I am very new to Buddhism and am learning the teachings, so I am reaching out. I avoid hurting any living thing at all cost, but this morning while walking my dogs I was texting and I crushed a snail. My heart broke the moment it happened and I felt ill. I know it was not intentional, and I mourned the loss of life, but it happened while I was distracted and not mindful. I still feel it so deep. So I guess I have a couple of questions. What are the implications of this action? And how do I correct this wrong?
What are the implications of this action?
The implication is that you will suffer. Well, actually, you already are. Your heart broke and you felt ill. These are the immediate results of your bad kamma. And feeling guilt and remorse is bad kamma as well, since it leads you to suffer more.
- Reflect on the fact that you didn't intend the snail to die.
- Reflect on how it makes you feel, with kindness and compassion.
- Make the determination to avoid both in the future.
- Take up the five precepts, if you haven't already. Or take them up again, if you already had and wish to renew them (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sila/pancasila.html).
This is Theravada view, btw.
Be kind to yourself! :)
I've encountered such in a few occasions. And how I attempt to avoid it from happening again is to be mindful while walking. While walking my vision is looking at the floor in front of me in a natural posture. So that I know where I am heading and if I need to be extra careful if there are any obstacles.
Every step I make is with the awareness of stepping. If my attention is drawn towards something around me. I would take note of the distraction and bring my focus back to my steps. Else I will stop walking and pay attention to the distraction.
The drawback of this is at times people that you might know passes you but you missed noticing them until they call out to you.
Our very existence is a cause and condition for others suffering. Consider that the air we breathe and the food we eat and the shelter we take no doubt serves as a condition for the suffering of other sentient beings. This is sometimes referred to as the all-pervasive aspect of duhkka and what makes samsara so unsatisfactory.
What you can do is work tirelessly for the benefit of other sentient beings by taking the Bodhisattva vows and working to generate true bodhicitta and true wisdom to accomplish the Great Enlightenment for the benefit of all. Meditate on that snails death and how unsatisfactory samsara is. Renounce this life and this world of samsara and use that snail’s death as motivation to accomplish the highest aim’s of mother sentient beings.
Highly suggest you read Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life three times over the course of this summer to honor the life of that snail.