In response to popular demand, some of the time for Sunday Dhamma talks will be used as question and answer time, if there are devotees who wish to ask questions. Today, the discussion was based on 3 questions.
Question 1: How does one deal with mosquitoes without breaking the first precept?
The devotees contributed some solutions:
Keep mosquitoes away by using netting to make the house mosquito-proof.
Use citronella oil as a repellent, either by rubbing some on the body, pouring it onto a shallow dish to let it vaporise into the surrounding air, or heat it aromatherapy style.
Simply do dana for the mosquito by allowing it its fill of blood, thus enduring only one bite per mosquito. Otherwise, one may have to suffer several bites if one keeps chasing the persistent pest away.
Ven Aggacitta cautioned that any effort to swipe a mosquito without intentionally killing it might result in inflicting greater suffering, as it is a very fragile insect.
Question 2: Is it true that going for meditation retreats depletes one’s store of good karma?
Āyasmā Aggacitta explained that for a yogi to be able to attend a retreat is a ripening of part of his good karma, because during this time he is provided with all the necessary conditions conducive to practise. Thus, at other times, one should achieve a balance by practising more dana and sila to accumulate more good karma.
Question 3: What should one do if one sees a monk collecting money instead of alms in his bowl?
Āyasmā Kumara, who touched on this point in an article he wrote for Sasanarakkha Issue #7, which will soon be in circulation, gave some very practical advice. He said that one should still offer food to the monk. By this act of giving, one reaps the merits of dana, whether or not the monk accepts it. If the food is rejected, it will not go to waste, as one can give it away to someone else or one can eat it up. Then maybe, if others take this cue and give food instead of money, the monk may find it not lucrative to continue with his “business” in that particular location.