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The First Precept (Harmlessness/Not Killing)

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  • Rachel Green
    replied
    I have never thought before of having a snail plant - thanks so much for sharing Jerrod. Brilliant!
    We also avoid any use of poisons in the vegetable garden or on our fruit trees. It does mean the parrots and fruit fly get in first quite often. There is a dilemma though. I live in a fruit growing area and many people here rely for their livelihood on their orchards. If someone like me doesn't kill off the fruit fly then it could infest their crops. This doesn't seem fair. In fact, I have heard the orchardists complain about the locals, such as me, who don't get rid of the fruit fly and therefore may contribute to their spread. (I do usually try to bury the infested fruit as soon as possible, but in the drought when all fruit dropped en masse this was difficult to do quickly).

    What is our social responsibility as an individual Buddhist towards the community when we keep this precept - I think there are many aspects of this. Do we need from time to time to put them first before our own individual beliefs?

    Leave a comment:


  • Jerrod Lopes
    replied
    We grow a lot of our own veggies here, especially spring and summer veggies, as well as oranges, apples, plums, grapes and others. I also have/had friends who grow a lot of their own produce. As for me, I do nothing at all. They're not "my" fruits and veggies. Sure I water them and such, but they're here and I'm here. That's the way I see it. I only wish I could apply that same perspective to other possessions and people.

    I had a friend I would frequently get into light hearted arguments with over this. Squirrels, cats, lady bugs and snails would eat up a lot of his garden. I shouldn't say a lot, because just like the produce grown at my home, a good bit of it always goes to waste. We just can't eat that much of it fast enough.

    I don't use any pesticides. It's nice just to pick fresh produce and eat it without having to even go indoors to rinse it off. But some suggestions would be using cat waste as fertilizer. It keeps the squirrels and rabbits away, and even the birds away from low bushes and plants. As for snails and slugs, I had my friend grow a special plant just for them. Instead of using poison, we would take any of these guys we found and put them on 'their' plant. I know, sounds kind of silly, but it works. Besides, the few that got onto the other plants only eat a small hole here and there in one or two leaves and/or fruits. Try thinking of your garden as "our garden", meaning yours and everyone else's who lives in it.

    I hope this helps somehow,

    Jerrod

    Leave a comment:


  • Rachel Green
    replied
    Thanks so much Jerrod for the ideas on the spiders and flies. I talk to the spiders too, often with words of reassurance and encouragement, "come on fella (trying to coax into a container) we're just going to put you outside, it's okay we aren't going to harm you" No not mad either, just kind.

    As a community I think it is very beneficial to share any ideas we have found that work, as it is one thing to know the theory of the precepts it is quite another one to consistently apply them in everyday life. I also think that as each one of us comments on the situations they have had to think about it increases our own awareness in that area.

    By the way, sometimes I use that tapping technique for about 10-15 mins before I meditate I find it helps me to be in a clearer calmer state in which to meditate.

    I have just been out in the garden and would be interested to know how people try to refrain from killing in the garden. What happens when things start eating your plants such as caterpillars, aphids, beetles in the lawn, cabbage white butterflies eating your vegies, snails, slugs, slaters, fruit fly in the fruit trees, and more.

    And what happens if you make a living from your produce or your family depends on it for their food? Is this any different? How would a Buddhist farmer cope?

    Leave a comment:


  • Jerrod Lopes
    replied
    I really enjoyed your video Rachel. I used the technique while watching and it seemed to have an immediateeffect in terms of mood elevation. Awesome. It's very similar to a lot of the cleansing points used in medicinal Qui Gong but without the need to stand or do stretching. Thank you so much for this.

