Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Sam Vara
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Sam Vara »

Bundokji wrote:If i may provide an example of how the precepts are not moral absolutism, i just remembered the way the Buddha insulted Devadatta when he asked him to govern the Sangha for a third time:
“I would not hand over the Sangha of monks even to Shariputra and Maudgalyayana. How should I do so to such a wastrel, a clot of spittle, as you?”
Does that sound like a right speech to anyone?

Peace
Sounding like something to someone is not the issue here. It is whether there is the intention to lie. So in this case, I think not.

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Mr Man
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Mr Man »

tiltbillings wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:
Bundokji wrote:However, the Dhamma is universal, hence I agree with tilt when he said in a previous post that the Dhamma is not "moral absolutism".
I disagree. Inasmuch as the Buddha states his moral pronouncements and exhortations to be made ekaṃsena, "absolutely", "definitively", "without qualification", "unequivocally", the Dhamma is certainly a species of moral absolutism.


  • Then the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to him:

    “I say definitively (ekaṃsena), Ānanda, that deeds of bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, and mental misconduct are not to be done.”
There certainly is not a problem with the bolded statement, but there might be a problem with stating that any particular action has at its base an absolute, unvarying nature.
I think there can be a problem with the breaking down of an action into it's component parts and also not accounting for intensity in the different aspects of the action. I think it could give a skewed view that lacks compassion or lead to view that we understand what is actually beyond our level of understanding.

Evan if there was a kind of moral absolutism in the working of karma, which I don't think there is, it wouldn't be something that we'd be able to get our heads around so trying to work from that position would be futile.

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Bundokji
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Bundokji »

Dhammanando wrote:I disagree. Inasmuch as the Buddha states his moral pronouncements and exhortations to be made ekaṃsena, "absolutely", "definitively", "without qualification", "unequivocally", the Dhamma is certainly a species of moral absolutism.
Thanks Bhant for your answer. I dont see the examples you provided necessarily mean that the Dhamma is "a species of moral absolutes", why not interpret it in the light of the Abhayarājakumāra Sutta which you provided:
in the same way, prince, when wise nobles or brahmans, householders or contemplatives, having formulated questions, come to the Tathagata and ask him, he comes up with the answer on the spot. Why is that? Because the property of the Dhamma is thoroughly penetrated by the Tathagata. From his thorough penetration of the property of the Dhamma, he comes up with the answer on the spot.
So, every answer the Buddha give depends on a certain context and on the audience, this is how i personally understand "comes with the answer on the spot". Also in the same sutta the Buddha said:
"Prince, there is no categorical yes-or-no answer to that."
However, right speech has been explained differently by the Buddha in different suttas, again, depending on the context and on the audience:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... amma-vaca/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If the Dhamma is a species of moral absolutes, there would not be different rules for monastics and lay people!

Even some rules imply the spirit of the Dhamma (which is far from absolute in my opinion) such as the rule for allowing monks to eat meat (which involves killing) if offered, so non clinging is more important that vegetarianism.

In addition, the Buddha allowed the Sangha to abolish minor rules after his passing, that does not sound like moral absolutism to me. In relation to the major rules, the Buddha has not shown the same flexibility because he knew that the harm of allowing such a thing would outweigh the good, not because they are universal laws!

Finally, this discussion reminds me of a Buddhist story that i read years ago:
Two Buddhist Monks were on a journey, one was a senior monk, the other a junior monk. During their journey they approached a raging river and on the river bank stood a young lady. She was clearly concerned about how she would get to the other side of the river without drowning.

The junior monk walked straight past her without giving it a thought and he crossed the river. The senior monk picked up the woman and carried her across the river. He placed her down, they parted ways with the woman and on they went with the journey.

As the journey went on, the senior monk could see some concern on the junior monk's mind, he asked what was wrong. The junior monk replied, "how could you carry her like that? You know we can't touch women, it's against our way of life". The senior monk answered, "I left the woman at the rivers edge a long way back, why are you still carrying her?"
Peace :anjali:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Bundokji
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Bundokji »

Sam Vara wrote:
Bundokji wrote:If i may provide an example of how the precepts are not moral absolutism, i just remembered the way the Buddha insulted Devadatta when he asked him to govern the Sangha for a third time:
“I would not hand over the Sangha of monks even to Shariputra and Maudgalyayana. How should I do so to such a wastrel, a clot of spittle, as you?”
Does that sound like a right speech to anyone?

Peace
Sounding like something to someone is not the issue here. It is whether there is the intention to lie. So in this case, I think not.
The issue here is not lying, its harsh speech:
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."
How would you feel if someone describes you as "wastrel, clot of spittle"!?

