What is unique in human compare to animal?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom
SarathW
Posts: 2745
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby SarathW » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:05 am

Scientists now believe that, we evolved and our closest relative Chimpanzee also possess 99% of human genes. This 1% has made a quantum change to human. So what is the real difference between animals and human?

User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
Posts: 8292
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:12 am

The capacity to learn and practice the Dhamma.

That's it. The rest is the same; eating, sleeping, sex/seeking pleasure. Moral of the point: practice Dhamma (or some form of spiritual development) or you are no better than an animal.

SarathW
Posts: 2745
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby SarathW » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:24 am

:clap:

User avatar
Jason
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:09 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Earth
Contact:

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby Jason » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:58 am

SarathW wrote:Scientists now believe that, we evolved and our closest relative Chimpanzee also possess 99% of human genes. This 1% has made a quantum change to human. So what is the real difference between animals and human?


Well, from a biological point of view, we are animals. But the animal kingdom is extremely variegated, and humans differ from other animals in a variety of ways, one of them being our ability to produce things, especially our means of subsistence (this is actually what Marx thought set us apart from other animals, so it's not really a Buddhist teaching). And, of course, there's our levels of culture and communication, which is another difference.

From the Buddhist point of view, however, humans are in their own realm or category primarily due to their more developed mental faculties. In fact, that's precisely the definition of the Pali term denoting humans, manussa, which means 'those who have an uplifted or developed mind' (mano ussannam etesam).

Psychologically speaking, human beings don't seem to be as constrained by instinct as animals appear to be, which is one of the reasons I think the animal realm is often associated with lower levels of intelligence and self-awareness, as well as rudimentary faculties of volition that don't seem to be as open to being actively developed as ours appear to be. In Theravada, for example, it's held by those who take the teachings on rebirth literally that animals aren't capable of the same level of intention (cetana); as such, they're unable to practice the Dhamma and therefore they must wait until they take rebirth as a more mentally evolved being (e.g., human, deva, etc.).

That said, I personally think that animals can experience the type of 'periodic nibbanas' described by Ajahn Buddhadasa in Nibbana For Everyone, but I'm not sure they have the capacity to achieve the same level of liberation and freedom from suffering that lies at the end of the eightfold path. And even if they do, I doubt we'd ever know it.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

leaves in the hand (Buddhist-related blog)
leaves in the forest (non-Buddhist related blog)

SarathW
Posts: 2745
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby SarathW » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:51 am

Hi Jason
In regard to making tools and cultural development, I see some animals are better than human! For example I have seen termite houses, higher than six meters. This is amazing in comparison to the size of the termite. I haven’t seen any animal massacre their own kind like human.
In regard to mental development, I may agree with you. I agree that we all are in a separate stage of development. I haven’t attained Arahantship yet. Am I a human or an animal? Buddha is called a super human. I think human is the only animal have the potential to attain Nirvana.

User avatar
Jason
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:09 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Earth
Contact:

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby Jason » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:18 am

SarathW wrote:In regard to making tools and cultural development, I see some animals are better than human! For example I have seen termite houses, higher than six meters. This is amazing in comparison to the size of the termite. I haven’t seen any animal massacre their own kind like human.


Sure, termite mounds can be pretty impressive; but skyscrapers and international spaces stations aren't anything to shake a stick at, either. Not too many termite astronauts orbiting the Earth. ;)

As for the rest, we do have a knack for killing our own kind, not to mention every other kind, but animals do their fair share of killing just as we do our fair share of showing love and compassion. I'm not saying that we're necessarily better than other species, just illustrating some of the things that make our species distinct from all the others.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

leaves in the hand (Buddhist-related blog)
leaves in the forest (non-Buddhist related blog)

SarathW
Posts: 2745
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby SarathW » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:04 am

What about ducks flying over Himalayas even before we invent the aeroplane. ;)

By the way I like your location “earth”. it is very enlightening.
My dream is to see that we all live in this earth as one happy family. (including animals)

User avatar
Jason
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:09 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Earth
Contact:

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby Jason » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:06 am

SarathW wrote:My dream is to see that we all live in this earth as one happy family. (including animals)


I'd like to see that, too.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

leaves in the hand (Buddhist-related blog)
leaves in the forest (non-Buddhist related blog)

pegembara
Posts: 680
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby pegembara » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:27 am

Humans are not as strong as an elephant, not as fast as a deer, cannot fly like a bird, can't swim like dolphins, can't hear like dogs, can't see in the dark like bats, cannot defend themselves like tigers, can't even survive in the wild without clothing/shelter.

It is the ability to use our intelligence and tools/inventions that set humans apart from other animals. The human mind creates - cars, planes, computers, TV, microphones, submarines, ultrasound, radio, cellphones, satellites. Not to mention art, music, philosophy, nations etc.

