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

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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"?

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Whatever an enemy might do to an enemy, or a foe to a foe, the ill-directed mind can do to you even worse.

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:
Lost to a world in which I crave no part,
I sit alone and listen to my heart,
Pleased with my little corner of the earth,
Glad that I came--not sorry to depart
Richard Le Gallienne

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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.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

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

"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?


phpBB [video]
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

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.

SarathW
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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? ;)
"I ride tandem with the random, Things don't run the way I planned them, In the humdrum."
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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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plwk
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Re: Can animals be spiritual?

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

Animals practicing meditation...


What about cats? ;)
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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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beeblebrox
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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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"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "


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