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Spiders and karma

edited February 2008 in Buddhism Today
Hello I was just wondering

Is killing a spider that is about to bite you bad karma becouse if it is my comp is gona explode.....soon enough
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Comments

  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited December 2007
    Much better to escort said spider out of the house, say OM MANI PEME HUNG over it and blow on it to give it the blessing of the mantra, and then let it go about its business. It's always best not to kill if you can avoid it, even something so lowly as a spider, as it is taught that all sentient beings were once our very own loving mother.

    Palzang
  • edited December 2007
    thanks
  • edited December 2007
    If you want a laugh, watch that scene in Seven Years in Tibet where they have to save all the worms in the soil because all the worms might be their mother...

    And remember that that "lowly" spider eats all the other "lowly" bugs in your home and could prove very useful in your life if you don't kill it. The spider could prove more useful than myself when it comes right down to it! I'm just sitting here being a lump typing at a computer. What am I doing for anyone? The spider is hard at work eating "lowly" bugs.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited December 2007
    And just think of how fast you could type if you had 8 legs...

    Palzang
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited December 2007
    Chuckness,
    Chuckness wrote: »
    Hello I was just wondering

    Is killing a spider that is about to bite you bad karma becouse if it is my comp is gona explode.....soon enough

    According to the teachings on kamma, intentionally killing any sentient being is considered to be unwholesome or unskillful kamma (akusala-kamma) regardless of the extenuating circumstances. The main reason is that the intention (cetana) to kill itself is unskillful, i.e., arising out of the mental defilements of greed, hatred, and delusion. Essentially, unskillful intentional actions have the potential to give rise to unfavorable or unpleasant results. Unfortunately, it is difficult, if not impossible, to speculate about what the specific consequences of a specific action might be, but I doubt that it would manifest as an exploding computer in this case if that is any consolation. In my opinion, the best recourse in this kind of situation, at least from a Buddhist perspective, is to make the determination to refrain from killing living beings in the future, and escort spiders outside if they are considered unwanted guests.

    Best wishes,

    Jason
  • edited December 2007
    If you want a laugh, watch that scene in Seven Years in Tibet where they have to save all the worms in the soil because all the worms might be their mother...

    And remember that that "lowly" spider eats all the other "lowly" bugs in your home and could prove very useful in your life if you don't kill it. The spider could prove more useful than myself when it comes right down to it! I'm just sitting here being a lump typing at a computer. What am I doing for anyone? The spider is hard at work eating "lowly" bugs.

    My parents are not Buddhists but they basically told me not to kill spiders and crickets on many occasions when I found them in the house, precicely because they do eat other, more troublesome critters...

    EDIT:
    THis may sound really strange, and I've gotten looks for doing stuff like this :rolleyesc

    Anyway . . . I don't like killing most bugs just 'cause I think they are cool. When you find a spider in your house try catching it in a clear glass jar by putting the jar over it and sliding an index card or something similar under the opening. Pick it up and take a good long look at it--a lot of spiders are actually quite lovely when you get to know them. (Maybe I'm just wierd :grin:) Then take it out somewhere where it is not in your way and let it go.

    Once a wasp got into the kitchen at my parent's home. Usually my first response would be to go for the fly swatter, but this time I just sat and watched it. It landed on the table and I got close enough to see that it was sticking it's mouthparts on the table for an odd reason. My mother suggested maybe it's thirsty, so I tried putting a damp paper towel on the table. To the surprise of both of us, it actually went for the paper towel, and then flew to the window. At this point I caught it in a glass and let it go outside. I really couldn't kill it at that point--I was way too involved :p
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited December 2007
    Great post, Starstuff!
  • edited December 2007
    Brigid wrote: »
    Great post, Starstuff!


    Thanks :D
  • edited January 2008
    Another question about karma has come to mind...

    If you tell something that you fully believe to be true (assuming you have checked and the check has confirmed your belief) and it turns out to be false after all, does that have any effect on karma? I'm asking because even mistakes such as this could be the cause of bad consequences--and is this not what karma is about, cause and effect?

    Unintentionally killing a bug is not likely to bring any serious consequences, but mistakenly telling an untruth could.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited January 2008
    starstuff wrote: »
    Another question about karma has come to mind...

    If you tell something that you fully believe to be true (assuming you have checked and the check has confirmed your belief) and it turns out to be false after all, does that have any effect on karma? I'm asking because even mistakes such as this could be the cause of bad consequences--and is this not what karma is about, cause and effect?

