A Living Without Killing?

Q: Does a meat-seller (not a butcher), say a chicken rice hawker break the First Precept of not killing? He doesn’t kill any chicken though he buys dead chickens from a butcher. What about a poultry-seller who sells live chickens for customers to slaughter by themselves?

A: Technically, the meat-seller does not break the First Precept. However, his trade involves meat, which is considered wrong livelihood under the Noble Eightfold Path.  It’s simple why – because his business demands continual killing. The live chicken-seller also does not technically break the First Precept but it also practises wrong livelihood as it involves continual exploitation of sentient lives. The unwholesome karma created in either cases is not any less grave than breaking the First Precept – especially over a long duration of time – because these occupations support killing quite directly.

21 thoughts on “A Living Without Killing?

  1. Anyone who believes in rebirth would know that samsara is like a game of musical chair. If each chair is a different realm. We will take turns sitting on it based on the karma created. The main cause for killing animals has two facets to it. One being secular for economic, political and trade. The other facet is spiritual for the offering to gods backed by the ideology of animals not having souls and divine powers that living things are made to be eaten. Whenever I think of animals having no souls, I can’t help being reminded of real ghost stories I watch on cable from western countries and some involving hauntings by spirits of animals. So if animals have no souls, what then are those spirits doing haunting places like an abandoned lab facility or farmhouse. Whether to kill or not, whatever cause we believe in and endorse, we too share in it’s woes and sorrows. The human realm being a realm of desires. Every desire we pursue comes with it’s set of pain as well. Which is why almost every line of work including the govt is not spared from the woes of what they endorse as well. Take for example meat. On any good day, the chain of processes simply carry on in an almost cyclic nature. Until a case of bacteria infection or mad cow diseases outbreak, the chain of command suddenly go berserk. From hospitals to regulators who have to contain an outbreak to adding new layers of checks on meat itself. If too many people die, the nation may go into a state of emergency. This is what we mean by shared karma. Karma is always there as long as it is produced by our body, speech and mind. The only choice we have is whether we want to try create good karma or negative karma. Keeping quiet doesn’t spare one for karma in the same way if one does not speak up against murder, we may one day be murdered by the very silence that we silently endorse in the first place.

    Whatever cause we fight for, if it is a wrong cause which produces a negative effect. We will eventually end up fighting the cause we fought for in the first place.

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