Life as a born again Christian was easy. “Christians are not perfect just forgiven”, the bumper sticker says. Everything ( almost) you are forgiven for, even things you do not know you are going to do, God knows all you do and will do and as a Christian you are forgiven. Wow! How cool is that? Makes life simple. So you can screw people over, pollute the world, kill and eat anything with no regrets, no “karma” step on a bug, kill a spider, a rat, wipe out entire species, race, have slaves, start wars over oil or whatever , it is all cool, you are forgiven… ok mostly. You do have some responsibilities, never say any thing bad about God, don’t kill yourself, no idol worship and get as many to join the ranks as possible, other than that, it is mostly all good. Yeah, that is just simplifying things, but in a nut shell that is it.
As a student of the Tao, you have to think about things, like karma, oneness with everything, hurting anything is hurting yourself, plants, bugs, frogs, rats, trees, water, fish, because there is no separation, no duality, no them and me, there is only us, we. I am everything, everything, is me, we are one, universally, spiritually speaking, crimany what a load to deal with. If I was invaded by rats back in the day, break out the traps and Snap , Pop, Bang, problem solved.
Now, I have to think about is this the right way , how would Jesus, or Buddha handle this, will this creature suffer, do I have the “right” to end it’s life , what will be the repercussions? Because everything has a repercussions, maybe not now, but later, who knows. Everything I do unto others, I do unto me in some form. There is no duality. It is a lot of work to live mindful, walking the middle path, trying to live in harmony with the Force, the Universe, the Tao, The Great Spirit. Living compassionately is work…It is easier to give up personal responsibly. Easier to think the world is all about us, all for us, than we are here for each other. I’m not saying everyone is like that, but…generally speaking.
I asked Rev Sensei about what would be the best way to I can handle to rat problem. He did not say do this or that, other than, have you tied netting, cages, etc. His answer came down to be compassionate as possible. Try to avoid killing, all life is precious. Great, I already knew that. Perhaps some netting he says. This reminded me of the Zen Story about the priest who came back as a fox because of saying the wrong thing. Rev. Sensei is not a Zen priest but maybe there is a similar Jodo Shinshu story. My Shaolin Chan elder says “intent is the key differentiator in karma creation. I believe everyone seems to agree on this.
But then how would I decide?? Or do I? Listen to our heart. It is up to the individual heart to select either the plants or the rats. Or we could just follow the law of nature – a natural selection process.”
Others says, a quick death is the compassionate way.
So what am I doing? For the moment nothing. We are bringing some of the plants inside at night, the other I cover with the cage. I will look into some netting if I can find some cheap. Now they or it is eating the eggplants and flowers. I’ll see what the Tao presents as a solution. In Christian terms, I’ll be still and let God show me the way. So much soul searching over a rat, yet, life is life and who knows but God the big picture. Native Peoples feel animals are our guides our teachers, maybe this rodent is teaching me about my own humanity and testing my compassion.
to be continued…