"Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Grigoris » Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:32 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:11 pm
This is just not how karmavipaka works.
I am talking about reality, not theory. Are you saying that you do not experience bodily pleasure or mental suffering? Do these experiences not arise as a consequence of karmavipaka?

Isn't beauty, long life and good health (bodily attributes) a consequence of positive karma vipaka?
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"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Malcolm » Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:41 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:32 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:11 pm
This is just not how karmavipaka works.
I am talking about reality, not theory. Are you saying that you do not experience bodily pleasure or mental suffering? Do these experiences not arise as a consequence of karmavipaka?

Isn't beauty, long life and good health (bodily attributes) a consequence of positive karma vipaka?
These are part of throwing karma, but the actual sensations we feel in these existences that are a result of karma are differentiated on the basis of whether their cause is virtuous or nonvirtue, and all nonvirtue ripens as pain in the body and all virtue ripens as pleasant feelings in the mind.

This is one reason that in Tibetan Medicine, for example, mental suffering is dealt with as a physical problem.
Buddhahood in This Life
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-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Grigoris » Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:57 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:41 pm
These are part of throwing karma...
What is the Sanskrit term for this?
...and all nonvirtue ripens as pain in the body and all virtue ripens as pleasant feelings in the mind.
Do you have an abhidharma source for this please?

And what, on the basis of this theory, is the source of pleasant bodily feeling then?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Norwegian » Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:11 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:57 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:41 pm
These are part of throwing karma...
What is the Sanskrit term for this?
The Sanskrit is ākṣepaka-karma, and the Tibetan is 'phen byed kyi las (འཕེན་བྱེད་ཀྱི་ལས).

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Grigoris » Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:21 pm

“The results of favorable and unfavorable actions are produced in the good and bad destinies (sugati, durgati). This also, through the projecting action (ākṣepaka-karma) and the completing action (paripūraka-karma). What is projecting action? It is the action by means of which the result of fruition is produced. What is completing action? It is the action by means of which, after having been born, one experiences good and bad results.”
Abhidharmasamuccaya

How is being born with a beautiful body, having a long life and good health as a consequence of virtue projecting action? Seems to me the virtuous activity would be the projecting action.

I also remember a teaching that said that the Buddhas marks and characteristics were a result of his previous virtuous actions of body. Don't remember who said it though.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Malcolm » Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:17 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:57 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:41 pm
These are part of throwing karma...
What is the Sanskrit term for this?
...and all nonvirtue ripens as pain in the body and all virtue ripens as pleasant feelings in the mind.
Do you have an abhidharma source for this please?

And what, on the basis of this theory, is the source of pleasant bodily feeling then?
Yes, you can find this in the Ahidharmakoshabhasyam, pg. 632, Poussin/Pruden:

4:57 Sensation, the result of a good action free from vitarka, is exclusively mental.
Sensation, the result of a bad action, is exclusively physical.


Vasubandhu explains very clearly that mental distress is actually caused by imbalances of the elements and humors where not caused by demonic forces.

Also see verses 4:45-49, from page 620 onward.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Marc » Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:31 pm

Sorry for moving backward and interrupting the intersting discussion on vipaka that is going on...

But:
Grigoris wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:01 am
Do the Bodhisattva Vows and Tantric vows clearly allow the practitioner to break the precepts occasionally...
When motivated out of compassion and wisdom.
This was precisely my point:
In the mere presence of compassion without wisdom, then why would humbly sticking to the precepts makes one’s attitude « hinayanist » ?.
I don’t think that a bodhisattva’s courage and abnegation involves recklessness...

Cheers
M

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Bundokji » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:27 am

Emmet wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:10 pm
Yes. Precepts are not rigid laws or commandments; they're exemplars; the archetype of how a bodhisattva operates. We operate in the saha world; where real life is not black and white, but infinite gradients of gray. Sometimes we're faced with conundrums for which there simply are no good options, only least bad ones. What option best promotes and maintains ahimsa; "non-harming"? Which option is most consistent with my vow to liberate all beings? What choice best inures to the welfare of all, no matter how imperfectly?
I agree that the precepts are not rigid laws or commandments and that this mindset (seeing things as either-or) is a cause of a lot of misery in the world, both to the individual and to society. Our minds however, with all their limitations, in an attempt to solve a fallacy (false dilemma) usually replace it with another fallacy (the fallacy of middle ground) which states that all extremes must be wrong.

