One of Buddhism’s Five Precepts:
“I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking life.”
These days we like to talk about humans being the most intelligent form of life and on top of the food chain and all. Somehow, the conversation sometimes shift to our superiority over other forms of life. Somehow, that no longer feels right.
When I was younger, I used to step on ants that were on my path. I used to kill flies that were annoying me, or mosquitoes that were trying to suck my blood. I used to trap butterflies for fun. But since I’ve been thinking about this, I’m starting to believe more strongly that perhaps we really shouldn’t do those things.
Even if you take the Christian angle, you could say that all life forms are God’s Creation, and to any life forms would be to hurt a fellow Creation. Who are we to decide if other beings are to live or to die? You could also take the nonreligious angle: if life is simply precious, should we take it away from others?
Who are we considered a killer only when we kill other humans?
We know the capability of mankind. Save some godzilla invasion or a visit from an alien planet, we are high up on the food chain. But we know how delicate the food chain is, and we know that humans cannot survive without the biodiversity and the typical functioning of other beings–these things are just indirect. We know that everything is interconnected in ways we may never completely comprehend. I say we’re all equal. I say we’re all life. I say we’re all together on this planet.
Perhaps it is wiser–or simply feels righter–to think twice before killing anyone or anything.