a sincere question
This is not a troll post, I promise. I have a good track record.
Lately I've been watching some videos by the lady at http://www.enthusiasticbuddhist.com/youtube-videos/ Buddhism intrigues me, because I know nothing about it, really.
This is a really kind of trivial, dumb question, but it really struck me: the reverence for all living creatures. Yes, I totally get that. However...sigh.... I really don't like cockroaches. I really..don't like them.
I'm sure you understand what I'm getting at. So far, that would be a real hurdle for me with Buddhism. I'd have to do a lot of work on that. I mean, a whole ton of work.
Is this a common concern with Buddhists ? If this is disruptive, I will self-delete, gladly. No harm intended, honest. Thanks.
Compassion, respect and reverence for all living beings is not easy to always accomplish. And there are often shades of gray. After all, roaches are known vectors for an increase in symptoms in asthma sufferers. So is saving a roach worth harming an asthma sufferer? Roaches also increase pet rat lung conditions. So do which creature do I revere?
What I think is the most important is the awareness such questions require of us given our knee-jerk reactions and unconscious responses to most things. I don't go out of my way to kill cockroaches. I do my best to keep them from even coming into my home. If they do, honestly, yes, I do try to catch them and release them off my property. Sometimes I can't and with both myself and my partner being asthmatic and us having a mischief of rats, I do have to kill them. Life contains suffering, illness, and death. Every day, those experiences occur and are made conscious in our minds. What do you choose to do with that awareness and knowledge is what makes us ultimately compassionate human beings.
Great question really. Thanks.
I really wish cockroaches would kindly stay out of my dwelling. I will leave them alone in the great outdoors, leave me alone in my dwelling. Doesn't work that way. Buddhists who can gently sweep them outside consistently, one has to admire that.
A cockroach has a type of intelligence and therefore a level consciousness. Is it the same as a dog? No. What about a human being in a coma?
There are no hard and fast rules here, and individually we must decide where we draw the line.
Some animals can carry disease. I try to live and let live whenever possible, but there are times when it is not compatible with living within a society. I think I remember reading some history on Buddhism when I first started becoming interested in it. I read that monks have a much stricter set of expectations and rules put on them than on lay people. When you have a family and you work it is hard to adhere to strict Buddhist rules and I think the people who set the standards and rules we are to live with know this. Maybe if we're lucky we can be born a Monk next go around and we can dedicate ourselves completely to the pursuit of enlightenment. For now I think all we can do is the best we know how. And of course there are those Buddhists who believe it is not necessary to go through all the cycles if we can wake up and realize that we are already enlightened. Buddha nature is not something you reach, but something you already are. We just haven't realized it yet. That's how it happened for Siddhartha.
Near the end of this interview (at 21:50) he's asked,
"Do you think we've made any progress as a civilization?"
He answers, yes, and gives several examples:
- at the writing of the constition, half the species - women - were not people, they were property...
- it was as recent as 1975 that the Supreme Court gave women the right to sit on juries...
- until very recently mammals were subjected to just about any experimentation you wanted to do...
- there's a slow expansion of the moral sphere...
He included other examples, I don't have time to transcribe it.
He doesn't talk about Buddhism, but there's a similar process in Buddhism, one's moral sphere expands to include all sentient beings, including cockroaches.
"Noam Chomsky: The Singularity is Science Fiction!"
It's easy to love a cute puppy, or to feel bad for a bear.
For Westerners, and others, there's a cultural subset of species that are dishonored for various reasons: flies, roaches, snakes, and spiders for example.
Indeed, many carry diseases and others are just pests, but all are critters with lives.
It's a bit like people, actually.
We want to try to love each and everyone, and especially those who are annoying and even dangerous.
They need love the most.