Do animals meditate?

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Do animals meditate?

Postby Individual » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:10 am

I'm training my dog to not pull on the leash. She has an obsession with sniffing every smell she finds, apparently scavenging for food (even though we feed her enough). Well, when she pulls, sometimes I just pull her back, tell her to sit, and not move. I hold the leash tight, so that she really can't do anything other than just sit there. When I do this, she quivers and has a look of anxiety and craving on her face, like she desperately just wants to obsessively and neurotically chase after the smells on the ground she follows... Sometimes, though, she seems to actually be putting forth effort to calm down, relax, and let go.

Also, she comes to me when she wants to go out. But I often make her wait. When she has to wait, she just lays down nearby and sits there, staring blankly or sleeping. I have a poster of a woman on my own wall... The other day, I saw her looking at it, and I looked over at her, thinking, "What the heck is she looking at that for?"

The traditional idea that animals are reborn as humans just by waiting for their karma to be exhausted just doesn't sit right with me. I mean, why should it apply to the woeful realms, but not the human realms also? I can't just sit in these human realms and "wait for my karma to be exhausted." I am reborn in higher realms through mindfulness and right action, and can actually fall into lower realms through a lack of mindfulness. Could this not hold true for beings in other realms? Don't animals put forth effort and concentration, in their own limited way?

An animal that is well-trained benefits psychologically. And I think that, for instance, a dog that is well-disciplined and well-loved will likely have a different rebirth than a wild dog. Am I wrong?
The best things in life aren't things.


User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4655
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:13 am

I dont think that animals could meditate as it does need a certain level of self-awareness, something which animals do lack in a full sense as they are driven by instincts alone.
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
Ngawang Drolma.
Posts: 805
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:38 pm

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:26 am



davcuts
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:03 am
Location: Asheville, North Carolina

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby davcuts » Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:20 am


User avatar
Ngawang Drolma.
Posts: 805
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:38 pm

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:12 am

Thank you Dave :namaste:


User avatar
bodom
Posts: 5713
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby bodom » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:12 pm

A favorite method of communicating is the cat's purr, which is unique to the feline species. You may already know that a cat purrs when he's content. Animal behaviorists now believe that they also purr when they are in the mood to be sociable.

However, if you pay close attention to your cat, you'll notice that he also purrs when he's nervous, feeling a little uneasy or even if he's in great pain. Some experts think it's a feline form of "meditation" and that this action comforts them. If this theory is at all correct, the "purring" sound of the feline is the equivalent of our "Ohm" when we meditate.

http://www.articlesbase.com/pets-articl ... 57327.html

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

sunfowerggs
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:43 am

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby sunfowerggs » Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:45 am

This is an interesting discussion. thank you for sharing :juggling:

- Pret personnel en ligne et de comparer les meilleurs taux afin de... La demande de prêt personnelen ligne

User avatar
Vardali
Posts: 150
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:56 am

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby Vardali » Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:37 pm

I don't know if animals can meditate, but I do firmly believe that the capacities of animals to act purposefully (instead of being purely instinct-driven) are wildly underestimated.

I don't know about dogs but I am sharing my household with a few cats - and their actions and characters are very different; some of them are real sunshine kitties who are always happy, positive and friendly; others are anxious, nervous and neurotic. Their frame of reference will certainly differ from our human perspective, but they have their own rules, preferences and developments to go by. And there are some that are real little "angels" and I find it hard to imagine that they might not have a chance to gain merit/positive rebirth.

I am trying to expose them to my Buddhst practise, playing chants etc. for them just in case they might benefit. And funny, when I am going into a guided meditation session and a cat is lying on my legs etc. they seem to relax as well ;)

Anyway, I think that - culturally speaking - animals are really underestimated in their (self-)consciousness, so I hope they will be able to move towards enlightenment one way or the other :)

:namaste:

User avatar
Annapurna
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby Annapurna » Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:32 pm

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Annapurna
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby Annapurna » Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:36 pm

Attachments
thankyoucat.jpg
thankyoucat.jpg (27.78 KiB) Viewed 3955 times
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
Posts: 10651
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:14 pm

There was a similar discussion to this over at e-sangha a few years back and Bhante Dhammanando was not on vassa at the time, so there were some great quotes and information from him.

He mentioned some quotes where the Buddha had some communication with some animals (elephants and others) in an apparent mind-to-mind communication where clearly the animals were obtaining some wholesome, good kamma.

