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How do I deal with my mind accusing me of something I’m not doing? For example, if you are walking, and your mind tells you that you are killing insects or bacteria, how do you deal with it?

Or

For example, if your skin gets itchy and you want to scratch but your mind tells you that you are killing ants or bacteria that might be causing your skin to be itchy. Your original intention was to scratch your skin because it’s itchy but your mind tells you that you are going to kill insects or bacteria that might be on your skin, you don’t listen to your mind and scratch your skin anyway. Is this bad karma?

Sorry if this is hard to understand. I try to make it clear.

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Bacteria do not appear to be "breathing creatures" therefore appear excluded from the 1st precept.

The 1st precept is about intentional killing therefore excludes non-intentional killing of insects.

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The commentary to Dhammapada 1 precisely addresses the topic of unintentionally killing insects:

On one occasion, Thera Cakkhupala (who was blind) came to pay homage to the Buddha at the Jetavana monastery. One night, while pacing up and down in meditation, the thera accidentally stepped on some insects. In the morning, some bhikkhus visiting the thera found the dead insects. They thought ill of the thera and reported the matter to the Buddha.

The Buddha asked them whether they had seen the thera killing the insects. When they answered in the negative, the Buddha said, "Just as you had not seen him killing, so also he had not seen those living insects. Besides, as the thera had already attained arahatship he could have no intention of killing and so was quite innocent." .....

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 1: All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner; they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with an evil mind, 'dukkha' follows him just as the wheel follows the hoofprint of the ox that draws the cart.

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Kamma is tied to volition, the precepts are there to establish minimum guidelines for "good" behaviour, but try to understand the why. As Dhammadhatu pointed out, the first precept relates to intentional killing, it exists to prevent actions based on hatred and ill-will, which generate bad kamma, i.e., more hatred and ill-will. If you are not acting out of hatred, then you are not conditioning your mind to indulge in hatred and so are not generating "hate-kamma".

As for dealing with your mind, remember that you are not your thoughts. Don't be afraid of them, see them arise and pass away, don't delight in them nor be ashamed of them. And, more importantly, be kind and patient to them, thought patterns are a habit which can be unlearned, but only through patience and understanding.

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My friend, you are "thinking too much"...:)

"thinking too much" is a Volition in 5 aggregates, this is when our thinking is out of dhamma, out of 4NT, out of N8FP.

Try to bring your thought back to knowing exactly what your body is doing, aware of what your body is doing and nothing else. Ask yourself "what am I doing now?" if your mind is cloudy.

Hopefully, your mind will back to it calm state and out of the "thinking too much" mode.

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