Monday, March 12, 2007

Respect ALL living things?

I love the “Odd News” section of Yahoo News, and run across the most bizarre and interesting things there. Today this story caught my eye:

Ants test nonviolence of Buddhist monks

My first instinct would be to grab a can of RAID and then call the Terminex man, but these monk dudes will allow themselves to be seriously harmed by ants before they would intentionally kill the little fuckers. It seems that these monks want humans to put aside their own natural survival instincts that all animals possess.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Buddhist monks, who are bound by faith to nonviolence, are grappling with how to rid a temple of a severe ant infestation without killing the insects.

Stinging red ants have plagued the Hong Hock See [say that ten times fast!] Temple in northern Penang state for a year, causing one worshipper to be bitten so badly last month that he had to receive hospital treatment, said Elma Lin, a temple volunteer worker.

A temple disciple tried using a vacuum cleaner to gather up the ants before freeing them in a nearby forest, but the method failed to purge the insects, Lin said.

“We haven’t found a solution so far,” Lin said. “Nothing has worked.”

The temple’s chief monk, Boon Keng, was quoted by The Star newspaper as saying that the monks had to “respect other living things” in the temple.

“When an ant drops on you, you must not flick it away or blow on it,” he told the newspaper. “If you do, it will bite to hold on. You just have to shake it off.”

The newspaper published a photograph of Boon Keng standing beside a sign at the temple that read: “Beware poisonous ants. Do not sit under the tree.”

The decades-old temple has more than 10 monks living there and hundreds of devotees, Lin said.

Like other religions, there are varying forms of Buddhism, but this video gives a brief summary of what modern “westernized” Buddhism is about. Are these people living in la-la land, avoiding problems in society, or is it possible for their influence of this kind of thinking to do any good for humankind?

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