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Question about gardening and ahimsa

XetaXeta New New
edited July 2017 in Diet & Habits

This question may be a bit silly, I'm not sure, but here it is:

I have been trying to learn to grow at least part of the food I consume, so I do some work in the garden and that work involves struggling with weeds, and so I’ve been wondering if it is himsa to cut/pull weeds. I don’t think that plants have feelings, but it does often feel like violence (or at least somewhat unnatural) while I’m doing it. So, what would be a correct view regarding this?

Thanks in advance.


  • 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

    A plant is just a weed we've cultivated to look nice. If you prick out and transplant seedlings, and some do not survive, then really, it's just the way it is.
    Nature culls for herself, the things which are redundant, useless and past their 'sell-by' date.
    Gardeners just follow in Nature's footsteps.
    A Gardener will never reach the point where they say "My work here is done; I need do no more."
    If you mow the lawn, then you're basically taming the world's most prolific and widespread weed.

    Don't sweat it.
    You can overthink things, and as the saying goes.
    "He who deliberates fully before taking each step will spend his entire life on one leg."

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    edited July 2017

    I do my best to prevent being wasteful with life when I garden, plants, bugs, or whatever. But here, all plants serve as compost eventually. They all die and provide nourishment for next spring's new plants (except the evergreens that go dormant of course). So when I weed, many things go into the compost bin. Other things I turn into tea when possible. I try to prevent pests, but I will fight them off if I need to. But I am cautious to use things that won't hurt the worms and other things in the garden, both out of not harming the worms but also not hurting the birds that eat the worms, and because the worms nourish the garden which nourishes me. I do not feel guilt over pulling grass from the garden. it's just being relocated to do its job elsewhere.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    On Friday I was pulling weeds that I considered flowers from a path that would normally be sprayed. Pulling the flower/weeds, revealed future butterflies (caterpillars) running for cover. I did relocate the flowers. However most would have died from lack of water and heat exhaustion.
    Some may have seeded ...????

    ... Meanwhile ... there we are trying to grow Buddha fodder. Wrathfully and mercilessly we cull the demon weeds to provide dana ...

    Super-Jain levels of ahimsa involving only eating cabbages that have died of natural causes and relocating all weeds are only for the undernourished not the Buddhas Middle Way.

    Existence is dukkha. Toughen up if you want to grow food. :p

  • XetaXeta New New

    Thank you, I appreciate the replies.

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