    Insofar as spiders and such go. I used to have a pretty healthy fear of spiders. I would have nightmares about them, sometimes waking up screaming. I have found after years of buddhist practice however that my fear has largely subsided, almost completely. I do have respect for the dangers of some as there are some seriously venomous ones where I live, yet no fear. What I think it is is that i have come to see all creatures as "somebody". Having faith when the Buddha said that these creatures may have been your mother, father, brother, etc... is a help in realizing this. I find myself smiling often when I see a spider or fly and almost think of them as welcomed visitors stopping by to say hi. Not in a crazy way, mind you. LOL. Black widows are the only ones I've yet to find a way to deal with and feel very badly when I do kill one. There are MANY of them here. Having been bitten once and gotten extremely ill, they do present a serious danger, especially to the young, elderly and those in poor health. Yet I do see them as someone, hence the bad feelings in killing them. I am trying to design a device that will easily capture them so that they can be relocated without harm coming to anyone.

    With flies, I also found that they like to collect on the screen door. There are lots and lots of flies here during certain times of the year and I did find myself overrun and killing them a while back. I then began to see them on the screen. I would just close the main door, go outside via another door, then open the screen and let them all free to the outside. Easy. Also, I noticed they liked my coffee or tea very much, so I'll always leave some at the bottom of the cup for them. When I have three or four in the cup, I cover it with a clear plastic lid from a food container trapping them for easy transport to the outdoors. It only takes three or four trips to get rid of most of the flies in the house. This all happens in about 5-10 minutes. Pretty quick and easy.

    Just a few more suggestions. I hope I'm not a bother.

    Jerrod

    Leave a comment:


  • Melissa Hayes
    replied
    I watched the utube! Awesome! Am so going to do this! I have issues with spiders...

    Leave a comment:


  • Rachel Green
    replied
    Originally posted by Anne Raeburn View Post
    Sadly, even now, I am terrified of big hairy spiders, but have not seen one here at all thank goodness ... I could never get close enough to a large spider to catch it and put it outside myself and would be extremely uneasy if I did not know where it was while I was in the House. I know it's pathetic, but I can't help it and would love any brilliant suggestions as to how I can get rid of this fear.
    These ways may help.
    1. Observe your mind. The problem is not with the spiders but with your fear in your mind. See the fear for what it is, it's just fear, let it arise and fade away.
    2. Send the spider(s) loving kindness. You could even incorporate this into a regular metta practice.
    3. See each spider as an individual, rather than grouping all spiders into one nasty group. Observe the features of each one, some have beautiful patterns, others have beautiful colours, some have amazing legs, others dazzling eyes, look for the individual features and recognise each one for the beauty it has
    4. Realise they have far more to fear from you than you do from them. After all you are huge relative to them and with one squash they are dead. In contrast few (of ours) are harmful at all to a human.
    5. If you have a phobia I hear from several people that the tapping method can cure phobias. I have interviewed someone about it on youtube if you need to know more:



    Hope this helps, I am sure there are lots more ideas everyone else has too.
    Much metta to you and all spiders!

    Leave a comment:


  • Rachel Green
    replied
    Originally posted by Anne Raeburn View Post
    I find that I do not have a problem with keeping the 2nd 3rd and 5th precept, though after 3 years of not touching a drop of alcohol, for the last few months I have occasionally had a glass of wine. Is this such a bad thing?
    Anne, there is a whole separate forum discussion on each precept - you might like to pose your question about a glass of wine and read the comments on the intoxicants one - it is already being well debated and I am sure you'll find it interesting and they will benefit from your input.

    Leave a comment:


  • Anne Raeburn
    replied
    I find that I do not have a problem with keeping the 2nd 3rd and 5th precept, though after 3 years of not touching a drop of alcohol, for the last few months I have occasionally had a glass of wine. Is this such a bad thing?

