ahimsa and pest control

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
Simon E.
Posts: 5558
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: ahimsa and pest control

Post by Simon E. » Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:40 pm

:thumbsup:

That was exactly the situation Aryjana.
As I said there less than a month before the inspection. Starving them out was not an option given the timeframe. There was good reason to suspect that the local authority was out to close the place. Scotland in those days was a hotbed of Presbyterian zeal.
I have perhaps not adequately conveyed the nature of the rat population, They were everywhere..literally. In the kitchens and the shrine room, in the bedrooms.
Samye Ling is and was completely isolated. For teachings to happen it was essential that the kitchens stayed open. At any given time there were 60-100 students staying there.
I should add that CTR was very upset at having to make the decision. He was as soft hearted as any of his countrymen regarding animal life. I saw him once when he had hit a small bird when driving. He wept bitter tears

The men the local authority duly arrived, suited and booted. They made lots of recommendations and made a few mandatory changes.

There was not a rat to be seen.
The Buddha Dharma continued to be taught ..at that time in Scotland this happened uniquely in Samye-Ling.
Taking advantage of a temporary situation. Back for a short time only folks.

User avatar
tomschwarz
Posts: 737
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:31 am

Re: ahimsa and pest control

Post by tomschwarz » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:27 pm

Aryjna wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:47 am
tomschwarz wrote:
But first off, noble truth #1, we are all going to die and suffer a great deal of sickness which is resl hell, no mater what. So within the reality of the three types of suffering, appreciating the right of all sentient beings to happiness can be a pathway to liberation, no question. But its always helpful to keep a handle on the dark side of reality.
What do you mean by the dark side of reality?

Suffering can be overcome as is shown by the other noble truths after he first one.
The dark side of reality is the first noble truth (note its not called a "noble false"). I am pretty certain that "suffering can be overcome " is misleading. For example Suffering has always existed and will always exist. I think what is meant by the third noble truth, the truth of cessation, is more about accepting suffering, particularly the suffering of others, such as dinosaurs who eat each other all the time (enter the living dinasaur: shark) just like you eat living things all the time, just like the animals on earth are killing and eating each other by the thousands on billions (just on earth) every second.

It was Chogyam Trungpa (CTR?) who said that the "bowl of cherries" perspective is "not workable". One important step, for example, in the dharma of 3 realms of existance "desire realm - form realm - formless realm" idea, is overcoming attachment to equinimity (a.k.a. peace of mind). So the point is that when we break down the barriers (of the illusion of independent self) we not only have our own suffering, we have everyone else's too. Like Simon's ))))))) it is an honor to be part of the reality of others' suffering! But what is that honor/happiness exactly, if i am taking on suffering? Well that is Buddhism.... ...the core of the third noble truth: realization of dependent origination ( see Nagarjuna)

So i undetstand and respect your wish not to kill things. And i think that the best way to support that wisdom further, is to reconcile that wisdom, with the constant killing that is life. For example to breath is to kill. To walk is to kill. Of course as you have said, much worse than going for a nice walking meditation on a sunny day, is going for a nice walking meditation on a sunny day and relishing the death of the countless beings that you are..... ...killing.

Fyi, my personal take on this subject is to limit the suffering of death, sickness, change and fundemental ignorance in other beings. But i also see these as the first noble truth. In other words, life is not a bowl of cherries (CTR), we will all die, all good things will change (and for the worse), we will all get sick, and the one aspect of suffering that we can directly impact is fundemental ignorance. So i am trying to balance this thread with that perspective (death is unavoidable, fundemental ignorance is avoidable).
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

User avatar
Mantrik
Posts: 1599
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:55 pm
Contact:

Re: ahimsa and pest control

Post by Mantrik » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:51 am

tomschwarz wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:27 pm
Aryjna wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:47 am
tomschwarz wrote:
But first off, noble truth #1, we are all going to die and suffer a great deal of sickness which is resl hell, no mater what. So within the reality of the three types of suffering, appreciating the right of all sentient beings to happiness can be a pathway to liberation, no question. But its always helpful to keep a handle on the dark side of reality.
What do you mean by the dark side of reality?

Suffering can be overcome as is shown by the other noble truths after he first one.
The dark side of reality is the first noble truth (note its not called a "noble false"). I am pretty certain that "suffering can be overcome " is misleading. For example Suffering has always existed and will always exist. I think what is meant by the third noble truth, the truth of cessation, is more about accepting suffering, particularly the suffering of others, such as dinosaurs who eat each other all the time (enter the living dinasaur: shark) just like you eat living things all the time, just like the animals on earth are killing and eating each other by the thousands on billions (just on earth) every second.

It was Chogyam Trungpa (CTR?) who said that the "bowl of cherries" perspective is "not workable". One important step, for example, in the dharma of 3 realms of existance "desire realm - form realm - formless realm" idea, is overcoming attachment to equinimity (a.k.a. peace of mind). So the point is that when we break down the barriers (of the illusion of independent self) we not only have our own suffering, we have everyone else's too. Like Simon's ))))))) it is an honor to be part of the reality of others' suffering! But what is that honor/happiness exactly, if i am taking on suffering? Well that is Buddhism.... ...the core of the third noble truth: realization of dependent origination ( see Nagarjuna)

So i undetstand and respect your wish not to kill things. And i think that the best way to support that wisdom further, is to reconcile that wisdom, with the constant killing that is life. For example to breath is to kill. To walk is to kill. Of course as you have said, much worse than going for a nice walking meditation on a sunny day, is going for a nice walking meditation on a sunny day and relishing the death of the countless beings that you are..... ...killing.

