I always wondered what should I do according to buddhism in a situation like that. Obviously I have two options.

  1. Hit the snake and save the frogs' life.
  2. Just keep watching without doing anything.

Can someone explain this


Samsara means we live in a world where things are as great as we'd like them and we are often faced with choices without a good alternative. (For a western contrived example, see the Trolly Problem)

Modern biologist often conclude that predator and prey, while not in a situation that benefits the prey, have worked out a solution that is horrible, but the best among the options. When predators are removed from an ecosystem, creatures that evolved expecting predators will over graze and create worse problems than when there were predators, e.g. wolves.

Mahayana Buddhism, which is the most close to modern Animal Liberation encourages not getting involved with the world of the animals-- let them be, do no harm. (Except for providing medical assistance, Buddhists in the time of Ashoka advocated providing medical help for wild animals.) And in the Bhrama Net Sutra, there is a precept prohibiting owning predator pets, such as cats, but nothing along the line of eliminating cats from nature.

  • Bhrama Net Sutra is like the Vinaya? – Lowbrow Dec 12 '16 at 7:51
  • What if there is a human child instead of frog ? as @lasan suggested – theModerator713 Dec 12 '16 at 8:13
  • @Uuu Brahma Net Sutra is a Mahayana text that more or less replaces the Vinaya in 200AD China. Begging for food as dictated by the vinaya would have been an recipe for starvation and probably was illegal. – MatthewMartin Dec 12 '16 at 10:27
  • @theModerator713 Same answer. We are in samsara and samsara presents us with misery, sometimes in the form of situations without a good answer. The general goal of the precepts is to preserve life. Maybe you'd offer your own self to the snake instead, which is a common story plot point in jataka tales. – MatthewMartin Dec 12 '16 at 10:33

Don't hit snake, but better we understand it's the nature. We cannot get snakes to eat non-veg. We can't change the nature of the world.

Animal world is described as one of 4 hells in Buddhism. Their Karma stance causes them to born in different worlds. The most eligible karma they have done in their sansara (chain of lives birth, live, die) will bring their life events to them.

Also If we kill the snake, we get it on our Karma account. Karma is like a chain which keep our lives continuing through sansara.

Please refer http://justbegood.net/MoreQuestions.htm for better understanding of Karma and their consequences.

  • If the snake already ate the frog then there is nothing that can be done. I assumed the snake was just getting seperated from the frog :) – Lowbrow Dec 12 '16 at 7:59
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    @pasan , What if there is a human child instead of frog ? as a below answer suggested – theModerator713 Dec 12 '16 at 8:16
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    @theModerator713 As we see it's value to us, we're going to save it. But as long as we involve with that, it creates your sansara!, so better stay away from making contact with it. Ideal one going towards nirwana, practice 'Let go'. In reality Noting belongs to us, as we see it's all seems like rented, we can't hold things with us, impermanence! – Pasan Eeriyagama Dec 13 '16 at 1:42
  • @PasanEeriyagama true ! thank you for the answer :) – theModerator713 Dec 13 '16 at 13:42

Snake charmers would know how to apply pressure at the neck or head to subdue them without causing injury. But you can try hitting the ground next to the snake with a stick and try to scare it. If it does not work, practice Uppekkha to keep yourself from giving into sadness.


Well, there are those who can just stand there and say "frog karma, snake karma" and they might get accused of having no empathy when really they are just trying to see the situation in a broader way.

There are those who will try to help a fellow being and they might get accused of only superficially understanding the Buddha's teachings when really they are just practicing compassion.

Both sides have there points , probably either way is correct or it depends on the person. If not saving the animal would cause one distress then one should save the animal.


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