    Leave a comment:


  • Anne Raeburn
    replied
    Fortunately we do not have much of a fly problem in Melville. If one does manage to find its way inside they invariably end up against the fly screen door and manage to find their way out with a little luck. We did have a problem at times in Pemberton, where we lived for four years, with cows on the property opposite us, plus chickens, 2 heifers and a couple of donkeys of our own. I knew nothing about Buddhism and I fear all the nasties were disposed of. I distinctly remember one particular instant when I had sprayed a flying cockroach with fly spray and a very large wolf spider ran down the sitting room wall and hid under the ledge of a dado wall, stretching out lengthways and making himself unbelievably small. Yes, I stood back and used the fly spray. The thought of what I did to that poor terrified creature, who was trying so desperately to hide still haunts me today. Sadly, even now, I am terrified of big hairy spiders, but have not seen one here at all thank goodness. Small ones I take outside in a tissue, and they often appear in the bottom of the bath. I am not sure how, as I keep the plug in! One Daddy Long Legs was permitted to remain in our bedroom, until he died of natural causes. We were quite disappointed when he was no longer there. The tiny insects that always appear in the summer wherever you are, we just live with.

    I could never get close enough to a large spider to catch it and put it outside myself and would be extremely uneasy if I did not know where it was while I was in the House. I know it's pathetic, but I can't help it and would love any brilliant suggestions as to how I can get rid of this fear.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rachel Green
    replied
    I am learning so much about essential oils, it is fabulous and very interesting, thanks so much Jerrod and Melissa.

    Another thing I find about keeping this precept is how much it teaches me patience (hopefully) or maybe it is more truthful to say how much patience and extra time it can require. For instance yesterday we had tradesmen at home and they had to leave all the doors open. Of course in comes all sorts of flys, insects, spiders.

    How are you with spiders and flies?

    My husband and I took each spider back out again one at a time, that took a while. It included a large wolf spider not at all meant to be behind the curtains! Anyone find this precept hard because they don't like spiders especially inside the home?

    The flies, well how does one get flies out without killing? It took me ages. There was one big fly in my meditation room, so all I could think of was to switch off the lights, open the door to the outside where the moon was shedding lots of beautiful light and hope over time it would fly to the light.

    In the meantime of course many more might fly in. It would have been so much quicker to have used a quick burst fly spray!

    Leave a comment:


  • Jerrod Lopes
    replied
    I have used powdered cinnamon around doorways and window sills and it does the trick nicely without harming the ants. They just don't seem to like the strong odor. I'm sure peppermint oils will work the same way. Be careful with the peppermint or cinnamon oils as they can cause uncomfortable burns to your skin if left for very long.

    Jerrod : )

    Leave a comment:


  • Rachel Green
    replied
    Yes I think the talcum powder confuses them as it covers their trails? I have also heard they don't like peppermint oil and that can be made as a spray and sprayed around the outside of your home? I'm a bit vague on that I heard it on a gardening show once a long time ago. I have just found this web How to

    Stop ants from coming into your home
    (Ignore the one about killing them!)

    Leave a comment:


  • Anne Raeburn
    replied
    Talculm powder works well Rachel.

    Some years ago one of the young monks told me that he used a pan and broom to sweep up ants from his kuti. This did not work for me, as they ran up my arm!!

    Leave a comment:


  • Anne Raeburn
    replied
    I did exactly the same Ben, to catch an uninvited guest, only I placed a small plank on the floor leading up to the top of the bin with the bird seed to entice. Sure enough, an hour or so later I watched from the comfort of my arm chair with great anticipation as the sweet little field mouse walked slowly up the plank and plopped into the plastic bin. He had a free meal and was then returned to the garden where he belonged, having given me a great deal of entertainment and pleasure.

    Leave a comment:


  • Melissa Hayes
    replied
    Thanks Jerrod! Yes tea tree oil is high in estrogen. I hadn't thought about the effects for men! I spray myself VERY lightly with the spray and only on the days that I need to... I belive the warnings for essental oils are to never ingest into the body (as a general rule) as they are toxic! The other thing I do on occasion is to spray my clothes with the spray. BUT be warned! On light coloured clothes, the oil spots will show up! Dish washing liquid removes the stains but.... Hey! Im lazy! I think the spray would work ok still without the tea tree oil. Will need to experiment... Metta!

    Leave a comment:

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