A Woman Kills A Mouse

Minh N. Tran


Last night, while walking home from badminton, I heard a woman yell, "Hit it, hit it!" as she banged a pair of tongs on the sidewalk. She chased after the mouse..."Kill it, kill it!" She kept missing the mouse, as it scurried left and right, forward and around, dodging that pair of tongs. I stopped and chanted Kwan Seum Bosal (Bodhisattva of Compassion). I chanted very quickly and hoped that the mouse would be able to escape.

Alas, the first hit that connected left the mouse dazed. As it slowed down, the woman had an easy target. Bang, bang, bang. Her hits were meant to kill. My mind couldn't understand this desire. She kept hitting the mouse, as hard as she could, on its head and its body. It stopped at last, but the tongs kept coming. I turned away before the last blow. Ji Jang Bosal, Ji Jang Bosal, Ji Jang Bosal...

I said to the mouse, "This is not bad. Okay, this can be good too. Now may you go somewhere clear and bright. May you purify your karma and cut off your karma with this woman. May you find the path, practice hard, find your true nature, and save all beings."

In Buddhism, our very first precept is to not kill. One time over lunch, our second guiding teacher Andzrej Stec said to me, "You see, everything runs away when you try to kill it. Even an ant. No animal stops, looks at you, and says please kill me." So don't kill anything. If you don't kill even one ant, you couldn't fathom murdering a mouse, let alone another human being.

Yes, that mouse was a pest. But if the woman had wisdom, she would have had another way of dealing with the mouse. In our temple, we spray vinegar to drive away the ants; put up screens to keep the mosquitos out; and wait a while before burning leaves and logs, so that the insects in them could run away. May the woman understand this teaching one day and keep correct relationship with all the mice she meets. Kwan Seum Bosal.

Minh N. Tran