Can animals be spiritual?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation
greggorious
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Can animals be spiritual?

Postby greggorious » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:04 am

Nothing more to add to my title. Can animals be spiritual?
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah

Virgo
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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby Virgo » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:12 am

Hi Greg. Interesting question. What do you mean by "spiritual"?

Kevin

greggorious
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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby greggorious » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:16 am

I know what I mean in my mind, but if I try to explain it it may be obscured.
I guess what I mean is that sometimes animals can appear to have spiritual experiences, i.e going into trance-like states or have periods of meditation. I'm sure science can disprove all that as mumbo jumbo, but just wanted to know what you guys thought.
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah

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clw_uk
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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:57 am

:shrug:
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Ben
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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby Ben » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:26 am

I think what is more likely is that we are seeing what we want to see.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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tiltbillings
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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:06 am

Can human animals be spiritual?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Ben
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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby Ben » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:09 am

tiltbillings wrote:Can human animals be spiritual?


Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

Digity
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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby Digity » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:34 am

No, not really...that's the whole advantage of the human realm...we can practice and they can't.
Samsara sucks. #samvega

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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby SarathW » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:53 am

The following post may be some help for your question.

What is unique in human compare to animal.

:pig:
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=15139

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:55 am

Animals practicing meditation, prayer, other religious practices? No, definitely not.

However, there are several reports and videos of animal altruism. There are also cases of animals killing (murdering?) members of their own species in fights over territory, competition, etc. So it seems they could produce some wholesome and unwholesome kamma.

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Spiny Norman
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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:57 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Animals practicing meditation...


What about cats? ;)
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Aloka
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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby Aloka » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:29 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:Animals practicing meditation...


What about cats? ;)




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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby plwk » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:06 pm

Animals practicing meditation...


What about cats? ;)
See here
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:09 pm

My cat regularly goes to the formless jhanas, especially the sphere of nothingness.

Seriously though, yes animals have some great concentration. It is amazing how they can pinpoint their prey and capture them with great skill. However, this is not samma-samadhi, it is rather wrong-samadhi. It is a great concentration, but not a wholesome one, not meant for seeing annica, anatta, dukha.

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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:07 pm

Ben wrote:I think what is more likely is that we are seeing what we want to see.


I agree, but don't let that stop you...

This is an article of how someone viewed Jasper the moon bear:

"Animals Can Be Ambassadors For Forgiveness, Generosity, Peace, Trust, and Hope."

:anjali:

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Kusala
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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

Postby Kusala » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:11 am

greggorious wrote:Nothing more to add to my title. Can animals be spiritual?


Of course! :namaste:

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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.


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