    Unintentionally killing a bug is not likely to bring any serious consequences, but mistakenly telling an untruth could.

    Methinks the answer remains the same, Starstuff: it is intention that has to be considered.

    In some respects, this is another of the crossroads that pilgrims encounter. Some believe that all that matters is the action, some the intention and some of us don't know but keep on putting one foot in front of the other.

    You might like to consider the Hoffmansthal version of the Parsifal legend which Wagner set to music: Parsifal is guilty even though he didn't know he was sinning. Or Oedipus: he didn't know that he had killed his father, nor that it was his mother that he had married. All the same, Thebes was punished by the gods for the miasma incurred by Oedipus well-meaning actions.

    The question is: is this how you see the world working?
  • edited January 2008
    Starstuff:

    I think buddha said that intention is all that affects your karma. So if you do something that does not follow Right Speech, but you don't do it on purpose, then it does not change your karma.

    However, I think there could still be consequences for your action, whether you accumulate karma or not. At first, this sounds confusing. But if you look at karma as what you get back for your action later, it could still work. Maybe the consequences for your current, unintentional action are actually the karmic consequences of some other action entirely.

    Hrmmm... This is a great thought! Thank you for bringing it up.
  • edited January 2008
    Thanks simon and mouthfulofclay. That helps, though I am still finding this a difficult concept to get a handle on. One minute I think I have it, next minute it slips though my fingers...
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited January 2008
    starstuff wrote: »
    Unintentionally killing a bug is not likely to bring any serious consequences...
    It will for the bug!! :)
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited January 2008
    Brigid wrote: »
    It will for the bug!! :)

    Boo dearest,

    I am hoping, next week, to have a few days' retreat at Emmaus House, a favourite place of mine. Last time I was there, a couple of months ago, there was a nun from Cameroon to whom I was introduced. My anam cara's introduction went something like this: "Sister, this is Simon. He says the prayers for the dying over our dead goldfish." True: he caught me doing so on one occasion, by the pond in the herb garden.
  • edited January 2008
    Boo dearest,

    I am hoping, next week, to have a few days' retreat at Emmaus House, a favourite place of mine. Last time I was there, a couple of months ago, there was a nun from Cameroon to whom I was introduced. My anam cara's introduction went something like this: "Sister, this is Simon. He says the prayers for the dying over our dead goldfish." True: he caught me doing so on one occasion, by the pond in the herb garden.

    This reminds me of that scene in the beginning of the movie Me, You & Everyone We Know. There is a dad and a little girl driving. They just bought a goldfish, but dad left it one top of the car and now they are driving. One of the main characters and her passenger try to help the fish, but ultimately wind up saying some nice words about it's life. Great movie about life, love & our odd connections to others.
  • bushinokibushinoki Veteran
    edited January 2008
    Don't even let the spider become a danger to you. Situational awareness. If you are in an area where that spider would make its' home, check for it first, and always exercise caution. If you do so, you should almost always find the spider before it's a danger to you.

    As for intention, I think intention counts when you know what you're doing and know what the consequences are. Intention doesn't count when you have know way of knowing that what you are doing is actually wrong, or what the consequences would be for what you did. Even if there are very few situations I could think of for the latter.
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited February 2008
    bushinoki wrote: »
    Don't even let the spider become a danger to you. Situational awareness. If you are in an area where that spider would make its' home, check for it first, and always exercise caution. If you do so, you should almost always find the spider before it's a danger to you.
    I loved this, Bushi. It's SUCH a soldier's post; pragmatic and no-nonsense, and the intelligent way to approach the spider issue (or any other potentially dangerous small creature issue). Skillful approach indeed! "Situational awareness". I'll have to remember that expression. It describes that form of mindfulness perfectly, doesn't it?

    It's also a post that would have calmed my fears considerably had I read it while I was still an arachnophobe. Actually, it's calming me down right now anyway. Lol!!

    Dearest Simon,

    I have the loveliest picture of you in my head conducting a gold fish funeral...

