Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Keeping pets in our life from a Buddhist perspective

From the website "Daily Buddhism" comes the subject of what people should feed their companion animals - whether it should be a vegeterian or a meat based diet.

They suggest that it's "karma neutra" - because if the animal was out in the wild, they'd definitely be killing animals - so whatever you're giving it - meat or vegetable, is no worse than what he'd be giving himself in the wild. Here's some more of what they say -

"Many Buddhists believe people with negative karma are reborn as dogs. Dogs are not intelligent enough to raise their karma on their own, so they essentially have to remain dogs until their negative karma has worn off. Eventually, they will get another chance to become human again and can work on reaching Nirvana. I think the important idea to get from that is that karma doesn’t work the same way for animals as it does for people because they are not able to affect their own karma, at least not to any great extent."

They do give out the idea that dogs and cats are carnivores, which is highly contentious - and I'm not going to go into that, because I don't necessarily agree with their theory - but they also put forward the idea that the better you treat your animal - the better it is for your own karma, which to me - is always a good thing - so it's win win - which is always good!

The Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians has an article called "Life as a Vegetarian Tibetan Buddhist Practitioner" that talks about life as a Buddhist, and what they generally eat - specifically Tibetan Buddhists - and it's a great article.

It's by Eileen Weintraub, and she talks about the fact that a lot of Tibetans do eat meat but that according to Tibetan tradition, the The Buddha said, ‘the eating of meat annihilates the seed of compassion.’ There is a big dichotomy in Tibetan culture about eating meat - and their compassion for animals. "The interpretation of Buddha’s teaching was that it was OK to buy and eat meat if the being wasn’t killed directly for you. "

Lama Yeshe has a section of his website devoted to Giving Advice on Practices that benefit animals that are pretty good for helping with day to day activities. It's pretty intersting.

Animals in our lives from an animal communicators perspective

A good website that's got some neat articles about animals and their relationship with us is one that I found by a lady who's an animal communicator. I personally use an animal communicator with my dogs - Maggie Carruthers - she's got a website at

The website that I found some neat articles at is at - this lady sells animal communication and flower essences. I have no idea where in the world she is located - but her articles are good!

She's got one about animals in Budhism that's awesome - it's called "Buddhism and Animals" and it's all about how Buddhism was the first religion to actually include animals in its philosophy.

She also says - "Buddhism considers all of life to be evolving toward higher consciousness. To the Buddhist, any practice by which man sustains himself at the expense of other sentient beings is considered wrong.

Buddhism considers non-human life to be Divine just as is human life. Animals are seen to be an evolving kingdom of living creatures destined in time to attain perfect enlightenment. All of life is seen to be one. According to this conviction, to harm any living thing is to do injury to the One Eternal and Divine Life.

Since animals are considered to be traveling towards enlightenment just as man is, neither are they to be harmed, discouraged or hampered in their progress."

In another article called "Why do animals suffer" - the lady, who's name is Sharon Cleary - says that "Animals mirror for us our lost innocence. That fragile, sensitive, trusting inner nature that is buried under varying layers of ego, negatively perceived life experience and our own suffering. It seems to be a human tendency to defile that which we no longer possess. Wild animals elicit fear in people who have shut down their own wild natures in favor of "civilized" living. For us to restore the Earth to Her perfection requires that we regain a child like sensitivity to the other beings with whom we share the Earth and that we reclaim our own wild natures."

Animal communicators can have some neat ideas - they come at things from a very different perspective than ost people do.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lojong for Dogs

I was given a really great book - "The Practice of Lojong, Cultivating Compassion through training the Mind" by Traleg Kyabgon - and it's funny, I've read ABOUT Lojong, and been taught about the practice of DOING lojong - but I'd never read the actual Prayer of Lojong by Jamgon Kongtrul.

I had previously been taught about "tonglen" - the practice of giving and taking - which is another root teaching of Jamgon Kongtrul - through Chogyam Trungpa's fabulous book "Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving Kindness" - and his Slogan Cards - but for some reason - this Lojong Poem has just blown me away, and the fact that it has a paragaph for animals just puts it over for me.

The first paragraph is the paragraph to help the animals - and then the rest of it is like the 3 or 4 paragraphs of the poem - this isn't the whole thing - these are just the paragraphs that spoke to me the most. You can find out more by clicking on the link I provided at the top of the blog post -

Jamgon Kongtrul’s Lojong Prayer

Translated by Traleg Kyabgon

Under the influence of ignorance,
Sentient creatures are born as animals,
May the karmic cause and fruit of their suffering
Dissipate within me.
I offer my innately born or cultivated intellect
And the virtuous root of non-ignorance
To all migrating beings equal to the expanse of space.
May the dwelling place of ignorant animals be emptied.
May they realize Avalokiteshvara of the Buddha-family
And attain the wisdom of dharmadhatu.

Therefore, may I appropriate
The sudden eruption of obstacles and other sufferings
Of change
On my egoistic fixation from this day forward.
I offer the virtue, power, and influence I have accumulated
Throughout the three times and even life itself
To migrating beings equal to the expanse of space.
May all sentient beings
Be happy and well.
May they embark on the path of awakening.

Virtuous teachings, meat consumed, yogurt drunk,
Transport taken, and respect received
As well as the disrespect, ill will, derision, and being
Robbed and beaten
All connect me with migrating beings.

As a result of whatever beneficial or harmful karmic
Relationships I may have had
With anyone who has seen my qualities or simply smelled my waft on the wind –
May all their karmic delusions be exhausted.
May they be delivered into Sukhavati
Through the power of Avalokiteshvara’s great compassion.

May whatever actions I engage in through body, speech,
And mind
And even my bodily odor
Have only beneficial effects on migrating beings.
May anyone who wants to cause harm to my life or body,
Whether they be human or nonhuman,
That carry ill intent
Be the first to attain Buddhahood.
May I never be the basis or the slightest cause
Of bringing the negative karma of others to fruition.

If we examine dreams, the reflection of the moon in
Water, a mirage,
We will see they have no true nature in themselves
It is only because of egoistic fixation that we have been
Utterly deceived by them.
I and all migrating beings equal to the expanse of space,
Including evil spirits and nonhumans,
Are equal in emptiness, the ultimate truth.
May we understand this without fixation.
May we never become attached
To the truth of emptiness.

There is not one migrating being
Who has not been my mother or father in this world of
Sentient being.
Where can I find anyone, anywhere, who has shown me
More kindness?
To wish harm to one’s mother or her offspring
Is clearly delusional.
Far better to appreciate their kindness.
May I hand over gain and victory to others
And take loss and defeat upon myself
In order to remember the kindness of all migrating
Beings without partiality.

Through the power of the exceedingly noble intention
Generated by me, as a result of this prayer,
May the obscurations and defilements of others be purified.
May all migrating beings accomplish the two accumulations.
The Essence of this previous bodhichitta is emptiness
And compassion,
The inconvertible path of all the Buddhas.
May bodhichitta arise suddenly and with ease.
Having given birth to this precious bodhichitta,
May I speedily attain omniscient Buddhahood.

Sarva Mangalam
May everything be well.