Now, calling this not harsh would be akin to some Muslims who are willing to justify every thing Muhammad did, no offense is meant. However, i totally agree with what the Buddha did with Devadatta even though it does not fit with the typical idea we have in our mind of what right speech is.

Peace :anjali:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Dhammanando »

Bundokji wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:I disagree. Inasmuch as the Buddha states his moral pronouncements and exhortations to be made ekaṃsena, "absolutely", "definitively", "without qualification", "unequivocally", the Dhamma is certainly a species of moral absolutism.
Thanks Bhant for your answer. I dont see the examples you provided necessarily mean that the Dhamma is "a species of moral absolutes",
It seems that we are working with different definitions of the term. Moral absolutism, as I understand it, is the position that at least some actions are intrinsically good or intrinsically bad, regardless of their consequences. In the Buddha's teachings the ten akusala kammapatha would be examples of intrinsically bad actions.

It's true that Buddhist sīla isn't entirely absolutist; for example, the laying down of the Vinaya rules was prompted as often as not by consequentialist considerations. However, to the extent that Buddhist ethics is concerned with kusala and akusala kamma it does assume an absolutist form: actions of body and speech by a non-arahant are always akusala when produced by a volition accompanied by greed, hate or delusion, and always kusala when produced by a volition rooted in non-greed, non-hate or non-delusion.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Dhammanando
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Dhammanando »

Bundokji wrote:How would you feel if someone describes you as "wastrel, clot of spittle"!?
How the listener feels is irrelevant to determining whether a speech-act is kusala, akusala or (in the case of arahants) kiriyā. The speaker's intention alone determines this.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Bundokji
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Bundokji »

Dhammanando wrote:It seems that we are working with different definitions of the term. Moral absolutism, as I understand it, is the position that at least some actions are intrinsically good or intrinsically bad, regardless of their consequences. In the Buddha's teachings the ten akusala kammapatha would be examples of intrinsically bad actions..
There could be some actions that are intrinsically good or bad, but i still think that a Buddhist should assess each case individually.

From my limited understanding, the truth taught by the Buddha is not a dead set of ideals in our memory, not something static. Understanding it this way is misunderstanding it in my opinion.

If killing is intrinsically wrong as you suggest, then a Buddhist should be able to see this in every individual case and act accordingly. We are still learning, and while we are trying to develop our wisdom and trust the law of nature and let go of what is false we might make mistakes, but that does not mean the solution is to believe that the precepts are moral absolutes because this would do more damage than good in my opinion. Unlike other doctrines, in Buddhism, learning never stops, but once i believe that certain actions are intrinsically wrong then i stopped learning.

I hope what i said makes any sense to you or to those who read it, and if you consider it a waste of your time, then i apologize.

Peace :anjali:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Sam Vara »

Bundokji wrote:
The issue here is not lying, its harsh speech:
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."
No, in terms of the precepts (as referred to in your point "If i may provide an example of how the precepts are not moral absolutism") the issue is musavada, which is lying or false speech. What you quote here are types of unskilful conduct, but not musavada.
The fourth precept reads: Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami, "I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech." False speech is defined as "the wrong volition with intent to deceive, occurring through the door of either body or speech, arousing the bodily or verbal effort of deceiving another."[9] The transgression must be understood as intentional. The precept is not violated merely by speaking what is false, but by speaking what is false with the intention of representing that as true; thus it is equivalent to lying or deceptive speech. The volition is said to arouse bodily or verbal action. The use of speech to deceive is obvious, but the body too can be used as an instrument of communication — as in writing, hand signals, and gestures — and thus can be used to deceive others.

Four factors enter into the offense of false speech: (1) an untrue state of affairs; (2) the intention of deceiving another; (3) the effort to express that, either verbally or bodily; and (4) the conveying of a false impression to another. Since intention is required, if one speaks falsely without aiming at deceiving another, as when one speaks what is false believing it to be true, there is no breach of the precept. Actual deception, however, is not needed for the precept to be broken. It is enough if the false impression is communicated to another. Even though he does not believe the false statement, if one expresses what is false to him and he understands what is being said, the transgression of speaking falsehood has been committed.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#prec2
How would you feel if someone describes you as "wastrel, clot of spittle"!?
I've been called far worse, and recovered quite well. If it were the Buddha describing me as such, I would hope that I could see it as an exceptionally salutory wake-up call.

