Just do the right thing,
because what else
should you rightly do?
A fellow Buddhist’s home had a bird mite ‘attack’ due to an abandoned bird nest nearby. There was a ‘dilemma’. He knew that there should not be killing of lives (杀生). Yet, if not killing them, he thought he might be ‘killed’ by them. However, upon research, it is known that while the mites do bite humans for blood and cause redness, they do not spread diseases. At most, there might be skin allergy for some. As a monk once remarked to someone who immediately slapped a normal mosquito when bitten, ‘All he wanted was a drop of your blood, yet you wanted his life!’
I advised that although it is challenging, there should be taking of the nest, perhaps with hands protected with bags, to carry it elsewhere, for life liberation (放生) somewhere in nature. If pest control folks are engaged, they can perhaps be paid more to do the above, without doing any killing? He wondered if it is wise as the mites might harm other animals. Would this not create evil karma? Should they still not be killed then? I counter enquired, ‘Since many humans eat animals, does it mean that these humans should be killed too?’
Mites, humans and animals are all sentient beings with Buddha-nature (佛性). It does not make compassionate (慈悲) and equanimous (平等) sense to think that human lives are worthier, thus with it alright to kill any other beings for human beings. What matters is doing what is right reasonably. Of course, we should not free man-eating tigers into villages and such. That would be downright unreasonable and reckless. However, generally, what other sentient beings choose to do with their freedom, to create evil karma or not is indeed not up to us. It is their personal choice.
What if killing was already done? There should be sincere repentance (忏悔) for the wrong done, mindfulness of Buddha (念佛) to create meritorious virtues (功德), and dedication (回向) of them to those killed. If feeling ‘haunted’ by the killing, there should be more mindfulness of Buddha for peace of mind, and to guide the killed to do so too, so as to reach Pure Land (净土). If the mites are still alive, this practice sequence can be done too, after offering sincere persuasion, asking them to leave. Inconceivable as it might sound, as many cases attest, with the Buddha’s great blessings, this can work!
Just do the better thing,
because what else
should you better do?
Should We Kill Many Others To Protect Ourselves?
Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!