Let us examine your statement once again:
We operate in the saha world; where real life is not black and white, but infinite gradients of gray.
While we don't have access to each others mind, and if your ideal is to liberate others from their misery, all we can talk about in a meaningful way is our world of appearances. In this world, the mind understands the notion (infinite gradients of gray) as a fixed rule, clings to it and we are back to square one.

This is where the notion of "talking non sense" becomes relevant which is used in the philosophy of language and it is neither an insult nor a personal attack. When human beings communicate, they assume that words correspond to reality, and that the meaning of the word is what it stands for. By understanding this, we are back to common sense. If anyone wants to make exceptions to the first precept, he/she will need to provide evidence from the original source.

I remember watching a documentary about Zen Buddhism in which two masters were enjoying a tea ceremony, then one of them said:

Before practicing Zen, tea is tea and a bowl is a bowl. When Zen is practiced, tea is no longer tea and a bowl is no longer a bowl. Upon enlightenment, tea is again tea and a bowl is bowl.

An honest attempt to help others that do not take into consideration our own limitations is not only futile, but full of danger. You raised a very good point by setting a criteria:
What option best promotes and maintains ahimsa; "non-harming"? Which option is most consistent with my vow to liberate all beings? What choice best inures to the welfare of all, no matter how imperfectly?
Let us think hypothetically contemplate the possible outcomes of each alternative if taken into an extreme:

1- The first extreme is to see the first precept as a commandment, or a fixed rule. Where would this extreme take you? you might end up as a good jain

2- The second extreme: morality depends on our intention. Ultimately, there are no good or bad. Where would this extreme take you? moral nihilism.

It is worth noting that when the practitioner try to keep the precepts, and think of them as a "no go area" as Ven Thanissaro indicated, his very attempts to control, through trial and error, would help him understand how to grasp the teachings in the right way.
There's a story told of an exemplary monk beyond reproach, who awoke to find a naked woman in his bed. In great anguish, she said her child was very ill, perhaps terminally so, and that for sport the richest merchant in town promised to provide her child with the best medical care in the world if she could entice the monk to forsake his vows. Without hesitation the monk had sex with her, with great compassion and loving kindness. When the abbot found out, he publicly humiliated the monk and banished him; out of respect for the woman and to protect her from further suffering, the monk offered no defense. The sangha as a whole, who knew of the true facts of the case, came to his defense and persuaded the abbot to relent.
One of the Jataka Tales tells of a previous incarnation of the Buddha as a sea captain, who discovers that there is a murderous pirate on board, intent upon robbing and killing his passengers. He could either do nothing, in which case the passengers would all be killed, or he could expose the pirate for what he is, in which case the passengers would kill him first. He chose to kill the pirate himself, thereby not only saving the passengers lives, but saving them from the karmic consequences of killing the pirate. and conversely saving the pirate from the karmic consequences of killing the passengers. To save all beings, he chose to accept the karmic debt of killing himself.
In the Lotus Sutra, to entice the distracted children (us) from the burning house (samsaric world), the father (the Buddha) blatantly lied, promising them amusements far superior tho those which so enchanted them. The leader of a caravan, knowing that they were almost there if they could only summon the strength to push on a little longer, just as everyone was so exhausted and discouraged they were on the verge of giving up and going home, created a mirage of a golden city; by deception enticing them to drive on. The physician upon arriving home found that his children had gotten into his stores and poisoned themselves. Unable to coax them into taking the antidote, he left, then send word that he had died, and his dying wish was that his children would comply and take the medicine he had prescribed for them.
The saha world is a complicated, confusing, and messy place, where rigid legalism and simplistic notions of good and evil frequently have unintended and untoward consequences, sometimes exacerbating rather than ameliorating a situation. A bodhisattva not only acts ethically, but to applies those ethics skillfully, for the benefit of all beings. That requires some wisdom, creativity, and flexibility which rigid legalism precludes. However imperfectly, we do the best we can.
On the other hand, there is a sutta about a monk who saw a guy being tortured before capital punishment, so he interfered by calling for a quick execution. The monk had to disrobe because he intentionally encouraged killing and regretted his actions.