I would say it is the human mind and body (eg. ability for fine digital manipulation) that makes human unique.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

pegembara
Posts: 680
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby pegembara » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:27 am

Humans are not as strong as an elephant, not as fast as a deer, cannot fly like a bird, can't swim like dolphins, can't hear like dogs, can't see in the dark like bats, cannot defend themselves like tigers, can't even survive in the wild without clothing/shelter.

It is the ability to use our intelligence and tools/inventions that set humans apart from other animals. The human mind creates - cars, planes, computers, TV, microphones, submarines, ultrasound, radio, cellphones, satellites. Not to mention art, music, philosophy, nations etc.

I would say it is the human mind and body (eg. ability for fine digital manipulation) that makes human unique.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

SarathW
Posts: 2745
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby SarathW » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:50 am

Hi Pegembra :smile:
Another 10 years time all those magic inventions will be obsolete!
PS: I am not predicting the end of the world

User avatar
Dan74
Posts: 2713
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby Dan74 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:24 am

Narratives, acute self-awareness, writing and literature, sophisticated culture, science and technology...
_/|\_

User avatar
DAWN
Posts: 801
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:22 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby DAWN » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:37 am

And what is the condition to developement of intelegence?
Thumb. :twothumbsup:

Some have fins, some have wings, peoples have thumb. It's the only super-skill that have homosapiens - thumb.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english

plwk
Posts: 1170
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:14 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Contact:

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby plwk » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:51 am

What is unique in human compare to animal?
At the moment, a chimp hasn't the literal ability to register on Dhamma Wheel and create a 160 paged thread but of course, the gorillas will contest that metaphorically speaking, humans are not humans all the time literally because at times they are metaphorically chimps too but according to the gibbons, they have direct vision and knowledge that chimps are better humans at times literally but the humans are insisting that the gorillas and gibbons are wrong on that and only they are right... and meanwhile the chimps watches on...

Image
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.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
VSM VMM WBB TBHT WTBT My Page

User avatar
lyndon taylor
Posts: 966
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA
Contact:

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:47 am

I think Humans have a unique and overwhelming tendency to think they are much smarter than they really are, when in fact they are destroying the planet, killing each other, and treating one another like shxt. And now they have the nerve to try and say this is what makes them better than animals, when they really should be studying animals to see how much wisdom they can learn from them. For instance the idea that animals cannot practice Dhamma, complete rubbish. Its humans that can't practice or understand Dhamma, it seems to come quite naturally to many animals.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

Sanjay PS
Posts: 311
Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:26 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby Sanjay PS » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:34 am

lyndon taylor wrote:I think Humans have a unique and overwhelming tendency to think they are much smarter than they really are, when in fact they are destroying the planet, killing each other, and treating one another like shxt. And now they have the nerve to try and say this is what makes them better than animals, when they really should be studying animals to see how much wisdom they can learn from them. For instance the idea that animals cannot practice Dhamma, complete rubbish. Its humans that can't practice or understand Dhamma, it seems to come quite naturally to many animals.



i am completely and 100 percent on what you have quoted , we think of ourselves as too good for our own good , thus limiting us acutely from learning so much more that life mirrors ( dukkha :smile: ) However , objectively , animals do not have the faculty of awareness of contemplating , annica , dukkha , annata . This by no means diminishes our love and respect for all beings . It only keeps increasing , which i am sure , you know better than me :smile:

As the saying goes , Man has learnt to fly like a bird , swim like a fish , but has yet to walk like a man !

sanjay
The Path of Dhamma

The path of Dhamma is no picnic . It is a strenuous march steeply up the hill . If all the comrades desert you , Walk alone ! Walk alone ! with all the Thrill !!

U S.N. Goenka

binocular
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby binocular » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:50 am

SarathW wrote:In regard to making tools and cultural development, I see some animals are better than human!

With the emphasis on "some" ...

I haven’t seen any animal massacre their own kind like human.

Then brace yourself for things like intrauterine cannibalism ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannibalism_(zoology)


plwk wrote:
What is unique in human compare to animal?
At the moment, a chimp hasn't the literal ability to register on Dhamma Wheel and create a 160 paged thread but of course, the gorillas will contest that metaphorically speaking, humans are not humans all the time literally because at times they are metaphorically chimps too but according to the gibbons, they have direct vision and knowledge that chimps are better humans at times literally but the humans are insisting that the gorillas and gibbons are wrong on that and only they are right... and meanwhile the chimps watches on...

Ha!

User avatar
appicchato
Posts: 1603
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby appicchato » Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:31 pm

In a nutshell...choice...
Last edited by appicchato on Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

chownah
Posts: 3021
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby chownah » Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:36 pm

Clothes.
Guccinah

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 4532
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:43 pm

The question isn't well-formed: it is the same sort of question as "what is unique about green compared to color?"
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]


Return to “Theravāda for the modern world”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests