1. While having a concrete floor, is it okay to chop off trees for a wooden floor?

"If [a monk or nun] is ruthless with regard to plants, this is an offence to be atoned." (Patimokkhasutta Pacittiya 11)

  • There are many other questions already addressing the killing or eating of animals or using their products. AFAIK, when Buddhist do disapprove of killing animals, the problem isn't that they end up in our stomach, the problem is they are killed, so jackets would have the same problem. – MatthewMartin Dec 12 '16 at 10:37
  • Let's rephrase: If killing an animal simply for wearing their fur is disapproved of, is killing a tree simply for decorating the floor okay? – Mike Lukasson Dec 12 '16 at 17:35
  • To make the point clearer: The first action many people would disapprove of as unwarranted killing. The second action - while also ending life for unwarranted reasons - most people would not disapprove of. But I could only find one quote that says something about treating plants. So maybe someone knows other quotes in that direction. – Mike Lukasson Dec 12 '16 at 17:47
  • There are also already questions on killing what in the buddhist system would be non-sentient beings (plants, bacteria). For the pro-meat eating group, killing is about if you are mentally upset/mean/angry while killing, for the anti-meant eating group, it is about if the creature is sentient (plant's aren't). – MatthewMartin Dec 12 '16 at 23:34
  • There is a Mahayana story about a monk being tied to a blade of grass by bandits because the bandits knew the monk wouldn't kill a living thing. I can't tell if it was a joke (there are jokes in the canonical sutras!) or a rhetorical flourish (there are a lot of these, which later readers take very literal, e.g. self immolation is probably a rhetorical flourish/exaggeration) – MatthewMartin Dec 12 '16 at 23:36

The rules for monks and nuns outlined in the Patimokkha do not apply to lay people. The things you mention are not violations of the code of ethics for non-monastics.

  • 2
    To kill animals is a violation of the first precept – breath Dec 11 '16 at 23:05
  • I understood the question about the jacket to be about wearing a jacket made from the fur of an animal that the asker did not personally kill. I should clarify that killing animals for their fur is against the lay precepts but wearing a fur coat is not. – Adamokkha Dec 12 '16 at 16:24
  • Sorry, the question seems to be misleading. See my comment above. Let's assume I'm a monk, can I chop a tree just to decorate my floor? – Mike Lukasson Dec 12 '16 at 17:36
  • A monk would violate the monastic code of conduct by chopping down a tree to decorate his floor. Cf. accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/ariyesako/… – Adamokkha Dec 12 '16 at 19:39

Wearing your jacket or being naked it is not okay to kill any living being

But according to Buddhism cutting trees is okay .


Your question is, animal and plant, both are lives, if killing animal is an offence why not killing a plant?

1) Animal has feeling of pain, plant has feeling but it's not the same as pain to animal. Meditate: why some plants grow fruits for animals to eat to propagate? Is the fruit "painful" when being eaten? 2) Plant is also life, thus the monks are taught not to step on the grass if they could avoid; the summer retreat is also one reason to avoid destroying the flourishing plants in a season of growth. But plant life is different from animal life: grasses trod, will continuous to grow afterwards, even stronger; a tree when a branch is chopped, will regrown, or split from the cut more branches... 3) The plant in the Cycle of Life the only mean is to offer itself to accumulate merits for enlightenment, since it's not able to act (immobile) nor speak. Meditate on this... 4) A log after chopped down (a tree's life is ended in a simple sense however, the roots are deep buried some could spring to life again. But it's different the modern way of timbering I don't know, for the modern way tends to uproot everything and take it all), is it going to die spilling blood and rotten like an animal carcass? No. Normally a log could last for thousands of years if it's not attacked by bugs or mold. Some logs may appear even more polished or with fragrance if it's aged. In contrast, a tree may be attacked by bugs or molds or even ivies while still "alive". Thus we cannot determine what is "death" to a tree like defining an animal. I'm sure if I'm a log being crafted into a Buddha image and adorned in the temple I'm "happier" than exposed in the forest ;) Meditate: the bees' world view - social structure, individuality? Sure it's different from human; thus the plant's is different.

5) Buddha did instruct the students not to wear fur, leather or silk (from the cocoon of silkworm) clothes in Surangama Sutra, if they wish to have clean practice.

It's important to grasp the core idea of having loving-kindness to all beings. However to sustain a body that's conditioned with material, we can't avoid taking material from around. Thus we shall vow to become enlightened quickly, to end this dependency. Before that's achieved, we shall opt for the minimum of harm and consumption.

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