Chapter 33: Avoidance of Killing
Children sit at home for a meal, sharing the food. Behind them, their mother is feeding a poor man who has come to the door. Her husband is caring for and feeding the cows.
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What is virtuous conduct? It is never destroying life,
for killing leads to every other sin.
Of all virtues summed by ancient sages, the foremost are to
share one’s food and to protect all living creatures.
Not killing is the first and foremost good.
The virtue of not lying comes next.
What is the good way? It is the path that reflects on
how it may avoid killing any living creature.
Among all who disown the world out of dismay,
the foremost, dismayed with killing, embrace nonkilling.
Life-devouring death will not lay waste the living days
of one whose code of conduct is to never kill.
Refrain from taking precious life from any living being,
even to save your own life.
By sacrifice of life, some gain great wealth and welfare,
but great men scorn such odious gains.
Those whose trade is killing creatures are deemed defiled
by men who know the defiling nature of being mean.
They say that beggars who suffer a depraved life
in a diseased body once deprived another’s body of its life.
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