Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 10/22/2014


You read it right: lice. My wife and children have got them (I have been spared so far by a bald pate) and it has been a nightmare. Of course there is the standard suffering caused by the rigors of infection control to try to prevent the spread of the critters but there is also the fact the controlling means taking life.

Whether it’s been moth infestations, bedbugs or roaches it seems the only way to deal with beings is by killing them. And although I have not directly like a louse I have applied creams and removed nits galore. How do I justify it? Quite simply I don’t. And I have ceased to try. What is better (I think) is to be honest about what I am doing and recognize I am breaking the precepts. In the interim I will do all I can to prevent such conditions from arising again.


  1. Wow, that it is a tough one. It is easy for me to respect the lives of those beings I find beautiful and useful, like trees, birds, and butterflies. But to respect and do my best to preserve the lives of beings for whom I feel aversion–lice, roaches, bedbugs, ticks, fleas, parasites of all kinds–this is much more of a challenge. What about being infected with a life threatening parasite and taking medicine to expel it from your own body? How would the Buddha explain this to us? Whose life is more valuable? Out of compassion for the parasite, do we give of our own life? Or do we tell ourselves that being in this precious human body, we have the chance to reach many more beings on the path of dharma, and so we do all that we can to remain in good health? Is there something I’m missing here? Am I over simplifying?

  2. Best not to set up rigid rules; common sense is often the best guide. I don’t think the Buddha would encourage malaria-carrying mosquitoes to feed on his living body! Good luck; hope you are free of the little beasties now?

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A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.