    Marvelous!
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited February 2008
    Bushi,

    I, too, have added "situational awareness" to my vocabulary. It perfectly summarises what I think of as informed mindfulness and explains how it is possible to assess a situation and act without the action being based on "situational ethics" but where one's ethical choices are a second step in the decision process.
  • edited February 2008
    I realize the accidental killing of a spider or any living thing will bring light Karma and with remorse the Karma can be lighten more.
    Here is my question; If one knows there action can or will cause death to a living thing, one should not do the action correct?
    This thread was about killing spiders, what about when somebody cuts there grass in the back yard / lawn? That kills many living things.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited February 2008
    You're quite right, David. Cutting the lawn does kill many sentient beings. And the killing of any sentient being is never "light karma". You might argue that killing beings while cutting the grass or squishing a spider may not have the same weight as killing a human. Quite right, but there's still the karma of killing, which is not light. Some may argue that there is no intent to kill when you're cutting grass or driving a car, but that's a false assumption as well. You know that when you cut grass or drive your car (at least in warm weather) you're killing sentient beings, sometimes in massive quantities (ever drive through Mississippi in the fall with the love bugs are out?). So if you know that killing is going to happen when you do something, how can there be no intent?

    Palzang
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited February 2008
    But is there not Volition and intent, and intent without volition?

    If I go fishing for a meal, I may not like the fact that I will have to desptch the fish to eat, but I know I'm going to have to....
    If I go for a drive, and I know that my screen and car are going to be plastered in splatted-bugs by journey's end, there's a difference....
    And if, whilst driving (as happened to me once) a swooping bird chances to come too low and is hit by my car as it flies across, this is even more 'perchance'?

    I think the word 'intention' here is clouding the mirror....
  • edited February 2008
    Hmm interesting thread.

    I agree that intentionally killing (for example to eat) is perhaps different from accidentally killing a sentient being. But in driving my car or deciding to cut the lawn I am conscious of the fact that I MAY kill.

    But what is the take on a situation where I have to make a conscious decision to kill despite my misgivings. If you wish to live and thrive, let the spider run alive, is a saying we used at home a lot - no problem with spiders.

    But what about hornets? I am one of those people who could die of anaphylactic shock if I get stung by a hornet. So if I find myself in a room with one I do what I can to let it out - but if I have to kill it, I do, but am I right to think that my life is worth more than a hornets? Discuss
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited February 2008
    It is always a difficult thing to try to go in and unravel karma. I think it would be a mistake to think there's some sort of rule book you can put together that would lay it all out - this for accidentally killing bugs when you're driving (even though you know that driving kills bugs) and that for putting a bullet in your mother's head. I think what is more productive is vowing to always do your best to be of benefit to beings - all sentient beings, not just the ones you like. Because lets' face it, living means killing other sentient beings, either inadvertently or to survive. You can't live without doing it. It's part of our karma as well. So you do the best you can. Perhaps you could make a little prayer when you hit a bug or just when you drive the car that whatever beings die because of your actions will have a connection with you that will come to fruition some day by you leading them to enlightenment. See what I mean?

    Palzang
  • edited February 2008
    LOL - well I always DO apologise to them!

    And we must be the only household that do vikings funerals for mice ..... it just seems better that way.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited February 2008
    I can picture it now - the Flight of the Valkyrats!

    Palzang
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited February 2008
    Da-da de-dah-dah, Da-da de-dah-dah, Diddle-e dum-dum, dah de dah squeak!!

    Pally - ya had to be there.....!!
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited February 2008
    I was, Fede. I was...

    Palzang
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited February 2008
    To whom it may concern, some of my thoughts regarding the kamma of killing, whether right or wrong, can be found here.
  • edited February 2008
    This is the book I have been reading about Karma. Steps on the Path to Enlightenment, Vol.2: Karma
    http://www.amazon.com/Steps-Path-Enlightenment-Vol-2-Commentary/dp/0861714814/ref=pd_sim_b_img_2

    Geshe Lhundub Sopa gave a copy to my wife and me when we met with him at his residence. I’m about half way through the book and it is very interesting. I truly believe in Karma.
  • edited February 2008
    When Palzang said that "living means killing other sentient beings" I had this (miniature) light bulb go off in my head. Originally, I was thinking about mowing the lawn, and how ridiculous and unnecessary it may be. After living in Santa Fe, I am constantly irritated by how much energy and resources we waste on our lawns. My thought was that there is not a lot of reason to have to mow your lawn at all if you would just grow something besides grass... like rocks!

    Which sent my mind spiraling into the technology debate: you know, to have or not to have. If we didn't have it, we'd be killing a lot fewer bugs with our cars and lawnmowers. But we'd also have to kill a lot more beings, because we wouldn't be as well equipped to be vegetarians or keep from spreading our sicky germs.

    So maybe it's all just in how you play it today. Shocking thought for a buddhist forum, ain't it? ;-)
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited February 2008
    May I share a poem I wrote some years ago, rejected for publication (not a surprise) by Resurgence:

    PRAISE POEM
    for R. M. Rilke

    Let us sing the small-pox germ
    Living lonely in Atlanta,
    last of its kind.

