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Non-dualism: Bedbugs

skullchinskullchin Veteran Veteran
edited November 2010 in Buddhism Basics
We have been trying to get rid of bedbugs for three or four months now. I know that a non-dualistic view would see myself, my family and bedbugs as a whole. But I still have to get rid of them because I do not want to spread them and the bites are very uncomfortable for my wife.

So any wisdom out there on how to view this non-dualistically?

Comments

  • edited November 2010
    The point of non-dualism is not that everything needs to be seen as a whole, it's that conventional phenomena are empty of inherent existence. But that's on the non-conventional level. On the conventional level, you just need to get rid of the bedbugs.

    If you didn't have such a long history on this site, I would have thought that this is a troll question.
  • The_Fruit_Punch_WizaThe_Fruit_Punch_Wiza Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2010
    Think about it this way would you let lice live on your head? No, you would remove them and kill them to protect yourself and to keep others from catching them. Bed bugs are no different except that they don't live on your body. Instead they live in your bedding, but they are still parasites that feed off of you and can harm yourself and others.

    I remember a story where something is proposed similar to this but I'll do it in another way: suppose a bodhisattva sees that a vampire intends to feed on the blood of virtuous shravaka Buddhas, pratyekabuddhas, or bodhisattvas to live; which will cause them to fall into the Uninterrupted hell(for shedding the blood of an Arahant). When seeing this, the bodhisattva will think, "If I kill that vampire, I will fall into the hells or rupaloka; if I do not kill him, he will commit crimes which will lead him to the Uninterrupted hell, where he will suffer greater than he is now. I would rather kill him and fall to the hells myself than let him undergo great suffering in the Uninterrupted hell."

    Then, deeply regretting the necessity for this action, and with a heart full of compassion, he will kill that vampire. In doing this, he does not violate the bodhisattva precepts; instead, he generates many merits.

    Similar too is the idea of killing the bugs for the sake of protecting others.
  • conradcookconradcook Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2010
    Someone once asked me if Christ would have assassinated Hitler.

    Buddha bless,

    Conrad.
  • mugzymugzy Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2010
    I remember a story where something is proposed similar to this but I'll do it in another way: suppose a bodhisattva sees that a vampire intends to feed on the blood of virtuous shravaka Buddhas, pratyekabuddhas, or bodhisattvas to live; which will cause them to fall into the Uninterrupted hell(for shedding the blood of an Arahant). When seeing this, the bodhisattva will think, "If I kill that vampire, I will fall into the hells or rupaloka; if I do not kill him, he will commit crimes which will lead him to the Uninterrupted hell, where he will suffer greater than he is now. I would rather kill him and fall to the hells myself than let him undergo great suffering in the Uninterrupted hell."

    Then, deeply regretting the necessity for this action, and with a heart full of compassion, he will kill that vampire. In doing this, he does not violate the bodhisattva precepts; instead, he generates many merits.

    Similar too is the idea of killing the bugs for the sake of protecting others.

    This makes sense to me. It is sad and unfortunate that the bed bugs are born into the suffering realm of parasitic insects and that they will die by extermination, but perhaps next they will have a better rebirth and an opportunity to practice the dharma.
  • conradcookconradcook Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2010
    So the precept is now, "Do not kill except when you think you have a good reason to?"

    Can you anticipate people applying such reasoning to animals butchered for meat, or in some cases to humans?

    Buddha bless,

    Conrad.
  • edited November 2010
    conradcook wrote: »
    So the precept is now, "Do not kill except when you think you have a good reason to?"

    Can you anticipate people applying such reasoning to animals butchered for meat, or in some cases to humans?

    Buddha bless,

    Conrad.

    The OP asked the question about non-dualism, not about the precept against killing.

    I submit that the question is similar to the parable of the man struck by an arrow, which necessitates removal of the arrow first instead of idle speculation about it. I suggest that the question of non-dualism in relationship to bedbugs is idle speculation as well.

    But again, the thread is not about the morality of the killing of the bedbugs. It's about non-duality in relationship to an infestation of bedbugs, which, again, seems like idle speculation.
  • conradcookconradcook Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2010
    The OP asked the question about non-dualism, not about the precept against killing.

    I stand corrected.

    Buddha bless,

    Conrad.
  • edited November 2010
    You could get a divorce.
  • skullchinskullchin Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2010
    Thanks for taking this post seriously. I ask an honest question even if it is unskillful.
    conventional phenomena are empty of inherent existence.

    Can you elaborate on "conventional phenomena"?

    Again, sorry for the "almost troll", just trying to better my understanding. And yes, I'm trying to better my understanding of non-dualism, not the precept against killing.

