Insect karma

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ydnan321
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Insect karma

Post by ydnan321 » Thu May 02, 2019 7:29 am

Hello,

I’ve heard that from a sutra, the Buddha pointed at an ant and said that it had taken rebirth continuously as an ant in the same place where the past 6 Buddhas had resided. That is infinitely long.... I’ve heard stories where animals obtained human or even heaven rebirth upon hearing the Buddha’s preaching or come in contact with Buddha’s holy objects... From the verbiage from this sutra http://www.buddhism.org/Sutras/2/Sutras44.htm “Should a person who upholds this Dharani wash his hands and drip water from his hands to the ground, even the ants and insects touched by the water would be reborn in heaven.” Why has this ant that had been residing in the same place with the past 7 Buddhas was then not able to escape its ant rebirth? Also, does this apply to all ants/insects, i.e. once you become an ant, you’ll be trapped an ant for infinite aeon? Or is it only for this specific ant with a very, very heavy karma?

Thank you.

YN

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Astus
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Re: Insect karma

Post by Astus » Thu May 02, 2019 8:15 am

ydnan321 wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 7:29 am
I’ve heard that from a sutra
Any concrete title?
the Buddha pointed at an ant and said that it had taken rebirth continuously as an ant in the same place where the past 6 Buddhas had resided. That is infinitely long... I’ve heard stories where animals obtained human or even heaven rebirth upon hearing the Buddha’s preaching or come in contact with Buddha’s holy objects...
There are implicit (neyartha) and explicit (nitartha) teachings. Stories, especially those that involve animals, are likely to be like the fables of Aesop, not doctrinal statements.
Why has this ant that had been residing in the same place with the past 7 Buddhas was then not able to escape its ant rebirth?
It'd be good to first know the whole story before one starts weaving further thoughts around it.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Aemilius
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Re: Insect karma

Post by Aemilius » Thu May 02, 2019 9:23 am

ydnan321 wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 7:29 am
Hello,

I’ve heard that from a sutra, the Buddha pointed at an ant and said that it had taken rebirth continuously as an ant in the same place where the past 6 Buddhas had resided. That is infinitely long.... I’ve heard stories where animals obtained human or even heaven rebirth upon hearing the Buddha’s preaching or come in contact with Buddha’s holy objects... From the verbiage from this sutra http://www.buddhism.org/Sutras/2/Sutras44.htm “Should a person who upholds this Dharani wash his hands and drip water from his hands to the ground, even the ants and insects touched by the water would be reborn in heaven.” Why has this ant that had been residing in the same place with the past 7 Buddhas was then not able to escape its ant rebirth? Also, does this apply to all ants/insects, i.e. once you become an ant, you’ll be trapped an ant for infinite aeon? Or is it only for this specific ant with a very, very heavy karma?

Thank you.

YN
Taken fron the ant's perspective you have been trapped into a human rebirth and you even consider it something desirable. If you start studying the ants you'll realize that they have many similarities with humans. It is not the size of the body that makes one conscious or aware, this has been said by a teacher that I knew. There are much larger beings in the buddhist universe than the humans, and there are also beings that are much smaller, very much smaller. There is the pressure and success of the modern civilisation that makes people doubt the knowledge of the buddhist sutras and oral teachings and commentaries about rebirth and the structure of the universe.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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seeker242
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Re: Insect karma

Post by seeker242 » Thu May 02, 2019 12:52 pm

I don't believe this description is meant to be taken literally. :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

ydnan321
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Re: Insect karma

Post by ydnan321 » Thu May 02, 2019 2:24 pm

Hello all,

I was reading it in Vietnamese, though was able to find an English version of this here http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp03 ... oolish.pdf page 51 (pdf page 48)
"Then Sariputra said to Sudatta, "In the past, during the time of Vipasyin Buddha, you also raised a monastery in this place for that World Honored and this ant was living here. During the time of Sikhin Buddha, you also constructed a monastery for that Buddha in this place and this ant was also living here. During the time of Visbabhu Buddha, you also raised a monastery for the World Honored on this land and this ant was also living here. During the time of Krakucchanda Buddha, you also raised a monastery for the World Honored on this land and this ant was also living here. During the time of Kanakamuni Buddha, you also raised a monastery for the World Honored on this land and this ant was also living here. During the time of Kasyapa Buddha,you also raised a monastery for the Buddha on the land and this ant was also living here. Up until today, through 91 kalpas,137 it kept receiving the same body and did not attain release.”

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KathyLauren
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Re: Insect karma

Post by KathyLauren » Thu May 02, 2019 3:32 pm

The conclusion is:
The cycle of death and rebirth is long -- only blessings are essential. One must plant their seeds
That is the point of the passsage. Not that a beings will spend an infinitely long time in the same rebirth, just that it is a long time, and that the seeds of blessings are required to move on.

In other words, don't expect progress to happen overnight. Plant your seeds and then wait for them to ripen.

Om mani padme hum
Kathy

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Re: Insect karma

Post by pemachophel » Thu May 02, 2019 3:59 pm

Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen once oppined that, once an animal, it is almost impossible to make the merit necessary for escape the animal realm. He said that, therefore, He had special compassion for animals.

Just FYI.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Insect karma

Post by 明安 Myoan » Thu May 02, 2019 4:30 pm

Some teachings from Lama Zopa Rinpoche on benefiting animals and insects.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

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Re: Insect karma

Post by pemachophel » Thu May 02, 2019 7:40 pm

I'd like to thank the OP for starting this thread. At lunchtime, I put some dud-tsi cho-men, some long life pills, and some other blessed pills along with a little sugar and water in a water bottle. While I took my lunchtime walk, I spritzed all the ant mounds I came across. How wonderful the Buddhdharma and how easy to accumulate eons-worth of merit through its skillful means! As we say in English, "Where there's a will, there's a way."

So now I guess I'll always be walking with this water bottle. My neighbors are gonna think I've become really thirsty.

For the sake of all sentient beings, Bodhi Svaha!
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Insect karma

Post by 明安 Myoan » Thu May 02, 2019 8:42 pm

:twothumbsup:
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

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SunWuKong
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Re: Insect karma

Post by SunWuKong » Thu May 02, 2019 10:02 pm

.this...
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"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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Aemilius
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Re: Insect karma

Post by Aemilius » Fri May 03, 2019 8:51 am

svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Insect karma

Post by 明安 Myoan » Fri May 03, 2019 6:15 pm

I can share some of what I enjoy doing, if it can help people think about beings in animal form.
I'm fairly isolated socially, but animals and insects are everywhere. You could go to the bottom of the ocean and find a tubeworm.

We have a lot of spiders in our house. This time of year, I see translucent green ones, newly hatched.
I have "om mani peme hung" on a lotus printed on paper, then laminated (laminators are cheap and a way to protect sacred symbols).
Make sure the mani lotus is towards the spider, so she can see/touch it. These things increase, and you might be pushing the first domino for this being.
You do have to be careful with spiders because their feet are so small, you don't want to pinch them with the card.
Sometimes, they'll drop down as a defense mechanism, so I keep the cup angled to catch them.
Sometimes, they need some encouragement. They respond to movement, or to a very light touch with the glass.
I have a prayer wheel I found on Amazon attached to my wall, so I spin it and touch the glass to it. Sometimes we bow to a Chenrezig poster. Now the spider is free from lower birth. Yay :smile:

They can go to an unused part of your house/attic/basement, or near an open window, or outside somewhere sheltered.
Their escape rope can stay stuck when you dump them out, so use the card to cut it before lifting the cup too high. I've sent a few on a wild ride before.

For other things, FPMT has some great resources in their store, some for free. After learning more about craft nirmanakaya, I see them in a new light. This Namgyalma Mantra is easy to print and put where animals can see it. Here is a brief explanation of its benefits. I shared some of my experience with this mantra in this thread. Lama Zopa says you can bless a mountain or a park with it.
I printed a small one for my pocket. You can't typically touch animals with it, but you can hold it up discreetly and make a sound so they look at you. If you have a buddha of preference, print that :smile: I made a little Amitabha too. Some shiny tape around the border can be attractive and eye-catching.

The benefits of "om mani peme hung" are enjoyed by animals as well. It's easy to make a positive aspiration, say "om mani peme hung," and blow gently on an insect you see outside.
I took a few rocks from my yard, cleaned them, then used white acrylic to paint/scrawl "om mani peme hung". On a small stone you could do just the HRI. Lama Zopa says to make sure you don't walk over or step on these holy objects, no matter if you made them yourself. Don't forget where they are :smile:

It seemed like a good idea so I oriented the stones southward, so you're facing south to read the mani. South is the direction of Chenrezig's land, the Potala, said to be the buddha-land closest to our realm.

The Medicine Buddha mantras are always a good bet for animals. Some teachings from Lama Zopa.

Hmm what else. If you toss bread or birdseed or feed hummingbirds or fill a birdbath, then you can bless it with any mantra, but especially "om mani peme hung" and/or the Medicine Buddha's mantra, because of the nature of those buddhas' vows. The food or water also gains the meaning of your bodhicitta, and you have a causal connection to these beings so you can help them attain buddhahood once you're awakened yourself.

If you have pets (or other people!), you can put this card with mantras purifying the cause of samsaric rebirth above any doorway. Then every time your dog or cat walks under it, they're purified, and you can feel mudita for them. Very inexpensive.

I guess that's all. Craft nirmanakaya and mantras are medicine for everyone, especially animal beings.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

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Re: Insect karma

Post by haha » Sat May 04, 2019 1:35 am

ydnan321 wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 7:29 am
Thank you for the provided link.

The karma, which is regarded as good in one state of mind, would be regarded as bad in another state of mind. So…………


Here is Chiggala Sutta: The Hole SN 56.48


From Gampopa, Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche(trans), The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, Snow Lion
Suppose that this whole earth were an ocean and a person threw in a yoke that had only one hole. The yoke would float back and forth in all the four directions. Underneath that ocean, there is a blind tortoise who lives for many thousands of years but who comes up above the surface once every hundred years. It would be very difficult for the tortoise's head to meet with the yoke's hole; still, it is possible. To be born in a precious human life is much more difficult.

What kind of being has difficulty finding a precious human life? Beings who are born in the three lower realms have difficulty being born as humans.

Why is a precious human life difficult to find? This body of leisure and endowments is gained through the accumulation of virtuous deeds, and those who are born in the three lower realms do not know how to accumulate virtue. Rather, they constantly commit evil deeds. Therefore, only those born in the three lower realms with a very small amount of negative karma, and whose karma could ripen in another lifetime, are the ones who have an opportunity to be born in a human life.
Even though they accumulate merits, but it is hard to direct their consciousness to higher (re)birth at the time of their death. They don't know how to do that and waiting to happen naturally is unpredictable like the tortoise's head.

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Re: Insect karma

Post by Aemilius » Sat May 04, 2019 9:17 am

"There is not even a very slight subtle difference between samsara and nirvana ", Nagarjuna in MulaMadhyamaka Karika.
Do we have actual, first hand or second hand, knowledge concerning how ants and/or other insects perceive and experience the world?
There are some shamans who have spoken about the worlds of certain insects, according to their own experience. But not many Buddhist meditators who have gained direct knowledge about it, or they have mostly kept quiet about it.
I get the impression that ants do not consider humans to have consciousness. In their view humans are natural phenomena, that are mostly predictable, or unpredictable. Ants' thoughts are often sophisticated and complex, the normal human expressions seem straightforward and crude, in comparison.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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SunWuKong
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Re: Insect karma

Post by SunWuKong » Sat May 04, 2019 4:45 pm

There's even an animal that could travel in deep space unharmed, maybe to colonize the galaxies?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tardigrade
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

Simon E.
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Re: Insect karma

Post by Simon E. » Sat May 04, 2019 5:00 pm

Well, one thing's for sure. The world is in no immediate danger of a prapanca shortage. :D
“ When the demon is at your door, in the morning it won’t be there no more
Any major dude will tell you”.

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Vasana
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Re: Insect karma

Post by Vasana » Sat May 04, 2019 5:01 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 9:17 am
"There is not even a very slight subtle difference between samsara and nirvana ", Nagarjuna in MulaMadhyamaka Karika.
For realized beings and those further on the path, yes.
Aemilius wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 9:17 am
[...]Ants' thoughts are often sophisticated and complex, the normal human expressions seem straightforward and crude, in comparison.
Sophisticated and complex yes but also more chemically calculated and mechanical? (Not a bad thing but to compare the perceptual process of an ant to a human reminds me of when Einstein said you shouldn't judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree...)

Image

The main thing is that animals do not have the leisure or opportunity to develop the path or understand the teachings. Only a handful of animals have passed the self awareness test and even this doesn't qualify them.

I write this as I think more about getting a snack instead of practcing. Now who's more sophisticated than an animal ? :popcorn: :pig:
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

ydnan321
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Re: Insect karma

Post by ydnan321 » Sat May 04, 2019 8:30 pm

Sorry, I've been troubled by this and guess my original question has not been addressed. I would've thought a Buddha himself would definitely be more beneficial than the dharani that he taught or any Stupas. Yet, the Buddha-Crown Superb Victory Dharani states that “Should a person who upholds this Dharani wash his hands and drip water from his hands to the ground, even the ants and insects touched by the water would be reborn in heaven” or accounts from Lama Zopa Rinpoche's article, many insects and other animals were able to escape their animal forms. That is, there seems to be those that easily escape from just a dharani or stupas, yet there are those being trapped even having been near 7 actual Buddhas. Then, what would be the reason for such contradiction? If anyone cares to explain...

Thanks,

YN

Simon E.
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Re: Insect karma

Post by Simon E. » Sat May 04, 2019 8:54 pm

I think you have already had an explanation that makes most sense to me..this is poetic language, metaphor.
The equivalent of Creation Myths. Not to be taken literally as a description of historical fact.
“ When the demon is at your door, in the morning it won’t be there no more
Any major dude will tell you”.

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