I often heard this proverb when I was a child: ”Sweeping the floor may injure the lives of ants, and cherish the moth gauze lamp”. The proverb describes how the Buddhist monk and nun cherish the lives of tiny animals. In my little heart I very admired the kindness of the Buddhist monk and nun. However, my parents didn’t have any religion beliefs, and I was often ordered to kill the small insects or mice in the house. One time my Dad killed a rooster. I saw the rooster struggling desperately when it’s was head cut off, and still running around headless with blood. I filled with sorrow. I asked my Dad why humans can kill other animals and eat them. My dad told me that humans are the spirit of all beings. I didn’t understand what that meant, and my Dad’s answer did comfort my little naive heart.
When I went to graduate school in the US, I had the chance to read some books about buddhism. I felt it was very interesting and rather convincing. Then I started to read more Buddhist sutra. I learned that there are five precepts, the most fundamental rules that Buddhists should follow. The first one is: not killing. I had a personal experience that deepened my understanding of this precept.
About year 2000, we lived in a single-family house in North Carolina. In the big back yard I planted some vegetables, so I could have some organic food. However, growing vegetables was not as easy as I thought. After several months when the plant started blooming and bearing fruit, the trouble started. There appeared many big, fat, greenish caterpillars crawling in the garden, which ate the leaves and fruits. My husband got really angry with those little insects, and would smash them on the ground. I talked about those insects with my friends to try and find some non-harmful way to get rid of them. My friends suggested me to get a bottle of spray in the organic farm supply store; it is non-toxic and all-natural to humans and plants. It works as a glue to block the insects skin, so that they can’t breath and suffocated to death. When I heard that, I felt my whole body’s skin tighten up suffocatingly. No, I can’t use this spray, I can’t let those little creature to die like this to save my plants. I would not kill them no matter what. The very next day, an unexpected miracle happened. The very next morning my husband told me, it was very strange that all the caterpillars were gone, and there were no dead insects in the garden either. I could’t explain the reason, but I believed it was not a coincidence. I thought that maybe those caterpillar felt my kindness and then left.
Two years later I got a job in California, and we moved to the west coast. That was a truly blessing. I could go to a place to listen the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Dharma discourse. That changed my life completely. It gave me a different point of view of the universe and life.
From the Dharma transmitted by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III I gained more insights about the Buddhist precepts of “Not Killing”. I deeply understand that all living beings in the six realms of reincarnation within the three spheres of the universe have been since beginning-less time; my fathers and mothers in the revolving cycle of reincarnation. I should deeply bear in mind that all of my parents (i.e. all living beings) that now exist in the cycle of reincarnation have since beginning-less time given birth to me, reared me, loved me, and became tired and ill for me. Their kindness to me is as heavy as a mountain. I should bear in mind their kindness. I will then regard the sufferings of my parents (i.e. all living beings) as my own suffering.
I truly wish all living beings can live harmoniously and peacefully together, and wish all living beings whom are my family to have a happy and prosperous life with good health and an abundance of good fortune. I shall constantly beseech all of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to empower all of my parents (i.e. all living beings) so that they may extricate themselves from all forms of suffering, encounter and practice the Buddha-dharma, and liberate themselves from the sufferings of cyclic existence.
Written by Peace Lily