    Thanks again :)
  • edited November 2010
    Conventional phenomena are those things that we incorrectly impute to exist in and of themselves. Examples would be you, your wife, the bedbugs, the bed, your thoughts and emotions about the bugs or anything else- anything we impute to have an inherent existence in the "everyday" phenomenal world. On a conventional level, you impute yourself and your wife and the bedbugs to exist, and it would be fair to say that on a conventional level they do exist, and you have to deal with them. But on a "deeper" or "ultimate" level, they are empty of inherent existence because they can be reduced to their constituent parts, which in turn can be reduced to constituent parts, all the way to form and emptiness. So any phenomena we encounter in this world can be said to exist conventionally, but all such phenomena can be reduced to constituent parts. I recommend the Heart Sutra as a reference for this.

    Meanwhile, you have a bedbug problem, much as the soldier in the parable had a problem with the arrow. Even if they don't exist in and of themselves, you need to get rid of them.
  • edited November 2010
    The Buddhist teachings allow for you to protect your health. The sad part about Samsara is that no matter what you do there is no way to aviod some type of negitive actions no matter how hard that you try.

    On a practical level you could pray for the higher rebirth of the bedbugs , or make offerings at your locial Monestary to help offset some of the karma from the killing of sentient beings.

    I would disagree about this being idle speculation, any time one in concerned about killing is a good thing no matter how it is expressed and I applaud you for that.
  • hermitwinhermitwin Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2010
    You dont have to kill them. If you can afford it, get a new mattress.
    I try to catch insects in my house and move them out of my house.
  • thickpaperthickpaper Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2010
    skullchin wrote: »
    We have been trying to get rid of bedbugs for three or four months now. I know that a non-dualistic view would see myself, my family and bedbugs as a whole. But I still have to get rid of them because I do not want to spread them and the bites are very uncomfortable for my wife.

    So any wisdom out there on how to view this non-dualistically?

    I would say that Bed Bugs are not sentient life, they are closer to mould than mind;)
  • skullchinskullchin Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2010
    any time one in concerned about killing is a good thing no matter how it is expressed and I applaud you for that.

    Thank you Donna and Hermit :)
  • mugzymugzy Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2010
    hermitwin wrote: »
    You dont have to kill them. If you can afford it, get a new mattress.
    I try to catch insects in my house and move them out of my house.

    Unfortunately that doesn't work with bedbugs. Once you have them you have to treat everything and not just get rid of items.
  • The_Fruit_Punch_WizaThe_Fruit_Punch_Wiza Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2010
    conradcook wrote: »
    So the precept is now, "Do not kill except when you think you have a good reason to?"

    Nope, it's still do not kill.
    Can you anticipate people applying such reasoning to animals butchered for meat,

    I hope not.
    or in some cases to humans?

    You mean people like Hitler for example? :crazy:

    Heh. I remember this kind of story specifically was told in the Yogacarabhumi-sastra, so I told another in a similar style.
  • edited November 2010
    I agree with one of the other posters. Divorce is skillful in this instance. It is far easier to get rid of wives than bedbugs.
  • edited November 2010
    The OP asked the question about non-dualism, not about the precept against killing.
  • The_Fruit_Punch_WizaThe_Fruit_Punch_Wiza Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2010
    The OP asked the question about non-dualism, not about the precept against killing.

    I know, in that case I will say in relation to the OP:

    " in seeing, there is just seeing. No seer and nothing seen. In hearing, there is just hearing. No hearer and nothing heard.”
    -Bahiya Sutta, Udana 1.10

    The duality of a person in relation to the bedbug is an illusion.
  • edited November 2010
    On a practical level you could pray for the higher rebirth of the bedbugs , or make offerings at your locial Monestary to help offset some of the karma from the killing of sentient beings.

    *nod* This is what I do. I mentally or under my breath apologize to them as I kill them. I know they can't hear me, but I think it's good to be mindful of what is happening. That could have been me in a previous existence (or might yet be).
    I would disagree about this being idle speculation, any time one in concerned about killing is a good thing no matter how it is expressed and I applaud you for that.

    I think the Doctor would agree. ^_^
  • compassionate_warriorcompassionate_warrior Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2010
    skullchin wrote: »
    Thanks for taking this post seriously. I ask an honest question even if it is unskillful.
    Again, sorry for the "almost troll", just trying to better my understanding. And yes, I'm trying to better my understanding of non-dualism, not the precept against killing.

    Thanks again :)

    Why wouldn't this question be taken seriously? I don't understand this "troll" accusation that keeps turning up on this site. I have yet to run into a question that I wouldn't consider legitimate.
  • edited November 2010
    Why wouldn't this question be taken seriously? I don't understand this "troll" accusation that keeps turning up on this site.

    I don't either, but then I haven't been here long. Maybe in the past there have been problems with it.. *shrug* :confused:
  • edited November 2010
    Nobody called this a troll, the OP excused his question with it. The threads on which troll has been called have been ones where there seems to be another agenda. Please see:

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=concern+troll
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