I stepped on a cockroach in my kitchen this morning. I felt bad about it.

I wondered if the Dalai Lama would step on a cockroach. I suppose if anyone was watching he’d take it outside and give it a cracker.

Do proper Buddhists make an exception for vermin? Or did my karma take a small hit? We had friends over for brunch yesterday. They have a couple daughters about Gamma’s age. The girls started screaming because a spider was on the table. I carried it outside, so maybe that made up for the cockroach. But I chased the girls around the house with it first, so maybe not.

Then I noticed the cockroach wasn’t dead, only crippled. It was mashed up, but its feelers were still twitching. So I hadn’t killed it after all.

I felt better. It still had a chance to learn something from this incarnation and maybe reincarnate a step or two up the ladder, as a talk-radio host or something.

I began to tell Alpha about it when she came down to breakfast, but she wasn’t awake enough for a philosophical discussion, plus she’d want to know why I had left a crippled cockroach on the kitchen floor, so I got a Kleenex and carried it outside to the trash instead, where it probably died of cognitive dissonance.

9 responses to “Karma

  1. Little Known Facts About the Cockroach.

  2. Aack, are you sure you didn’t just toss Franz out with the trash?

  3. beta


  4. > Do proper Buddhists make an exception for vermin?
    Apparently not. There was a similar problem at a monastery in Penang earlier this year: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6441631.stm

  5. Maybe your cockroach will not die. Maybe the Buddhist philosophy should be upheld. But isn’t the biggest folly of cockroaches the speed with which they breed?
    Have you got tweezers, a steady hand, powerful magnifying glass??? :D

  6. T

    UP the ladder?

    (someone had to say it!)

  7. Jann

    If you walk around the neighborhoods in southern California at night, you hear crunch, crunch; it’s the snails on the sidewalks – you can’t see them at night. They’re considered pests; they eat people’s plants. Still I hate to kill them.

    But I always rescue earthworms that I see on sidewalks or in parking lots, where they would surely be stepped on or run over, I move them to a safer place. And spiders I leave alone (or take outside if they bother others), except for the black widows we have here; those I reluctantly kill.

    And I have no idea what any of this does for my karma.

  8. stopping by, even if is too rarely, is such fun and you are the only person j ever reads out loud to me. xxx

  9. I always look out for the snails and barnacles on the rocks in Brittany – when the tide goes down, they are everywhere. who the hell knows what karma may come, but I like to be by the water. I hate to hear them crunch though…

    thanks for this post.