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Gardening
Answer
3/21/19 3:04 PM
Can anyone tell me, how do Buddhists go about gardening?
Moved to a house with a garden that needs quite a bit of work. But it looks that there is a ground worm or two anywhere I poke. I never liked to see them hurt but now, knowing the precepts, it's unbearable!
Or, what do you do when your beloved plants are infested with whiteflies?

RE: Gardening
Answer
3/21/19 6:39 PM as a reply to pieva.
Hello leva,

It might be worth it to check out Daniel's first response in this thread:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/6661026

Unfortunately, killing other living beings is unavoidable to an extent. The precepts are there to keep your conscience clean so that you can focus on the work of awakening. These are tools to help you as the practitioner. If you grasp too tightly at these precepts, then these tools will become hinderances to a certain extent. I personally treat them as "best practices" that are worth following, but are not hard and fast rules (I like to drink more than is wise on occasion). Also worth noting: I don't consider myself Buddhist in any sense which is probably why I am not so focussed on following the precepts. 

I'd say that it is worth it to look at your intentions: are you killing these beings out of ill-will? Or is the killing of these beings an unfortunate fact of life that comes with having a garden? (Side note: Apparently the Buddha remembered a past life where he killed someone that was about to kill him and other innocent people, essentially taking on the karma of the murderer-to-be.)   

Also, as an additional recommendation, you can check out the show on Netflix "Chef's Table". There is an episode in Season 3 of the show that focusses on a South Korean nun named Jeong Kwan who cooks for the other monastics. She tends to a sprawling garden and allows the wildlife to forage and eat what may grow there. Beautiful and inspiring, however, there are definitely some bugs and small creatures that stand to lose out due to her gardening. I highly recommend watching if you can.

Good luck!

 

RE: Gardening
Answer
3/23/19 10:36 AM as a reply to Hibiscus Kid.
Thank you, that's interesting! So we don't have many Jains here.
In the meantime I am happy to accept my father-in-laws offers to help us and shift karma onto his insensitive soul.

RE: Gardening
Answer
5/3/19 3:28 PM as a reply to pieva.
I’m glad someone asked. I have been wondering too. When I was a student I just couldn’t kill those beetle larvae that eat clothes. They seemed so utterly harmless and I thought they were cute and killing them felt so wrong. After a while I had them everywhere and they ate holes in everything that contained natural fibres of any kind. I had to wear pure polyester for several years (it wasn’t modern at the time, but a lot of secondhand polyester clothes were available) to get rid of the invasion. That’s actually how I came up with my nick.