One of the complications of the saha world is our futile attempts to do the right thing for the wrong reason. Each school of Buddhism applies different methods and techniques to help us understand, and when i joined this forum, i did not come with a package but with an attempt to understand. From my shallow understanding of the bodhisattva path, my mind somehow links to Ernest Becker's "the denial of death". Delaying ones own enlightenment by playing a hero seems to fit Becker's theory as a glove.

Peace

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Grigoris » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:32 am

Marc wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:31 pm
This was precisely my point:
In the mere presence of compassion without wisdom, then why would humbly sticking to the precepts makes one’s attitude « hinayanist » ?.
I don’t think that a bodhisattva’s courage and abnegation involves recklessness...

Cheers
M
Somehow I don't think that Ajahn Thanissaro Bikkhu lacks wisdom. As such his "justification" for not acting comes from a certain mindset/theoretical approach. An approach that put's the importance of maintaining one's precepts and spiritual development above dealing with the suffering of others.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by cjdevries » Fri Aug 31, 2018 5:16 pm

Since I began studying Buddhism, I have generally opposed euthanasia. When our cat was getting older this last year (she was about 20) I talked to my mom several times about euthanasia and how my preference was for her to be allowed to die naturally. I wanted her to be able to finish the karma she was dealing with so she wouldn't have to pick up with the suffering again after she was euthanized.

One day, I listened to a piece by Laurie Anderson on public radio. I think it may have been an excerpt from "Heart of a Dog" though I'm not sure. She talked about going to her Buddhist teacher when her beloved dog was dying and asking for his insight. He suggested that she allow the dog to die naturally at home instead of putting her down. He though it was the compassionate thing to do.

After hearing this piece I talked to my mom again, telling her about this radio excerpt. She seemed open, but she also said that she still felt that euthanizing her was the most compassionate thing to do. But she really listened to what I had to say and that was reassuring.

When our cat finally starting the process of dying several months ago, my mom decided that she agreed with me. She chose to let her die naturally at home. I'm pretty happy with the outcome, though that's strange to say when dealing with death.

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:04 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:17 pm
Emmet wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:41 pm
Am I prolonging life, or am I prolonging needless suffering? I know nothing about past or future lives or the karmic debt of swallows, but I've seen an awful lot of suffering and death. I believe that sometimes under some circumstances my Mahayana vow to save all beings might be best practiced by saving them from any further suffering.
The idea that we can save any being from further suffering is something of a delusion. When we euthanize an animal, we are not putting them out of their misery, we are putting them out of our own misery.
This is exactly what one of my teachers said, but also left the door open for the possibility that euthanasia could come from compassion, and be beneficial in some circumstances.
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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Aryjna » Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:40 pm

There is also the question of burdening the veterinarian with yet another death. I think in the case of the person doing the euthanasia, if it is a professional, it is even more difficult for a pure motivation to be present, because even if they are compassionate they are getting paid to kill the animal.

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Tlalok » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:48 pm

Aryjna wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:40 pm
There is also the question of burdening the veterinarian with yet another death. I think in the case of the person doing the euthanasia, if it is a professional, it is even more difficult for a pure motivation to be present, because even if they are compassionate they are getting paid to kill the animal.
When my dog died at the ripe old age of 12, the vet actually came out to our house to do the deed. Our dog was one of his first patients out of med school when she was a puppy, and it was a really emotional experience for him as well. We paid him extra for the service, but it was clearly a deeply emotional experience for him as well, and he made every effort to make her comfortable. Tilly had a very quick death surrounded by her loved ones (seriously, out in 5 seconds). I'm glad we gave her that, and that my death is similar.

I understand the point of view that we should allow the karma to ripen in their current birth, but would not the circumstances that the animal is in (i.e. a domesticated animal with people that care about it enough to try and minimize its suffering) also be its karma? The vast, vast majority of animals die hideous, protracted deaths. We go to doctors when we're in pain and they treat it, should we not because its our karma to bear?

