects out of negativity... That is in fact a willful desire, intention to destroy life.

But you take medicine : it kills viruses etc... good, that's not a violation of the precept. A country defends itself ? Good, that's good. No violation of the precept. Taking plants as medicine ? You don't kill them, you transform them in medicine. That's not killing.

Even correcting someone may prevent a lot of negativity in the future. And letting someone wicked do anything can be "non violence" which in facts creates a lot of violence in the future.

Maybe you can understand it this way : all actions that intentionnaly destroy life and goodness violate the precepts.

So we do it every time. And there is nothing to fear. Just, slowly, peacefuly, doing our best to become a "friend of life". Wherever you go, life is enriched.

If you feed the intention to enrich people's life, and yours too, and make beauty and peace grows, you completly fulfill the precept, even thought you may all the time doing mistake. It's not about being perfect. It's about being sincere, and doing our best, without taking ourself too seriously.

People sometime torment themselves. Precepts are not there to torment ourself. Torment is in fact a violation of the precept : you destroy your peace.

Just do your best with a good heart, and have patience and understanding with yourself. If you forgive yourself, have compassion for your so called wrongdoings, you will manifest good qualities also with other people.

If a precept does not grow love and goodness, this precept is clearly misunderstood. And a misunderstood precept can be worst than having no precept at all.

Seeker12
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby Seeker12 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:34 pm

In general, it is sometimes thought that certain devas can kind of take up residence in plants.

In any case, I think it's probably generally a good idea to not carelessly destroy anything, sentient or not.

Technically, I don't think it breaks any lay precepts to kill plant life, in general (it does break monastic precepts), but regardless I think that if we have metta/karuna/etc without object - that is, to all of existence rather than just to 'beings' - then we naturally might have a gentleness that includes plant life.

ydnan321
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby ydnan321 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:20 am

Thank you for the kind replies.

I did read and notice that monks have their precept that specifies them not to chop trees and such, but that is separate from the first (killing) precept though. So chopping trees while violates monk's precept, it's shouldn't be considered killing? It's no like we can be reborn as trees? Also, the passage that I referenced, as I read it, was meant for śrāmaṇerikā (female novitiate) who is not yet a bhikṣuṇī, and therefore should only be regulated by the ten precepts? As far as I know, the chopping tree precept is only for bhikṣu or bhikṣuṇī?

Sincerely,

YN

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seeker242
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby seeker242 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:11 am

I enjoyed this video. :smile:

phpBB [video]
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Lobsang Chojor
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby Lobsang Chojor » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:12 pm

ydnan321 wrote:I did read and notice that monks have their precept that specifies them not to chop trees and such, but that is separate from the first (killing) precept though. So chopping trees while violates monk's precept, it's shouldn't be considered killing? It's no like we can be reborn as trees? Also, the passage that I referenced, as I read it, was meant for śrāmaṇerikā (female novitiate) who is not yet a bhikṣuṇī, and therefore should only be regulated by the ten precepts? As far as I know, the chopping tree precept is only for bhikṣu or bhikṣuṇī

I believe chopping trees down is a different precept to killing. I'd base this on the story my Geshe shared about re-establishing Sera Mey Monastery in exile, where they needed to cut some trees down to make the debate courtyard and to provide space for the monastery. This isn't a full breakage of the vows either, the vow is easily repaired in the bimonthly sojong.
ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

"Morality does not become pure unless darkness is dispelled by the light of wisdom"
    Aryasura, Paramitasamasa 6.5

ydnan321
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby ydnan321 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:17 pm

Thank you for the video, that certainly helps! Though I'm still stuck on the sutra though, if anyone could read it, regarding chopping trees in the same line as the killing precept. Should I consider it as some mistranslation/misinterpretation?

Regards,

YN

Bristollad
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby Bristollad » Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:03 pm

Within the elucidation of the getsul (novice) vows in the Tibetan tradition, killing is divided into four:
(1)homicide, (2)pouring out that which contains animals, (3)using that which contains animals, (4)killing animals

The 2nd and 3rd are essentially the same but done for someone else's benefit(2) and for one's own benefit(3).
They are the fault of the heedless use of water and other materials that contain living creatures. By utilising material which you know or suspect is the support of living creatures, and those creatures die, then these misdeeds are incurred.

So I have read some teachers explaining this as, for instance, the logging of tropical forests to provide timber and pasture areas, knowing that this results in many animals dying.

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Lobsang Chojor
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby Lobsang Chojor » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:09 pm

Sorry I should have explained more in my post, in the story cutting down the tree was accepted because it's purpose was to benefit all sentient beings, whereas logging is not accepted as it causes so much harm.
Bristollad wrote:Within the elucidation of the getsul (novice) vows in the Tibetan tradition, killing is divided into four:
(1)homicide, (2)pouring out that which contains animals, (3)using that which contains animals, (4)killing animals

Thanks for that info :thanks:

I think it partially comes down to intent, so maybe it isn't fixed as a rule, I could be wrong there that's just a personal opinion.
ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

"Morality does not become pure unless darkness is dispelled by the light of wisdom"
    Aryasura, Paramitasamasa 6.5

Bristollad
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby Bristollad » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:41 pm

Lobsang, I agree. Intention is definitely important. :twothumbsup:

the fault of the heedless use


I wasn't disagreeing with you but just mentioning how within the getsul vows, killing is a little more complicated than just killing and how it could possibly explain why in the chinese text it was linked to cutting trees. In the gelong (fully ordained) vows there is a precept against damaging trees but if I remember correctly, the origin story (each vow has a story explaining why the vow was added) says it was for the sake of not upsetting those who believed that trees had some sort of self.

ydnan321 wrote:Also, the passage that I referenced, as I read it, was meant for śrāmaṇerikā (female novitiate) who is not yet a bhikṣuṇī, and therefore should only be regulated by the ten precepts?


Novices in the tibetan tradition also have 10 precepts but when counted another way 36, because for instance, the 1st precept against killing can be counted as one or four (see my post above). Heedlessly damaging material that is the abode of animals is counted within the killing precept if that causes the animals to die.

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Lobsang Chojor
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby Lobsang Chojor » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:13 pm

Bristollad wrote:I wasn't disagreeing with you but just mentioning how within the getsul vows, killing is a little more complicated than just killing and how it could possibly explain why in the chinese text it was linked to cutting trees. In the gelong (fully ordained) vows there is a precept against damaging trees but if I remember correctly, the origin story (each vow has a story explaining why the vow was added) says it was for the sake of not upsetting those who believed that trees had some sort of self.

Oh sorry that's my fault for not reading carefully enough :emb: I agree there, killing is a very complex with relation to the vows :twothumbsup:

I'm quite unaware of gelong vows and only aware of some getsul vows, there is a belief among Tibetans that knowing the vows are obstacles to ordination, although I get told a few getsul vows to try and live by. I do find it interesting learning the stories behind the vows.
ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

"Morality does not become pure unless darkness is dispelled by the light of wisdom"
    Aryasura, Paramitasamasa 6.5

ydnan321
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby ydnan321 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:13 am

So, does this mean monks can't harvest vegetables or fruits? Why do I see monks who grow and harvest vegetables? Are they violating the precept?

Thanks,

YN

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KathyLauren
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby KathyLauren » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:56 am

ydnan321 wrote:So, does this mean monks can't harvest vegetables or fruits? Why do I see monks who grow and harvest vegetables? Are they violating the precept?

Thanks,

YN

People, even monks, have to eat something. So which generates worse karma: killing a sentient animal or killing a plant whose sentience is dubious at best? It is not a violation of any precept to try to avoid starvation.

Analyzing a sutra passage to determine what was the original intent is an interesting academic exercise, and may even offer ethical guidance from time to time, but it can get too detached from the real world.

Om mani padme hum
Kathy

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:10 am

Monks regularly observe certain times when they really have to avoid things that might kill living creatures. During these times, they can't operate a lawn mower, and may be restricted regarding travel.
As important as it is to avoid killing creatures, and to avoid breaking vows and precepts, the fact is, we are all interconnected and it is impossible to exist without causing suffering. Even when your body's immune system fights bacteria, you are killing off beings.
This is one of the inescapable defects of samsara. It doesn't mean we shouldn't try to avoid causing suffering.

There is also the practice of releasing fish and other animals who have been captured for food. The intent isn't to balance the scoresheet, but simply to do what is possible, having obtained a human birth, being in a unique position to be able to benefit other beings that way. Even releasing worms from a (fishing) bait store. This is something that monks and laypeople can both do.

Strictly speaking, breaking vows involves not only the action, for example, as you say, killing beings while tending a garden. It also involves the wish to break the vow or precept (killing), as well as a sense of happiness from having done so, and an an intention or wish to do it again, which can also mean not having a sense of remorse. So, the motivation regarding breaking the vows is a primary consideration.
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Strive
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby Strive » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:41 am

My opinion I think cutting trees, grass, plants is violation of first precept but karma effects would be less bad than american air force pilot dropping bombs on innocent people or a butcher killing livestock.

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seeker242
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby seeker242 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:49 am

ydnan321 wrote:So, does this mean monks can't harvest vegetables or fruits? Why do I see monks who grow and harvest vegetables? Are they violating the precept?

Thanks,

YN


They are not violating the 1st precept by growing and harvesting vegetables. Asian monks who provide their own food are keeping the 1st precept by only harvesting plants.

:anjali:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

ydnan321
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby ydnan321 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:06 pm

Sorry, I wasn't being clear in my last question. I meant the 'no damaging of plantations' precept, if it is clearly spelled out thay monks shall not damage plantations, then does such precept cover harvesting vegetables or picking fruits from trees?

Regards,

YN

Dharma Flower
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Re: Killing precept includes plants?

Postby Dharma Flower » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:27 am

ydnan321 wrote:For those who read Chinese, please help.
I was reading this Sutra in Vietnamese, which was translated from Chinese at the following site: http://buddhism.lib.ntu.edu.tw/BDLM/sutra/chi_pdf/sutra11/T24n1478.pdf

Particularly, in the passage below, it relates destroying plants to the killing precept? As far as I know, plants are not sentient beings, and that breaking branches should not be considered as killing? I'm deeply confused, if anyone could share insights on this.

  爾時佛便授大愛道十戒為沙彌尼。沙彌尼奉戒者。斷之根也。不得殺生禽獸蟲蛾
斫樹生折草華。終無害心。不得盜不得偷。不得貪人財物。或娛色欲。軟細語言令人
迷亂。貪得布施以為家業。此利墮貪盜之中。比丘尼當慎莫豫也

Thanks,

YN


Some Buddhist vegetarians abstain from all root vegetables, because it kills the entire plant to harvest them. Since plants don't have feelings in the way that animals do, I'm unconcerned about this.


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