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Karmic effect

Hello all,

I was having a meal, suddenly I saw there was an insect. Not far from where I sat, other customer saw it too and told the staff. The waiter went to the back and grabbed a tool to kill that insect, the insect was killed.

Do I get some part of the karma of killing, since I was already aware the staff was going to kill it but did not prevent it or encourage him not to kill it? I was thinking to save the insect though before it got killed but had nothing with me and I don't normally catch or hold an insect using bare hands.

I heard many times that if there is consciousness, there is karma. Since I consciously saw there was an insect, did I get some part of the karma of killing, and why? Thanks.

Comments

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Well, you're thinking about it. Does that count as 'karma' in your book?

    BunksAkashalobster
  • @NB1100 - I see where you're coming from though there's a part of me that thinks you might be taking on a bit too much responsibility for others' actions.

    If you're looking in the balance book of karma consciousness, I'm with @genkaku in that you've shown concern about the insect both before and after its death. Maybe that's enough to counter the absence of leaping across a crowded restaurant and making a scene which could embarrass the owners, other customers, your companions and cause negative karma by highlighting others' 'lack of care' for the insect as well as showing your own 'lack of care' for the humans in the room. Sounds like you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

    [I think I sounded harsher than I meant - just trying to show some alternative ideas]

    AkashaCinorjer
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Recidivist Samsarist Veteran
    edited November 2016

    If we have to keep tabs on every little action we perform every day, we'll end up overthinking, ruminating excessively, and paralized by unwholesome feelings of guilt and blame.

    Unwholesome volitional actions carried out as consequence of afflictive states of mind, are what really count as negative karma.
    But if you really feel too concerned about any insect that comes within your sphere of interaction, well, vow to intervene next time.
    I never kill insects myself: I get every single spider that strays into my house outside.
    But cockroaches are another thing and I don't feel any remorse at exterminating them, however black my karma could get.

    Cinorjer
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran
    edited December 2016

    Karma is cause and effect, and these effects that you're worried about could happen after you and that insect gets reborn a billion times. Perhaps you will be enlightened before that happens?

    Bunks
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I think you can't take responsibility for the actions of others. At most you might try and spread some dharma by making them see that these insects are also alive, and deserving of compassion.

    But insects are difficult to deal with, I have a program of mercy for little flies that sometimes come into my apartment but I am fortunate it's all concrete and I can't get infested with termites or things.

  • Karma is what you decide to do. Doing nothing is also a decision that has consequences. What you want to know is, do you share the guilt of the actual killing. How far back do you want to take the blame? Do you blame even your parents, for teaching you that insects carry germs and can't be allowed around food?

    Suppose you didn't say anything, and after you left the insect got into someone's food, and they ended up yelling at the waiter and cook and the restaurant owner got into trouble? Not knowing, you would not feel responsible. Is karma you are not aware of still karma?

    Some points to think about.

    DhammaDragon
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Strange to think how insistent Buddhists can be about controlling or limiting 'bad' karma and controlling or expanding 'good' karma and yet controlling or limiting things is not really an option ... karma, like shit or bliss, happens. The road to hell, like the road to heaven, is paved with good intentions.

    My take -- do your best and shoulder the responsibility.

    lobsterCinorjer
  • specialkaymespecialkayme Veteran
    edited December 2016

    "[i]n order for the full effect of negative karma to take place, the negative action must have four completed parts: (1) The act is done intentionally, (2) The act is accomplished and completed, (3) The act is not regretted or repented, (4) The act is not atoned for, with vows not to repeat such action again."

    • Lama Surya Das, Awakening the Buddha Within

    Maybe helpful in your own analysis, maybe not.

    To me, there is probably some negative karma in your inaction (not necessarily in any action you took, and not in any action someone else took), but not much. Possibly reversed by your bad feelings, desire not to repeat?

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited December 2016

    @Kerome said:
    I think you can't take responsibility for the actions of others. At most you might try and spread some dharma by making them see that these insects are also alive, and deserving of compassion.

    But insects are difficult to deal with, I have a program of mercy for little flies that sometimes come into my apartment but I am fortunate it's all concrete and I can't get _infested with termites_or things.

    @Kerome you'd be surprised where termites will travel (the lenghs they will go) to get to a wooden food source....

    Cinorjer
  • @Shoshin. wow!

  • smarinosmarino florida Explorer
    edited December 2016

    It depends on where you are on the food chain. If you're the insect that was killed, then yes, someone (not mentioning any names here) contributed to your death through inaction. If you're the food inspector, you (we know who) helped the restaurant meet the sanitary regulations.

    I think it's cut and dried. You contributed to a death, so what comes w/ that is what comes w/ that. Is an insect a sentient being? That's a question for far greater minds than mine. Just to muddy the water even further, I found this website below that says that some insects are conscious and some aren't (those who aren't are essentially like tiny Republicans w/ lots of little legs, stuff like that). I have a horse in this race because I recently had to use toxic stuff to spray into my home's walls to kill a bunch of invading termites. Do I feel bad about that. Not too much actually. They were eating my home up. Was I right to do this? Probably not.

    I would give them the benefit of the doubt and say that an insect generally is sentient. Which shows you how very, very difficult it is to live a life of non violence and killing. Now, is an insect's death equal to a human's? Or is everyone equal, except that some beings are more equal than others?

    http://www.animal-ethics.org/what-beings-are-conscious/

    Cinorjer
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