Thread: Living Responsibly

  1. #1

    Living Responsibly

    "Living Responsibly" - an article from the blog of Tibetan Buddhist Monk Karma Yeshe Rabgye.

    Comments welcome


  2. #2
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    There's a lot of sense in this of course. The Golden Rule applies in most of the cases here, although acting mindfully can override in some cases. Buddhism isn't a moral crusade, but points to those decisions which can impinge on us and others for years to come, and as a guide is well worth thinking about. I find absolute rules do not apply absolute situations do not exist, and can become absurd. Which is, of course the problem with simplistic rules for a world which is anything but.

    Take the not killing for example. Why decide that animals are more important than plants? They are living things too and as such deserve our mindful consideration. In the example the guy cheerfully cuts up a living organism either to eat it raw or cook it while telling you to not do the same to other living organisms. He probably cooks using energy which is produced by means which are destroying the planet, and most of the living things, with utensils similarly produced. It would be difficult to survive without killing other things, so simplistic solutions are to be treated as such.

    The mosquito example is open to debate too. He wants to encourage people not to kill mosquitoes, which spread disease? Should we let nature take its course and give us malaria? If there was some way to stop them other than killing them I am up for it, but when push comes to shove there is no way I'm going to let it infect me or those around me. Believe me, killing a mosquito does not dull the compassion I feel for all living things, even the mosquitoes I kill. I always apologise, or just say 'sorry, be with you soon'.

    In reality this non-killing can be a real pain in the ass. Here am I trying to grow my own healthy fruit and veg in my garden and here are all the creatures who want to get at it first, and I find I can't squidge them at all, just move them to another part of the garden from which I can hear little voices saying, 'I'll be back'. It's enough to make me swear, except that Living Responsibly' says I can't.

  3. #3
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
    London UK
    Living Responsibly is by no means the easy option. I have no answers to give, and I sympathise with philg trying not to kill the garden pests. The alternative to killing them is to watch your home-grown veg being eaten in front of you. I know it's very discouraging.

    I remember hearing Ajahn Sumedo talking on the subject of not-killing. He related that while living in Thailand the monastery one year became infested with red ants (if it was another similar insect, my apology for getting it wrong). Also the nearby village was infested. The abbot announced that the Army would be visiting the next day to do fumigation in the village and in the monastery, so keep out of the living accommodation.

    Ajahn Sumedo asked the abbot, "Aren't we supposed to oppose killing?". The abbot replied "If you like, stay in your kuti and ask them not to spray it." But of course, the fumigation went ahead without exception and no-one opposed it.

    The lesson I take from this example is that there are times when the responsible choice is a difficult choice. If it involves destruction of a pest so the village and monastery don't have to be abandoned forever, then that's the right choice to make. When we can take full responsibility for our choice, then it probably is the responsible choice.

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