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Thread: ants and the first precept

  1. #1

    ants and the first precept


    What should you do when you don't want to kill but you have loads of ants in your house?


  2. #2

    Re: ants and the first precept

    My first answer would be:

    Try to answer that yourself.


  3. #3

    Re: ants and the first precept

    Hi David,

    I've seen discussions on this topic elsewhere (eSangha) but a quick search couldn't find any definitive answers. Someone mentioned lavender and Google found some posts on a gardening forum here: - no mention of whether or not it harms the ants though.

    good luck!


  4. #4

    Re: ants and the first precept

    Sorry David. Misunderstood your post.

    You might try shouting really loudly "GET OUT!!!" But I don't think that will do much.

    Google perhaps.


  5. #5

    Re: ants and the first precept


    We also faced this when Treeleaf Japan ... a completely wooden building (built without nails, just joined wood beams) ... was infested with termites ...

    A Google search on the subject, and talking to some other Buddhist clergy in various traditions, turned up the fact that (as I suspected), infested wooden Buddhist temples will take countermeasures ... though sometimes followed by a memorial service or the like for the little lives taken (and although some claim not too, and that good chanting is enough to chase the bugs away ... I tried that, no luck.) ...

    The following was also typical advice, and I gave it a try ...

    In the area of prohibitions against killing, one laywoman asked, "What should we do if there are mice and termites at home?" Dharma Master Heng Lyu answered, "You first post a notice asking them to leave. Next, you use insect repellants to chase them out. Avoid insecticides because you want to avoid the karma of killing."

    One layman asked, "How do you avoid harming living beings while mowing the lawn?"

    Dharma Master Heng Lyu said, "You would first post a notice to let the small creatures know that it's best to move, then mow the lawn. While you're mowing the lawn, recite the Great Compassion Mantra at the same time."

    Excerpted from the article, "The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas Holds First Transmission of the Lay Bodhisattva Precepts in the New Millenium", on page 49 of the October 2000 issue (volume 31, series 73) of the Vajra Bodhi Sea.
    And, of course, this is the famous "Dalai Lama kills the Mosquito" video ...

    I really feel the weight of having to kill those termites ... but somehow, whenever there is an earthquake and the heavy roof timbers start shaking over my family's heads ... I know it was necessary. That is the Koan.

    Gassho, Jundo

  6. #6

    Re: ants and the first precept

    Thanks John, will, and Jundo.

    Actually, it's not my house that has the ants but someone I know. I'll pass on the link to this page.

    If it were me I'd certainly ask them to leave (maybe even write a note), and give the repellent a go. Chanting too.

    I googled it and a couple of people mentioned that they don't like cinnamon or the scent of citrus and that they work as a deterent. One should also be really careful with putting food away, and keep things really clean. Also try to seal off their entry point.

    Thanks again.


  7. #7

    Re: ants and the first precept

    Write them a note?????????????
    In what language??????????????
    Can they read??????????????????
    Sorry, I tried to resist. I really did, but the idea is just too funny!

  8. #8

    Re: ants and the first precept


    We have an ant invasion every year at around this time. As soon as the weather starts warming up, the little pilgrims appear.

    What's worked fairly well for me is to clean the floors and surfaces with vinegar. It won't be enough by itself -- the other step is to make sure food is always put away and any ant-attracting items properly sealed. But in combination with doing that, the vinegar should help. I've heard apple cider vinegar is the most effective, but the regular stuff seems to do the trick too. Wouldn't try balsamic.

    Last year I discovered the ultimate peaceful solution -- we went away for three weeks. When we returned, no more ants.

    All best,

  9. #9

    Re: ants and the first precept

    I think this sums it up in one little sentence: every species responds to some things aversively, find out what this is for ants and they will go away.



  10. #10

    Re: ants and the first precept

    i usually try to give a little glance where i step to avoid killing ants and the like.
    but i kill mosquitoes, i tried not killing them for a year but they are a health concern and i would rather preserve my health than to something that should view as a guideline ( i dont think i break a precept by doing so... ).

    another thing i should mention is the fact that ever second our body kills bacteria and virus that enter it, so in a way we always kill even without wanting or knowing about it... if we wouldnt do that we would die and be killed by those infections.

    just a thought.

    Gassho, Dojin.

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