    How its perfect symmetry
    betrays God's hand.

    And now,
    imprisoning and condemning it to die,
    for obeying its genetic orders,
    memento mori,
    humanity debates viral genocide,
    without compunction,
    while drooling over dolphins.
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited February 2008
    How could they reject that?? Fools! I think it's brilliant. "Viral genocide". Love it!!
  • edited February 2008
    Just remember - the more times a publisher rejects a work - the better it probably is.

    In my experience anyway
  • edited February 2008
    starstuff wrote: »
    Once a wasp got into the kitchen at my parent's home. Usually my first response would be to go for the fly swatter, but this time I just sat and watched it. It landed on the table and I got close enough to see that it was sticking it's mouthparts on the table for an odd reason. My mother suggested maybe it's thirsty, so I tried putting a damp paper towel on the table. To the surprise of both of us, it actually went for the paper towel, and then flew to the window. At this point I caught it in a glass and let it go outside. I really couldn't kill it at that point--I was way too involved :p

    I like that Starstuff, reminds me of Issa

    Don't kill that poor fly!
    He cowers, wringing
    his hands for mercy

    If people are very concerned about killing insects and small animals when mowing the lawn or pruning trees, here's what some very pious Ch'an practitioners do (copied from http://www.portlandbuddhisthub.org/faq.shtml)
    In the area of prohibitions against killing, one laywoman asked, "What should we do if there are mice and termites at home?" Dharma Master Heng Lyu answered, "You first post a notice asking them to leave. Next, you use insect repellants to chase them out. Avoid insecticides because you want to avoid the karma of killing."
    One layman asked, "How do you avoid harming living beings while mowing the lawn?"
    Dharma Master Heng Lyu said, "You would first post a notice to let the small creatures know that it's best to move, then mow the lawn. While you're mowing the lawn, recite the Great Compassion Mantra at the same time."

    I know they do just this at a local temple.
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited February 2008
    Hey, Jacx.

    Thanks for posting this. I think it's great.

    Right at this very moment we're waiting for the "Rat Man", as my mother calls him (I think she's trying not to offend me by calling him the exterminator) to come for the third time to see if there are any mice in his living traps that he laid in our unfinished, earth floored, basement. (This house is old by New World standards, over 160 years).

    The Rat Man has been kind enough to honour our wishes not to harm the mice and he's gathering them in the most humane way he can to relocate them. He's already removed a few of them but I heard noises coming from the basement again last week so there are more and hopefully he can catch them and relocate them. It was minus 27 degrees Celsius last night though, so I don't know how they're going to survive outside.

    But we have to get them out of the basement. Rodents' teeth never stop growing and they need to chew. Unfortunately, they can chew through electrical wires and cause fires. I fear fire very, very much. If we had a fire I don't know how I'd be able to get my cats out, especially Tom who would most likely run and hide if a fire broke out. I have a very hard time dealing with the thought that they might die in a fire I could have prevented. I know I could get my parents out, of course.

    So the situation is kind of difficult. On top of that, the Rat Man is charging us $100 for every visit, money we don't have. I don't want to hurt the mice, but I don't want my concern for them to lead to foolishness that would cause even more suffering. I have to stay on top of too many other potential sources of fire in this house, like the wood stove and my space heater, and as I said, this is an old house. It's brick, but still. I never use my space heater when I go to sleep of course, and it was 47 degrees Fahrenheit in my room when I woke up this morning. That's pretty cold, for those who use Celsius. (My bedside clock has a thermometer but it's in Fahrenheit and I don't know how to translate that into Celsius.)

    So that's my rant for the day! :)
  • edited February 2008
    Have you tried going and telling the mice that you mean them no harm but you really would like them to go away?

    May sound stupid but it worked with bats nesting in our old house and pooping in my bath.
  • edited February 2008
    Dear Brigid,

    47 degrees? Crivens! That's like 8 Celsius (no, I didn't figure that out in my head, I used http://www.onlineconversion.com/ ).

    Don't your cats do anything to chase off the mice? Mine are fairly hopeless at actually catching anything, but they have managed to intimidate a number of wee beasties into shifting off somewhere else.
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited February 2008
    Knitwitch,

    I haven't tried that but I definitely will the next time, because there's sure to be a next time. I like the idea of posting a message to them as well.

