On one hand, killing...

On the other hand, if there are no bedbugs (extinct status) no one can be reborn as a bedbug. The species causes more suffering then good.

Perhaps it would be worth it to be reborn in the hell realm for a life or two as a sacrifice to better the universe in such a way... Or perhaps the very thought is in grave error...

Say a man were to carry out the mission of bringing bedbugs to extinction, and then take the precept and never kill another thing for his entire remaining life.

What is the Buddhist perspective on this?

Would such a man be responsible for removing the suffering caused by bedbugs if he had not taken on his mission?

  • You could ask the same question for bacteria or viruses that cause severe diseases (e.g. plague or ebola). People try to eradicate those living organisms too.
    – THelper
    Dec 17, 2015 at 8:18
  • Sure, or remove the symptoms caused. Perhaps engineering the venom away and just let them feast on your flesh out of compassion?
    – hellyale
    Dec 17, 2015 at 8:25
  • @Crab Bucket this is less about killing, and move of removing an entire species from existence forever. There are more connotations here, like not being able to be reborn as a bedbug for instance
    – hellyale
    Dec 17, 2015 at 17:54
  • @Ryan same as above
    – hellyale
    Dec 17, 2015 at 17:54
  • I can see this could be different i,e. the difference between killing a mosquito and eradicating the entire species of malaria mosquito to save lives. Perhaps the mosquito one is a separate question again - as there is a stronger greater good element. Anyway I'll reopen then leave it to the community if they think it really is a duplicate or not. Cheers Dec 18, 2015 at 9:50

1 Answer 1


Being in a position of not having to kill is better. The idea of getting rid of species that cause more harm (or bad karma to themselves) is a product of pondering mind, and definitely not Buddha's teaching.

To answer your question, Buddha did not speak of any situations where killing another species was worth anything.

However, if you search "kill" in sutta, Buddha used "killing" in a context of anger. Something like "those who killed anger live in peace" , and other contexts as well, but never in a context of taking lives or other species. Your hypothetical doesn't lead to enlightenment or cessation.

  • 1
    however, Buddha used hypothetical situations to teach dharma many times. Example, Buddha said if someone offered you an enlightenment after being tortured for 100 years, make sure you take it because it is a fair trade. (Sattisata Sutta).
    – user5056
    Dec 16, 2015 at 23:21
  • Say that it was 100 lives in the hell realm, but bedbugs never existed again, I would take that hit for the team.
    – hellyale
    Dec 16, 2015 at 23:27
  • 1
    Bedbugs or not, suffering arises in the mind.
    – Ryan
    Dec 16, 2015 at 23:45
  • 1
    i will be blunt. An idea that suffering is caused by others (bed bugs) is a wrong view. Even an idea of suffering is caused by self is also a wrong view. It is a common idea or conclusion from those who have not heard dharma. The right view would be "because of contact, feeling arises".. Let me tell you, all beings from hell to high heaven who have not heard dharma, would come to a conclusion that suffering comes from self or others. if you want to end feeling of suffering (vedana) to end, you must not have contact (passa).
    – user5056
    Dec 17, 2015 at 0:29
  • @DeanAlkas I edited the formatting to hopefully make it more readable; feel free to revert the changes if you'd like.
    – Ryan
    Dec 17, 2015 at 2:04

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