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I resolve not to kill. 

Instead, I will respect and 

have compassion for all beings.  

The first vow of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva is to respect all Buddhas. Understanding that all beings have Buddha-nature and are future Buddhas, we also strive to respect all beings. Bodhisattvas vow to help all sentient beings.

We also should strive to have compassion for others, for we know too well that all beings suffer. That all beings fear violence and death. As our understanding and our respect and compassion for beings grow, we resolve not to take the life of any living being.

And yet, almost immediately, we fail.

How can we not take the life of other beings when our very existence entails killing?

Eating, breathing—our very existence—involves killing. Even so, we do have choices. Consume meat and dairy, or eat a plant-based diet? Walk on grass and step on an unseen ant, or use a walkway? Whack that spider or catch and release? We really do have choices.

We just need to make the right ones.

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