The Compassionate Response to Mosquitoes

June 8, 2007

I think I mentioned previously that Antwerp is very humid. The rooms in which we are staying are thus very warm; lacking air conditioning or fans, most of us initially opted to open our windows for the night. What we did not count on were the mosquitoes.

The first morning here we got up to see a rash on the face of one of the fellow staff — he had half a dozen mosquito bites, primarily on one side. The rest of us escaped his level of suffering. But not so in further nights. Last night I killed two in my room, and over the past few days I have acquired a bite on my lip, on my nose, and two next to my right eye. I also have two on my right hand and a few on my legs. Thankfully, and oddly enough, they do not really itch —they just look funny on our faces!

Yesterday, whilst sitting with a group composed of two Muslims, a Hindu, and two Buddhists (and of course one Bahá'í), the Hindu gentleman and I asked the two Buddhists — what is the compassionate response to mosquitoes? Would you kill a mosquito?

We received two responses. The first was no, no killing. Just gently brush away. The second was yes, possibly kill, but with no feelings of anger or rancor. The mosquito's life is short and our action has very little effect. Further, the second response went, the soul inhabiting that mosquito obviously has bad karma, thus it is very important to bless that soul and pray that Buddha will help it to achieve a better life form in its next incarnation.

The second response was given by a Venerable master monk.


"Bless the soul and pray that Buddha ..." WHILE (or perhaps just before) whacking it without anger or rancor?

I don't recall if there was a sense of before vs. while, though I would guess before. Doing so would help one be very mindful of the act, mindful of the need to strip away any negative feeling toward this small being...