Question about the First Precept

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Question about the First Precept

Postby bunny » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:50 pm

Does this refer to all living things. What I mean by this, is does it extend to the Fruits and Berries on trees and hedgerows. Does it extend to nuts and vegetables?

The way I read it, that yes it does but I am seeking clarification. Any time I have seen the precepts mentioned in this forum, with regards to the first one. Only beings that are considered "meat, fish etc" have been discussed.
Blessed Be,

Bunny.
User avatar
bunny
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:33 am
Location: Northern Ireland

Re: Question about the First Precept

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:11 am

According to the Buddhist cosmology rebirth can be to humans, animals, devas and other celestial beings, but not plants.

There is no violation to eating or 'killing' a plant in Buddhism. There is a Vinaya rule that prohibits monks and nuns from harming plants, but this probably has more to do with not harming the environment in general or looking unseemly to lay people.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1910
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Question about the First Precept

Postby zerwe » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:12 am

The explanation I have often come across is anything that has a nervous system.

Shaun :namaste:
zerwe
 
Posts: 225
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:25 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Question about the First Precept

Postby Kaji » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:02 am

David N. Snyder wrote:According to the Buddhist cosmology rebirth can be to humans, animals, devas and other celestial beings, but not plants.

There is no violation to eating or 'killing' a plant in Buddhism. There is a Vinaya rule that prohibits monks and nuns from harming plants, but this probably has more to do with not harming the environment in general or looking unseemly to lay people.

Also don't forget preta (or ghosts/spirits)! :smile:

With the Vinaya rule on harming plants, I understand that the Buddha once said any plants at least 3 feet tall (or some other measurement units) can house a spirit. If you cut down such a plant, you would be effectively destroying the spirit's home. Hence, for compassion reason, Bhikṣu and Bhikṣuṇī are to not harm trees.

Ven. Chin Kung told a story that once in Australia their Buddhist group had to arrange for a tree to be cut down to build a temple. They, following the Buddha's teaching, read sutra to the tree spirit and asked it to move in three days, after which they will cut down the tree. Therefore there are ways for devoted Buddhist to deal with those situations.

Now if you are interested in the rest of Ven. Chin Kung's story, here is what happened... That night one of the monks had a dream where the tree spirit complained that three days was too short, and they should have given seven days of notice! Ven. Chin Kung's theory is that Australian people had an easier pace to doing things, so the same goes for spirits in Australia :D

Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KI_cf4LCjKU but it is in Chinese only.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
User avatar
Kaji
 
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:16 am
Location: Perth

Re: Question about the First Precept

Postby Seishin » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:06 am

Protecting the environment is a great aspect of the Dharma and one I'd encourage. But don't go hungry, eat only what you need, don't waste food, and say a quick prayer thanking the plants, the farmers, the cooks etc. before each meal.

Gassho,
Seishin
User avatar
Seishin
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am

Re: Question about the First Precept

Postby Seishin » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:08 am

Kaji wrote:Ven. Chin Kung told a story that once in Australia their Buddhist group had to arrange for a tree to be cut down to build a temple. They, following the Buddha's teaching, read sutra to the tree spirit and asked it to move in three days, after which they will cut down the tree. Therefore there are ways for devoted Buddhist to deal with those situations.


:twothumbsup:
User avatar
Seishin
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am

Re: Question about the First Precept

Postby seeker242 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:25 pm

bunny wrote:Does this refer to all living things. What I mean by this, is does it extend to the Fruits and Berries on trees and hedgerows. Does it extend to nuts and vegetables?

The way I read it, that yes it does but I am seeking clarification. Any time I have seen the precepts mentioned in this forum, with regards to the first one. Only beings that are considered "meat, fish etc" have been discussed.



Gardening itself does not break the first precept if that is what you're asking. :)
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
User avatar
seeker242
 
Posts: 691
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:50 pm
Location: South Florida, USA

Re: Question about the First Precept

Postby bunny » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:48 pm

Thank you all for your replies. It has made things clearer in my mind. :)
Blessed Be,

Bunny.
User avatar
bunny
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:33 am
Location: Northern Ireland


Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: uan and 18 guests

>