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Bundokji »

Sam Vara wrote:
Bundokji wrote:
The issue here is not lying, its harsh speech:
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."
No, in terms of the precepts (as referred to in your point "If i may provide an example of how the precepts are not moral absolutism") the issue is musavada, which is lying or false speech. What you quote here are types of unskilful conduct, but not musavada.
The fourth precept reads: Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami, "I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech." False speech is defined as "the wrong volition with intent to deceive, occurring through the door of either body or speech, arousing the bodily or verbal effort of deceiving another."[9] The transgression must be understood as intentional. The precept is not violated merely by speaking what is false, but by speaking what is false with the intention of representing that as true; thus it is equivalent to lying or deceptive speech. The volition is said to arouse bodily or verbal action. The use of speech to deceive is obvious, but the body too can be used as an instrument of communication — as in writing, hand signals, and gestures — and thus can be used to deceive others.

Four factors enter into the offense of false speech: (1) an untrue state of affairs; (2) the intention of deceiving another; (3) the effort to express that, either verbally or bodily; and (4) the conveying of a false impression to another. Since intention is required, if one speaks falsely without aiming at deceiving another, as when one speaks what is false believing it to be true, there is no breach of the precept. Actual deception, however, is not needed for the precept to be broken. It is enough if the false impression is communicated to another. Even though he does not believe the false statement, if one expresses what is false to him and he understands what is being said, the transgression of speaking falsehood has been committed.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#prec2
How would you feel if someone describes you as "wastrel, clot of spittle"!?
I've been called far worse, and recovered quite well. If it were the Buddha describing me as such, I would hope that I could see it as an exceptionally salutory wake-up call.
Thanks for the correction Sam :anjali: i should have said "sila is not moral absolutism", but dont you think that the "right speech" is wider than the fourth precept (as it includes abstaining from lying among other things) so your point is technically right, but not sure if it makes ""wastrel, clot of spittle" right! :smile:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Sam Vara »

Bundokji wrote: Thanks for the correction Sam :anjali: i should have said "sila is not moral absolutism", but dont you think that the "right speech" is wider than the fourth precept (as it includes abstaining from lying among other things) so your point is technically right, but not sure if it makes ""wastrel, clot of spittle" right! :smile:
Yes, point taken. I am not beyond using similar terms myself, but if I were to use them it would almost involve an akusala motive. I wouldn't be right. But I can't say the same about anyone else, least of all the Buddha. Were I to think that he used it in an unskilful way, I would have no faith that anyone could permanently go beyond such things.

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by seeker242 »

Dhammanando wrote:
seeker242 wrote:So on one hand, you could say the intention is the same, a dead dog. On the other hand, one could say the dog lover does not really want the dog to die, they just want it to not be suffering so much.
1. There is a pre-volition (pubbacetanā) to help the ailing dog. This is kusala.
2. Then arises the thought that the dog can be helped only by ending its existence.
3. Then arises a volition (cetanā) to end its existence. This is akusala in that such a volition is perforce accompanied by vyāpāda.
4. Acting on this volition one instructs a vet to euthanize the dog.
5. The vet does as ordered, the dog dies, and the akusala kammapatha of intentional killing is completed.

The volition that leads one to give the instruction to the vet is what determines the action to be akusala.

The pre-volition that came before does not determine the moral character of the action (kusala or akusala) but only the moral degree (light or weighty). Why? Because the pre-volition did not give rise to the speaking of the instructions to the vet. It was the later volition that did this and so it was the later volition that determined the moral character of the action.
Thanks. :smile: Although, I can't see or comprehend how a dog lover can have any vyāpāda regarding their dog. They loved this dog their whole life and have nothing but love and compassion for the dog. That doesn't stop and change to ill will just because the dog got hit by a car.

Reading the definition of vyāpāda here. http://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/vy% ... index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; It says Vyāpāda means ill-will. It goes on to describe it as:

"Ill-will is another akusala dhamma which is one of the hindrances. When there is ill-will there is no loving-kindness, no compassion, no understanding of nama and rupa."

But the dog lover continues to have tons of loving kindness and compassion, which is the opposite of Vyāpāda, if I'm understanding the definition of Vyāpāda correctly. Is it even possible to have ill-will and love/compassion towards the same thing, at the same time? I used to work at a wildlife animal hospital. Some of the animals that were brought there were very badly injured, many of them hit by cars, and the vets would euthanize ones that were too badly injured. Watching that whole situation, I just didn't see any ill-will or malevolence anywhere in that whole situation. All I ever saw was love and compassion, the opposite of Vyāpāda. That has been my experience anyway.