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Aryjna » Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:33 am

Tlalok wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:48 pm
Aryjna wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:40 pm
There is also the question of burdening the veterinarian with yet another death. I think in the case of the person doing the euthanasia, if it is a professional, it is even more difficult for a pure motivation to be present, because even if they are compassionate they are getting paid to kill the animal.
When my dog died at the ripe old age of 12, the vet actually came out to our house to do the deed. Our dog was one of his first patients out of med school when she was a puppy, and it was a really emotional experience for him as well. We paid him extra for the service, but it was clearly a deeply emotional experience for him as well, and he made every effort to make her comfortable. Tilly had a very quick death surrounded by her loved ones (seriously, out in 5 seconds). I'm glad we gave her that, and that my death is similar.

I understand the point of view that we should allow the karma to ripen in their current birth, but would not the circumstances that the animal is in (i.e. a domesticated animal with people that care about it enough to try and minimize its suffering) also be its karma? The vast, vast majority of animals die hideous, protracted deaths. We go to doctors when we're in pain and they treat it, should we not because its our karma to bear?
I'm not saying there is a clear answer to every individual case, but I think the side of the veterinarians doing the euthanasia is also a part of the discussion. For example, I recall reading stories indicating that doing pujas etc. for money may sometimes bring negativity, even if the practitioner has a good motivation. This seems similar but possibly 'worse' in a way.

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Grigoris » Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:21 am

Tlalok wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:48 pm
...but would not the circumstances that the animal is in (i.e. a domesticated animal with people that care about it enough to try and minimize its suffering) also be its karma?
I asked the same question pages ago and nobody answered. I think people are unwilling to answer because westerners for some reason only consider NEGATIVE circumstances as being the outcome of past karma. It probably has to do with Abrahamic notions of divine retribution.
The vast, vast majority of animals die hideous, protracted deaths. We go to doctors when we're in pain and they treat it, should we not because its our karma to bear?
Nobody will answer this either.

Sometimes I get the feeling that people here are closet Opus Dei members, given their fixation on this idea that pain/suffering somehow equals purification/liberation, overlooking the fact that if this was the case then all sentient beings in samara would be liberated since, as the Buddha said: idam dukkham.
opus dei self mortification tools.jpg
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"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Aryjna » Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:43 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:21 am
Tlalok wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:48 pm
...but would not the circumstances that the animal is in (i.e. a domesticated animal with people that care about it enough to try and minimize its suffering) also be its karma?
I asked the same question pages ago and nobody answered. I think people are unwilling to answer because westerners for some reason only consider NEGATIVE circumstances as being the outcome of past karma. It probably has to do with Abrahamic notions of divine retribution.
The vast, vast majority of animals die hideous, protracted deaths. We go to doctors when we're in pain and they treat it, should we not because its our karma to bear?
Nobody will answer this either.

Sometimes I get the feeling that people here are closet Opus Dei members, given their fixation on this idea that pain/suffering somehow equals purification/liberation, overlooking the fact that if this was the case then all sentient beings in samara would be liberated since, as the Buddha said: idam dukkham.

opus dei self mortification tools.jpg
I don't think it has anything to do with it being the animal's karma or not. Of course one would take the animal to the doctor, not just let it suffer and die somewhere around the house without doing anything.

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Grigoris » Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:14 am

Aryjna wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:43 am
I don't think it has anything to do with it being the animal's karma or not.
Of course it has to do with the animal's karma as well. How could it not?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by Aryjna » Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:19 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:14 am
Aryjna wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:43 am
I don't think it has anything to do with it being the animal's karma or not.
Of course it has to do with the animal's karma as well. How could it not?
I mean with the view that it is its karma so there is no need to try to cure the disease.

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Re: "Mercy" killing of a dying animal - moral doubts

Post by amanitamusc » Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:35 am

Aryjna wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:19 am
Grigoris wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:14 am
Aryjna wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:43 am
I don't think it has anything to do with it being the animal's karma or not.
Of course it has to do with the animal's karma as well. How could it not?
I mean with the view that it is its karma so there is no need to try to cure the disease.
Either way it is its Karma.

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