    Jacx,

    Thanks for that link to the conversion site. Now maybe my parents and I can understand each other when we talk temperature. :)

    My cats do take care of any mousies that come upstairs from the basement as well as little shrews. But I'm afraid to let them down in the basement because my father put poison down there in the 70s to kill the little mousies and I don't know if any of the poison is lingering. I've thought about letting them go down there, though, to save the money we have to pay the Rat Man. But I figured it's just too risky.

    The Rat Man found 8 little mousies and removed them from the basement. I don't know what he did with them but I'm hoping they're still alive and well. It's a relief to have them gone, though, and the Rat Man said he found no evidence at all of squirrels which is wonderful news because squirrels can really cause problems.

    So it was a happy day!
  • edited February 2008
    You are sooooooooo right about the poisons Brigid - around here people put it down for rats and mice and manage to kill owls, raptors and cats

    We found a dead cat in the yard the other day and (having put on my gloves) I gave it a good inspection, decided it had died of poisoning and we cremated it with a prayer.

    My biggest fear is for the owls and bird of prey - they eat the rodents once they have been slowed down by the poison but not died and they in turn are killed by it.
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited February 2008
    Yeah, the havoc wreaked by poisons just goes on and on and on....horrible.

    I'm glad my folks started to understand the dangers fairly early on and haven't used poisons on anything in the house or on the land since the early 70s. Our water comes from a well, for goodness sake. How unbelievably stupid it would be to put poison on the land and have it leech into the ground water. When a weed is choking a plant, like our orange blossom plant, we just go out and dig up the weed. It's been 36 years now and we hope the land is clean. Maybe whoever buys the house and land from us will appreciate that. Fingers crossed.
  • edited February 2008
    Well keep at it, gal. Our old garden in Brittany had been used as a dumping ground for 15 years and it took us 10 to get it back to some kind of normality.

    One year everything we planted came up with white flowers .... weird, but sort of beautiful in a spooky sort of way
  • bushinokibushinoki Veteran
    edited February 2008
    Boo, C=5/9F-32. That's the conversion formula.
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited February 2008
    Thanks, Bushi! I still don't get it though. Lol!! I'm thick as a brick, you know. But it's okay. That conversion site will do it for me. Oh, did I tell you I'm lazy, too? And I have a numbers phobia. It's a miracle I made it this far.
  • bushinokibushinoki Veteran
    edited February 2008
    It's okay, Boo, at least you're not one of those who thinks that 2k equals 2mi. That's all I have in my current unit. Drives me nuts.
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited February 2008
    Actually the correct conversion formula is:

    Tc = (5/9) x (Tf-32).

    If you don't subtract the 32 before you multiply times 5/9, you don't get the right conversion.

    Just my 2 degrees!

    Palzang
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited February 2008
    What I learnt from my Physics teacher...?

    Centigrade to Farenheit?
    Double it, and add 30.
    Farenheit to centigrade?
    Deduct 30 FIRST, then halve it....

    Centiheit to Farengrade?
    You're drunk, madam....!

    26 decrees Centigrade to Farenheit?

    26 x 2 = 52.
    Plus 30 = 82 degrees Farenheit.

    65 degrees Farenheit to Centigrade?
    65 - 30 = 35.

    35 divided by 2 = 17.5 degrees centigrade.

    if you do it the wrong way (and deduct 30 afterwards, it gives a completely different result.)

    For example:
    65 degrees farenheit divide by two = 32.5 degrees.
    less 30 = 2.5 degrees centigrade.
    Wrong answer. by a whole 12 degrees C. that's 54 degrees F. out.

    see wot I mean?
  • edited February 2008
    And imagine the fun British drivers have with speed limits in kms per hour when their dashboard only gives them mph.

    OK sign says 90 - I'm only doing 85 ..... why is that Gendarme flagging me down?????
  • bushinokibushinoki Veteran
    edited February 2008
    Knitwitch, see above post. I hear it all the time "the objective is X clicks (kilometer) away, so we have about a X mile hike/ride ahead of us". No, actually we have roughly 2/3s that distance in miles to travel.
  • edited February 2008
    Yes confusing isn't it? We see it all the time here in France with British tourists in their cars getting a speeding fine and I have problems explaining how far away my work is ... I end up telling people how long it takes to walk or drive - everyone understands hours and minutes!
  • bushinokibushinoki Veteran
    edited February 2008
    Knitwitch, to make the situation worse, one of those guys is Sapper qualified, and made Spec. Forces Selections. He's about as badass as they come in the military. And he still makes that same mistake.
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