Without ants’ burrowing into the earth
to allow the roots of plants to breathe,
would life even be possible on Earth?
Unfortunately, some ill-informed Buddhists have the grave misconception that they should simply kill insect or animal sentient beings, so as to to shorten their miserable lives and hasten their better rebirths. Such was the case of one I have heard, who was adamant that squishing ants and bugs is totally alright. Obviously, this is heavily biased thinking applied on other beings only. There would be no need to humanely reflect on or mourn the deaths of anyone if death always equals to some form of ‘release’.
To force others to die abruptly and reluctantly is simply murder. It is a kind of extremism or terrorism inflicted upon sentient beings, as all crave to live and fear death. When the shadow of a threatening finger looms above an insect, he will scramble away. Even the tiniest of beings wants to live on. When a being dies unhappily, the last thought moment is thus unwholesome, filled with pain, fear and regret, which will link them to a corresponding plane of existence. As such, how can violent deaths lead them to better rebirths? In fact, it is more likely to lead to worse rebirths. It is kinder to live and let live, to allow beings to live out their natural lifespans peacefully. If it is indeed in the karma of a being to have a ‘premature’ death, this will happen without the need of one’s intervention, via some other way. However, if one wilfully kills and rejoices in it, one surely creates negative karma for oneself, even if one happened to be expressing the deadly karma of the being to be killed.
It could be that the ill rationalisation, which disregards the First Precept of abstaining from taking sentient lives, arises from deep aversion and attachment disguised as compassion. Aversion to the bugs, which leads to killing on sight, and attachment to animals’ flesh, if one is a heavy meat-eater too. Some even entertain the idea that meat-eating is perfectly okay as long as mantras are chanted for the deceased animals, which ‘can’ send them straight to Pure Lands — even if they are not great masters. Once again, if this is so easy, why not kill one another now, so as to deliver all? Shouldn’t such strong believers attest to their rationalisation by offering themselves to be killed? If they are reluctant, why should they imagine it is alright for others to be killed for them instead? Animals would rather have mantras chanted for them without being killed! Though vegetarianism is not a must for all Buddhists, it is encouraged as a practice of compassion. To simply dismiss it is simply uncompassionate.
Though continual meat-buying and meat-eating
do not break the First Precept of ‘not killing’,
butchers are indirectly paid to break it directly… and continually.
[Without demand, there is no supply.
When the demand reduces, the supply reduces.]
The practice of vegetarianism needs not be all or nothing.
Some mindful reduction of meat consumption
is better than total mindless meat consumption.
Vegetarianism is Not All or Nothing