I think there are plenty of other cases where animals can generate negative kamma. For example, male lions killing the cubs of a female so that she will mate with him to reproduce more or female lionesses killing cheetah cubs so that they don't grow big and become competition for game meat later in life.

In general, using common sense, most animals will exhaust kamma after so many lifetimes, but there are some at least subtle opportunities to generate good or bad kamma.

Over my lifetime so far, I have been owned by 8 different cats (not all at the same time) and currently have three cats that own me and order me around. And there is not any two who are alike in any way. Each has had their own personalities, good traits and bad traits. Some were friendlier than others, some nicer, etc. Two of the cats I have had were from the same litter and had the same "upbringing" yet they were completely different in every way.
Image




User avatar
BlackBird
Posts: 1925
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby BlackBird » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:56 am

Animals do not have the capacity to understand the Dhamma. It would naturally follow that they are incapable of meditation.

However I do think animals can act with purpose, let me relate a story.

We used to have 2 cats, Bobby was the Alpha male around the neighbourhood and we loved him dearly. When I was younger I would sit on the porch after school for a good 20 minutes, and wait for a taxi to pick me up and take me to my Mum's work. Bobby would come every day without fail, and sit with me. He didn't expect anything of me, and I didn't expect anything of him. Just two sentient beings enjoying each other's company. Never underestimate the power of animals to make humans happy and teach them compassion.

Bobby used to rush home from prowling his teritory to greet us because he knew the sound of our car. When I was coming home one night he was obviously rushing home to greet me and got hit by a car on the road adjacent to us.

We didn't know this had happened, but our other cat Paru, a quiet shy wee moggy who largely kept to herself - Was in a strange mood that night. For the first time in years she actually came up to my Mum and started meowing at her, and came and sat on her knee. She was meowing quite a lot that night, for a cat who never meowed before. So when we found Bobby dead on the road side it all seemed to add up. My Mum was grieving pretty hard, and I was no different. But this wee cat Paru, stuck by us, and kept us company. Rubbing up between our legs and looking at us with big comforting eyes... If ever you could see compassion in a cat's eyes, this was it.

It was a beautiful moment, and one that served the shy wee cat a lot of merit - I believe, or well I hope it did anyway. She had a good heart.

Some animals have a lot of good merit stored up in there, a lot of good traits which are still easy to see if one pays attention.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." -

kannada
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:35 am

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby kannada » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:00 am

Animals don't need to meditate - We do...
Just a view - nothing more...

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 17855
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:30 am

Attachments
penny.jpg
Clever boy - stupid dog
penny.jpg (11.09 KiB) Viewed 3923 times
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

kannada
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:35 am

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby kannada » Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:27 am

Hi Retro,

Thanks for the photo. If Penny were living among her own kind, in her own natural environment, and raised by her own species, she would have developed keen intelligence. The problem arises when one species attempts to raise another, the obvious shortcomings occur. In her own enviornment Penny would have to develop a keen understanding of cause and effect as one transgression may well mean death...

Regards

k
Just a view - nothing more...

User avatar
Annapurna
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby Annapurna » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:46 am

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Rhino
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:09 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby Rhino » Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:10 pm

With best wishes

Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha's Teaching.

User avatar
genkaku
Posts: 416
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:14 pm
Location: Northampton, Mass. U.S.A.
Contact:

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby genkaku » Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:50 pm

My very-poorly informed and largely uninterested understanding of Buddhist approaches to animals (other than human beings) is like some of what has been expressed above: Since animals other than human beings lack self-awareness or self-consciousness, they also lack the capacity to meditate, by any usual defined understanding of that word.

Whether this is better or worse, higher or lower, karma-linked or not, I haven't got a clue, but I do admire the straightforwardness and acts of what human animals might call kindness in our four-legged, winged and finned friends.
Smile just one smile




User avatar
Dhammabodhi
Posts: 275
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 12:25 pm
Location: New Delhi, India

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby Dhammabodhi » Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:50 pm

I don't know whether animals meditate or not, but this big cat earned a lot of merit I'm sure.
"Take rest, take rest."-S.N.Goenka

User avatar
Dhammakid
Posts: 375
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:09 am
Location: Santa Fe, NM USA
Contact:

Re: Do animals meditate?

Postby Dhammakid » Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:17 am

- Facebook Group

Email: [email protected].


Return to “Discovering Theravāda”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine