Pets and the Dharma

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
MindTheGap
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Pets and the Dharma

Post by MindTheGap »

So I'm curious about ways to share the dharma with your pets.

Specifically, I'm wondering if giving the water from offering bowls to your pets (I have two cats) is okay to do. :shrug: might be disrespectful, might help plant good karmic seeds for their future rebirth and keep them close to the dharma - I don't know. The instruction I've heard is to pour it out on a clean portion of ground or beneath a tree or offer it to houseplants. If that's okay, I don't see why giving it to pets to drink would be a bad thing.

But, in general, do any of you have ways in which you share the dharma with your pets?
And now, as long as space endures, As long as there are beings to be found,
May I continue, likewise, to remain, To drive away the sorrows of the world.

- Shantideva: Bodhicharyavatara

In this world there is no man, there is no woman. There is no person, self or consciousness.
Man and woman are merely imputed and have no essence. Thus, the minds of worldly beings are mistaken.

- Wisdom Moon: now known as the Bodhisattva Tara

When there arises a gap in the mind...

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illarraza
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by illarraza »

Hi! I teach my eclectus parrot Aurora, Namu Myoho renge kyo. I too give my animals [dogs and cats] my altar water. Lastly, I had a dog who was a Sensei and a Bodhisattva....

The late great Vodka Putt-Putt Sensei, the ghetto dog, was an exceptional dog. In his prime [youth], he was fearless though relatively small at 80 pounds. He never lost in a street tussle, not to a Doberman, Bully, Sheppard. or Pit. Many thought that Putt-Putt was half wolf and half Pit. Never however, was the other dog seriously injured. Once Putt-putt demonstrated his dominance, the other dog submitting on his back with Putt-Putt at his neck, he would let the other dog run away. At heart, Putt-Putt was a Bodhisattva. He too was a Buddhist god who afforded us undying devotion and protection from wild animals and bad intentioned humans. He died at fifteen in a manner fitting a Daimoku dog having heard millions of Namu myoho renge kyo's; in his sleep after a full day with lots of treats.

Illarraza
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

My cat likes to attack me (playfully, I guess lol) when I chant sonme manis.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Ayu
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by Ayu »

Saying "Om Ah Hung" (or another mantra) while feeding them gives some kind of blessing. The food is being changed to something positive, something that affects them positively.
The Indians call this kind of blessed food "prasad", and it is regarded as a methtod to share spiritual energy.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by Redfaery »

MindTheGap wrote:So I'm curious about ways to share the dharma with your pets.

Specifically, I'm wondering if giving the water from offering bowls to your pets (I have two cats) is okay to do. :shrug: might be disrespectful, might help plant good karmic seeds for their future rebirth and keep them close to the dharma - I don't know. The instruction I've heard is to pour it out on a clean portion of ground or beneath a tree or offer it to houseplants. If that's okay, I don't see why giving it to pets to drink would be a bad thing.

But, in general, do any of you have ways in which you share the dharma with your pets?
I give my two cats the altar-water as well. In fact, I think the booklet I have on waterbowl offerings specifically says it's OK. I might be (probably am) confused though. I see no difference in giving it to a cat and watering a plant with it. Both use the water for sustenance. However, if it's saffron water, I wouldn't give it to the cats, because the saffron might make them sick!
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Ayu
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by Ayu »

If it is not too much safron, I think it is even healthy for the cats. If they take it, it must be okay.

There is nothing disrespectful in giving offerings from the altar to people, animals and plants. If I have sweets on my altar, I give them to the children after a while. Also, if fruits from the altar get slushy, they can be given to the compost heap. The wasps will come and eat it all. I think, that is wonderful.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by MindTheGap »

That's great! :smile: Not only can I offer the water, I can bless the food too. I hadn't thought of that!

I don't use saffron water so that's not a concern.

Can't teach them mantras, though they do have a meow that sounds eerily like "Ooooom?" :D It usually means they want something or they're scared. Sometimes it precedes the coughing up of a hairball.

My cats like to use the litterbox very noisily while I meditate. SKRITCH... SKRITCH... SKRITCH... . They're just jealous that I'm not paying attention to them. :smile:

I'm familiar with prasad. :smile: I live in the southern United States - an area not renown for religious tolerance. I work with an Indian guy and one day I started asking him questions about Hinduism. At first, there was this look of bewilderment and shock on his face. At first he said, "Oh I don't believe in that shit..." But, when he realized I was truly interested and not spoiling to evangelize him, we talked about the Mahabharata and the Upanishads. I told him about a Holi festival I had attended when I was in school up in Cleveland, OH and how much I loved it, and he agreed it was a lot of fun.

A couple of weeks later, at lunch, he told me he and his wife had gone to temple in Nashville and offered me some prasad. He pulled out a box and told me to take some of what was left. I took a few of the sweeties, but when I took one and popped it in my mouth, his eyes got as big a saucers and he said, "Uh... Maybe not that one..." :jawdrop:

It wasn't sweet. It wasn't spicy. I'm not even going to describe what it tasted like.

I'd heard that some gurus in the Hindu tradition put, um... Certain substances? In pills meant for devotees. I don't know if that was what it was. It may have just been dirt but, if it was it was very nasty dirt. Maybe it was mud from the Ganges - I don't know. But, I choked it down with no ill effects.

"It's okay," I said. "I think... I think... Uh... I think I know what it was, and it's meant as a blessing..."

Pretty sure I didn't looked blessed.

Well, he couldn't contain himself, and we both had a good laugh over it. :tongue: :rolling:
And now, as long as space endures, As long as there are beings to be found,
May I continue, likewise, to remain, To drive away the sorrows of the world.

- Shantideva: Bodhicharyavatara

In this world there is no man, there is no woman. There is no person, self or consciousness.
Man and woman are merely imputed and have no essence. Thus, the minds of worldly beings are mistaken.

- Wisdom Moon: now known as the Bodhisattva Tara

When there arises a gap in the mind...

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MindTheGap
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by MindTheGap »

OH... and Vodka Putt-Putt Sensei? what a great name! I love it!
And now, as long as space endures, As long as there are beings to be found,
May I continue, likewise, to remain, To drive away the sorrows of the world.

- Shantideva: Bodhicharyavatara

In this world there is no man, there is no woman. There is no person, self or consciousness.
Man and woman are merely imputed and have no essence. Thus, the minds of worldly beings are mistaken.

- Wisdom Moon: now known as the Bodhisattva Tara

When there arises a gap in the mind...

Image
DGA
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by DGA »

Ayu wrote:Saying "Om Ah Hung" (or another mantra) while feeding them gives some kind of blessing. The food is being changed to something positive, something that affects them positively.
The Indians call this kind of blessed food "prasad", and it is regarded as a methtod to share spiritual energy.
I do this. I use other mantra, too. I do this to give all the animals in the dog & cat food (I have two dogs and two cats) a chance at liberation, to give the pets another connection to Dharma, and to give the dogs & cats a connection to the animals in their food that also has do to with Dharma. My idea is that this plants causes for all of them to meet under more virtuous circumstances later on.

Factory-made pet food has bits of many hundreds of different animals in it. It is my hope that this practice may efficiently connect to all those creatures who have suffered quite a lot lately and give them a hand up.
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Grigoris
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by Grigoris »

Me and Rudy doing our daily practices...
me and rudy.jpg
me and rudy.jpg (207.94 KiB) Viewed 2785 times
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MindTheGap
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by MindTheGap »

What a beautiful pic! That warms my heart :smile:
And now, as long as space endures, As long as there are beings to be found,
May I continue, likewise, to remain, To drive away the sorrows of the world.

- Shantideva: Bodhicharyavatara

In this world there is no man, there is no woman. There is no person, self or consciousness.
Man and woman are merely imputed and have no essence. Thus, the minds of worldly beings are mistaken.

- Wisdom Moon: now known as the Bodhisattva Tara

When there arises a gap in the mind...

Image
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

My cat drinks offering bowl water whether I want her to or not, heh.

Late at night is my practice time, it gets her very animated, after this is usually the time where she most wants to interact and play. I've always guessed there is some sort of blessing there.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
MindTheGap
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by MindTheGap »

@ DGA: The mantra "om abirake sara hum" is also beneficial for animals who died to become food. I can't be vegetarian for dietary issues (tried it once under the direction of a dietician and it almost killed me - has to do with blood types and certain amino acids) so, I use this mantra a lot.
And now, as long as space endures, As long as there are beings to be found,
May I continue, likewise, to remain, To drive away the sorrows of the world.

- Shantideva: Bodhicharyavatara

In this world there is no man, there is no woman. There is no person, self or consciousness.
Man and woman are merely imputed and have no essence. Thus, the minds of worldly beings are mistaken.

- Wisdom Moon: now known as the Bodhisattva Tara

When there arises a gap in the mind...

Image
Justmeagain
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by Justmeagain »

Sherab Dorje wrote:Me and Rudy doing our daily practices...
me and rudy.jpg
Lovely picture...does anyone know where I can obtain Sadhanas in the form you have there. I like that traditional Tibetan style of binding?

Thanks...
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rory
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by rory »

Of course you can, dogs, cats, insects etc all have buddha-nature! In fact when you are before your altar when you do Eko (transferring the Merit) you should always include your pets. I chant for my pets to be reborn in Amida's (Amitabha) Pure Land. This is entirely common in Japan where Buddhist pet funerals are common and very popular. In fact Kannon (Avalokitesvara) is a special protector of animals and in Japan she has a special form, colloquially known as Peto Kannon otherwise as Dobutsu Shugo Kannon. Here is a pic of her, just scroll down.
http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/k ... l#Dobutsu2

When you chant in front of your altar many times pets will come and sit by you or climb into your lap, they want to hear the Dharma too. And here is a haiku by the wonderful poet Issa:
花ちるや称名うなる寺の犬
hana chiru ya shoomyoo unaru tera no inu

cherry blossoms scatter--
growling Buddha's name
a temple dog

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. David Lanoue

The temple dog is growling the nembutsu prayer:
"Namu Amida Butsu"--"All praise to Amida Buddha!"
This is appropriate for the situation, since the blossoms are dying and only Amida Buddha's intercession can bring salvation: rebirth in the Pure Land.

Chanting only the name of Amida or other deities is especially common in the Sect of the Pure Land, to which Issa belonged.
http://haikutopics.blogspot.com/2006/11 ... butsu.html
Koyabashi Issa was not only a great poet but a Pure Land priest of the Jodo Shinshu sect, so you can see there is a long tradition of chanting for animal's Pure Land birth (no need to be born a human!)

Anyway I chant for both my cat and dog and have a memorial to my past dog (who was given a Buddhist name, also a common Japanese practice) on my altar.
I hope this is helpful
gassho
Rory
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Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/
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rory
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by rory »

Here is a temple having a service for pets:
Many American temples and Buddhist centers, regardless of which branch of Buddhism they practice, set aside at least one day per year as a memorial for departed pets. For example, the Cleveland Buddhist Temple, an Ohio congregation in the Zen tradition, holds a service in the late spring.
http://advocacy.britannica.com/blog/adv ... good-life/

and you can make a pilgrimage for your pet: petto kuya
But even after your pet dies and goes off to Fudaraku to await your arrival, there is still plenty you can do for your pet. Visiting the sacred sites of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage to pray for recently deceased relatives has a long tradition in Japan called kuyo. It is believed that praying on such a pilgrimage helps the deceased’s soul rest easier. You can now do this for your pet too. It’s called, naturally, petto kuyo.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2 ... -and-pets/
gassho
ROry
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by MindTheGap »

I've heard of the Shikoku 88 and would love to do it, someday!

I also love Japanese culture, food and aesthetics (wabi-sabi). Right now, I'm reading The Skullcup and the Teacup - a transcription of some talks Trungpa Rinpoche gave on where Tibetan Buddhism and Zen meet. It's a very good book. 8^)

In the West, there is the tradition of "The Rainbow Bidge" - a place where we're supposed to meet our pets after we die. It seems kind of sappy until you lose a beloved pet after many years of a happy life together. I hope, at least, that my cats Selina and Wilson have passed through the Bardo to a happy rebirth - they both deserve it. 8^)

Wilson's ashes are in my shrine room at home with a little statue of a cat in the lotus position. (We scattered Selina's ashes because we felt that's what she would want)

My two cats that I have now - Gleshka and Isabela - are always sitting right outside my shrine room when I go to meditate. Doesn't matter what time of day - they seem to know. It's really uncanny.
And now, as long as space endures, As long as there are beings to be found,
May I continue, likewise, to remain, To drive away the sorrows of the world.

- Shantideva: Bodhicharyavatara

In this world there is no man, there is no woman. There is no person, self or consciousness.
Man and woman are merely imputed and have no essence. Thus, the minds of worldly beings are mistaken.

- Wisdom Moon: now known as the Bodhisattva Tara

When there arises a gap in the mind...

Image
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

My two cats that I have now - Gleshka and Isabela - are always sitting right outside my shrine room when I go to meditate. Doesn't matter what time of day - they seem to know. It's really uncanny.
My cat knows the time of night I practice, and knows that for her it's playtime, and afterwards some kind of quality time.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
MindTheGap
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by MindTheGap »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Late at night is my practice time, it gets her very animated, after this is usually the time where she most wants to interact and play. I've always guessed there is some sort of blessing there.
Cats, like their wild cousins, are inclined to be nocturnal. All the cats I've ever had tend to be most active around the time I'm going to bed - we called it the "kitty crazies" - they'd be tearing around the house, chasing each other, playing with jingle bell toys... Of course, during the daytime, they sleep a lot. Cats on average sleep between 12 to 16 hours a day in short spurts - cat naps, of course... :smile:

It's great that they are active during the same time you're doing your Dharma practice. That way they can get the most benefit from it! :smile:
And now, as long as space endures, As long as there are beings to be found,
May I continue, likewise, to remain, To drive away the sorrows of the world.

- Shantideva: Bodhicharyavatara

In this world there is no man, there is no woman. There is no person, self or consciousness.
Man and woman are merely imputed and have no essence. Thus, the minds of worldly beings are mistaken.

- Wisdom Moon: now known as the Bodhisattva Tara

When there arises a gap in the mind...

Image
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Pets and the Dharma

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

MindTheGap wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:Late at night is my practice time, it gets her very animated, after this is usually the time where she most wants to interact and play. I've always guessed there is some sort of blessing there.
Cats, like their wild cousins, are inclined to be nocturnal. All the cats I've ever had tend to be most active around the time I'm going to bed - we called it the "kitty crazies" - they'd be tearing around the house, chasing each other, playing with jingle bell toys... Of course, during the daytime, they sleep a lot. Cats on average sleep between 12 to 16 hours a day in short spurts - cat naps, of course... :smile:

It's great that they are active during the same time you're doing your Dharma practice. That way they can get the most benefit from it! :smile:
Yes, her nighttime hijinks have kind of blended with my practice, which is great. She starts to get all animated when she sees me turning on tea lights, arranging stuff on the altar, etc.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
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