Fyi, my personal take on this subject is to limit the suffering of death, sickness, change and fundemental ignorance in other beings. But i also see these as the first noble truth. In other words, life is not a bowl of cherries (CTR), we will all die, all good things will change (and for the worse), we will all get sick, and the one aspect of suffering that we can directly impact is fundemental ignorance. So i am trying to balance this thread with that perspective (death is unavoidable, fundemental ignorance is avoidable).
You seem to be missing the point. Yes, our lives will always be full of suffering. Yes, we all kill accidentally.
But 'ahimsa' is about causing the least harm - in other words not deliberately killing or increasing the suffering of others. Once we start applying it selectively - deliberately killing for comfort, convenience, food, we are along way from ahimsa.

In the case of the rats, closing the place down for a while would have been preferable to the deliberate killing of even one rat, unless I have misunderstood the status of deliberate killing. I'm sure the humans were capable of finding food and closure would never have been necessary just becuase the kitchens were closed down and people had to clean up. The reality is that back then I'm sure a lot of people went to buy cigarettes etc. and food shops were not three days travel away on horseback, but 15 miles away by car.
http://www.khyung.com

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

Simon E.
Posts: 5558
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: ahimsa and pest control

Post by Simon E. » Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:29 am

Well, as with many accounts of events that happened nearly 50 years before you had to be there to appreciate the complexities, the earnest attempts to find the least harmful and least disruptive solution and the grief at the realisation that there was only one real viable option.
As to 'closing the place down' the first of the Three Year Retreats has started some months before with all that entails in logistics and in the vows taken.

At that time (and perhaps still) a centre like Samye-Ling was subject to the same regulations that applied to hotels and restaurants. The relationship with the local authorities and the Forest Commision were already strained to breaking point. It was quite clear that they did not want us there.
A bunch of hippes led by weird robed monks.
The world has changed a lot Buddhism is now generally regarded positively.
Then in Scotland it was seen as dangerous and alien.
A decision was made by the senior members of the Karma Kagyu, including by the 16th Karmapa who was consulted prior to the action taken that it was the least worst option under the circumstances. I think that they know about the application of the Precepts than I do.
I trusted their judgment then, and I still do.
There are few absolutes in Samsara.
Taking advantage of a temporary situation. Back for a short time only folks.

User avatar
Anders
Posts: 1134
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: ahimsa and pest control

Post by Anders » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:27 am

Mantrik wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:42 pm
deserving of reaping the karma
Karma is not a justice system. No one is deserving of the karma they reap. What all beings deserve, regardless of their actions, is to enjoy the fruits of their own innate Buddhahood. What they get is, sadly, karma due to their ignorance.

If your view of harmlessness leads you to resent others and condone harm on those who commit harm, this is just another way of inflicting subtle harm. Even murderers will one day become Buddhas and deservedly so.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

User avatar
Mantrik
Posts: 1599
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:55 pm
Contact:

Re: ahimsa and pest control

Post by Mantrik » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:41 am

Anders wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:27 am
Mantrik wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:42 pm
deserving of reaping the karma
Karma is not a justice system. No one is deserving of the karma they reap. What all beings deserve, regardless of their actions, is to enjoy the fruits of their own innate Buddhahood. What they get is, sadly, karma due to their ignorance.

If your view of harmlessness leads you to resent others and condone harm on those who commit harm, this is just another way of inflicting subtle harm. Even murderers will one day become Buddhas and deservedly so.
I wrote 'reaping the karma of the act of killing'.
They do not reap karma at all; your second sentence is awry.
They perform karma (the act) and the consequence is vipaka.
Holding a view is not karma at all.
'Ahimsa' is about seeking the path of least harm; this is rarely a path of 'no harm' . Condoning or committing harm to others to avoid greater harm such as killing is perfectly in line with 'ahimsa'. Generally, it is translated as 'non-violent', so there are limits.
http://www.khyung.com

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

Simon E.
Posts: 5558
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: ahimsa and pest control

Post by Simon E. » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:55 am

In 'Hinduism' ahimsa is seen as an overriding cardinal virtue.
In Buddhism it is seen as one of several ideals that need to be kept in harmony, there is an acceptance of the fact that all things are interdependent and that ahimsa will often mean choosing the lesser of two evils.
In the particular case under discussion, the Karma Kagyu seniors decided that the death of the rats was the lesser of the two evils, after prolonged discussion.

It is possible that had they decided otherwise that a major centre of Dharma in the West which has hosted innumerable teachings and been the base for several hundred individuals doing the Three Year Retreat over the years, which has been a seminary for teachings all over the UK and the mothership for many other centres in Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, The U.S. and Canada would have succumbed two or three years after its foundation.
It might be possible to assert that all this activity was not worth the death of the rats.
Clearly, those senior teachers thought otherwise.
Taking advantage of a temporary situation. Back for a short time only folks.

User avatar
Grigoris
Global Moderator
Posts: 17657
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: ahimsa and pest control

Post by Grigoris » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:35 pm

For some reason this topic is drawing hoardes of bots (pests), so I am going to engage in pest control by practicing himsa (banning the bots) and locking the topic for a while so that maybe we can avoid attracting the hungry bots.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Locked

Return to “Dharma in Everyday Life”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 49 guests