:anjali:

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Dhammanando »

seeker242 wrote:...
The aversion-rooted consciousness that causes one to kill has as its object the life-faculty of another being.
The mental factors that arise with that consciousness also have that other being's life-faculty as their object.
One of those mental factors, dosa, aims at the destruction of that life-faculty.

So in the present context, the object of the killer’s dosa is not the dog but the life-faculty that the dog retains and which will mean suffering for the dog so long as he continues to retain it. The mental factor of dosa aims at the ending of that life-faculty.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by ihrjordan »

:goodpost:
Dhammanando wrote:
Bundokji wrote:However, the Dhamma is universal, hence I agree with tilt when he said in a previous post that the Dhamma is not "moral absolutism".
I disagree. Inasmuch as the Buddha states his moral pronouncements and exhortations to be made ekaṃsena, "absolutely", "definitively", "without qualification", "unequivocally", the Dhamma is certainly a species of moral absolutism.


  • Then the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to him:

    “I say definitively (ekaṃsena), Ānanda, that deeds of bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, and mental misconduct are not to be done.”

    “Since, Bhante, the Blessed One has declared definitively that deeds of bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, and mental misconduct are not to be done, what danger is to be expected in acting thus?”

    “Ānanda, I have declared definitively that deeds of bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, and mental misconduct are not to be done because in acting thus this danger is to be expected: one blames oneself; the wise, having investigated, censure one; a bad report circulates about one; one dies confused; and with the breakup of the body, after death, one is reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell. I have declared definitively that deeds of bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, and mental misconduct are not to be done because in acting thus this danger is to be expected.

    “I say definitively (ekaṃsena), Ānanda, that deeds of bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, and mental good conduct are to be done.”

    “Since, Bhante, the Blessed One has declared definitively that deeds of bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, and mental good conduct are to be done, what benefit is to be expected in acting thus?”

    “Ānanda, I have declared definitively that deeds of bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, and mental good conduct are to be done because in acting thus this benefit is to be expected: one does not blame oneself; the wise, having investigated, praise one; one acquires a good reputation; one dies unconfused; and with the breakup of the body, after death, one is reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world. I have declared definitively that deeds of bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, and mental good conduct are to be done because in acting thus this benefit is to be expected.”
    (A. ii. 57-8)

    ______________________________________________

    “What do you think, Dhānañjāni? Suppose someone here were to behave contrary to the Dhamma, to behave unrighteously for the sake of his parents, and then because of such behaviour the wardens of hell were to drag him off to hell. Would he be able [to free himself by pleading thus]: ‘It was for the sake of my parents that I behaved contrary to the Dhamma, that I behaved unrighteously, so let not the wardens of hell drag me off to hell’? Or would his parents be able to free him by pleading thus: ‘It was for our sake that he behaved contrary to the Dhamma, that he behaved unrighteously, so let not the wardens of hell [drag him off] to hell’?”

    “No, Master Sāriputta. Even while he was crying out, the wardens of hell would fling him into hell.”

    [repeat the same, replacing “for the sake of his parents” with “for the sake of his wife and children … slaves, servants, and workers … friends and companions … kinsmen and relatives … guests … departed ancestors … devas … king”]
    (Dhānañjāni Sutta, M. 97)

    ______________________________________________

    “Just as the great ocean is stable and does not overflow its boundaries, so too, when I have prescribed a training rule for my disciples, they will not transgress it even for life’s sake. This is the second astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it.”
    (Pahārāda Sutta, A. iv. 198)
:goodpost: :goodpost:

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by seeker242 »

Dhammanando wrote:
seeker242 wrote:...
The aversion-rooted consciousness that causes one to kill has as its object the life-faculty of another being.
The mental factors that arise with that consciousness also have that other being's life-faculty as their object.
One of those mental factors, dosa, aims at the destruction of that life-faculty.

So in the present context, the object of the killer’s dosa is not the dog but the life-faculty that the dog retains and which will mean suffering for the dog so long as he continues to retain it. The mental factor of dosa aims at the ending of that life-faculty.
Thanks again! :anjali:

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by tiltbillings »

Dhammanando wrote:
seeker242 wrote:...
The aversion-rooted consciousness that causes one to kill has as its object the life-faculty of another being.
The mental factors that arise with that consciousness also have that other being's life-faculty as their object.
One of those mental factors, dosa, aims at the destruction of that life-faculty.

So in the present context, the object of the killer’s dosa is not the dog but the life-faculty that the dog retains and which will mean suffering for the dog so long as he continues to retain it. The mental factor of dosa aims at the ending of that life-faculty.
What exactly is a "life-faculty" and how does one become aware/conscious of it?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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