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Schools of Buddhism => Mahayana => New Kadampa => Topic started by: Nirvana on October 30, 2012, 05:09:35 am

Title: Animal Karma
Post by: Nirvana on October 30, 2012, 05:09:35 am
I have a pet cat who is of very old age and has kidney and thyroid disease. In the last week he has been unable to walk and stand unaided and keeps falling over (but not due to these two illnesses), therefore he cannot be left even for a minute and requires around the clock care and attention.
 
The vet has advised that there is nothing else that can be done following blood tests, as even if they find the cause via scans/x-rays he is too weak to withstand an anesthetic if surgery is required and insists that I will eventually have to have him euthanized. Adding to this, he is unable to have pain relief at the required dose as it will interfere with his kidney medication and cause his kidneys to fail completely. The vet has allowed a very low pain relief dose which isn't really working for him but any stronger would be lethal for him. Naturally we are in a dilemma as our pet needs round the clock care, we work full time (but are currently on holiday from work to care for him, but this can’t go on forever), we don't wish to see him in constant pain/discomfort and he appears fed up with his situation as he is unable to do anything for himself, yet I do not want to resort to the vets advice.
 
As well as doing all I can physically and spiritually for him, I guess what I am asking is, is there a point where it would be more compassionate to follow the vets advice? What I'm struggling with is; I understand he is playing out his Karma but if we agreed to follow the vets advice out of compassion for his suffering and our intention is to help alleviate this for him, would this be interfering with his Karma in which case would he still have to play out this Karma again in another rebirth? Naturally, we do not want to be creating any karma for ourselves but if this is the only option and our intention and decision to eventually proceed alleviates his pain, suffering and karma (i.e. if he has played this karma out) then out of compassion this may be a decision I may be prepared to take. Could you please clarify?
 
My concern is that the vet may insist/enforce that this eventually happens to end his suffering. In this eventuality, where do I stand on this?

Any help or advice would be very much appreciated.

Nirvana.
Title: Re: Animal Karma
Post by: Caz on October 30, 2012, 09:33:22 am
Recite as many mantra's for this being as possible so he/she can hear and when the time of death comes make sure he/she is within view of Buddha images.
Title: Re: Animal Karma
Post by: Lobster on October 31, 2012, 12:14:35 pm
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Precious Friend.  :hug:
Title: Re: Animal Karma
Post by: santamonicacj on November 01, 2012, 11:58:01 am
You've hit the nail on the head with this question. I personally have a lot of difficulty with it.

One perspective says that if you meddle and help another avoid the last of this life's karma you doom them to experience in the next. I find that really hard to swallow.

Another perspective says that it's their karma to have options.

My personal position is that, as an unenlightened person, I can't see what is the right thing karmically to do, so you have to guess. That humility of not knowing what is the right thing to do is important. After that being motivated by love is next. Then you do what you think and feel is best.

How else can you do it?
Title: Re: Animal Karma
Post by: GoGet on November 01, 2012, 12:10:24 pm
You've hit the nail on the head with this question. I personally have a lot of difficulty with it.

One perspective says that if you meddle and help another avoid the last of this life's karma you doom them to experience in the next. I find that really hard to swallow.

Another perspective says that it's their karma to have options.

My personal position is that, as an unenlightened person, I can't see what is the right thing karmically to do, so you have to guess. That humility of not knowing what is the right thing to do is important. After that being motivated by love is next. Then you do what you think and feel is best.

How else can you do it?

That is the view of the Bodhisattva - to put the needs of other sentient beings ahead of yourself though the great compassion you have.

Some 20 years ago, a yearling Mule Deer doe was run over by a car on the road by my house.  Bth legs had been broken clean off, leaving boken bone exposed to the air.  The animal was in shock, in immense pain and was fightened.  It's fate was clear - certain death.  It would either bleed out or be killed by coyotes attracted by the blood smell everywhere.  Either way, death would wait hours.

To make a long story short, I killed the poor thing to put it out of it's misery.  20 years later I would do the same exact thing and without hesitation.  It may be the animal's karma to die a slow, horrible, painful death and it may be the animal's karma to be killed by me.  I don't know and in the immediacy of the moment I don't care.  A being is suffering and it's within my power to relieve it.  It may be lousy karma for me to do it, but to be truthful, I don't care.  Another lifetime in a hell realm is nothing and I will endure it gladly for the sake of a being's suffering.

Would I kill to save a single life?  maybe. Would I kill one to save a dozen?  Probably.  Would I kill to save 100?  Absolutely.  Would I spend lifetimes in a realm realm for that?  Without a doubt.
Title: Animal Karma
Post by: BlueSky on November 02, 2012, 07:51:22 pm
There is no rule that saying we cannot interfere karmic of someone.

Whatever we are doing right now, talking to someone, seeing someone, and so on, we always change the karmic of somebody else without realizing it.

At all time, you are affecting my karma, I am affecting your karma.

So, there is nothing special or a taboo that I cannot do this, because it can affect his or her karma.

If someone is suffering, just go and help them. If you have tried your best, and the result is still not good, his bad karma is just to strong to be countered over by yours. But for sure, it has helped that party to some extend.
Title: Re: Animal Karma
Post by: santamonicacj on November 02, 2012, 08:00:19 pm
The idea comes from a Vajryana perspective and is related to teachings on pure view. Having said that, it's not a universally accepted perspective, so take it with a grain of salt.
Title: Animal Karma
Post by: BlueSky on November 02, 2012, 08:33:35 pm
As long as I and you still have grasping to I (self), when you talk to me, you affect my karma. When I talk to you, I affect your karma.

This view is common to all Buddhist schools.

So, if you think we should not affect others karma, then why you give the food to the cat for example?

Why you give water to the cat?

Why do you talk to your friend?

All your activity affecting others karma (unless your opponent no longer have a false concept of self).

So, it is actually very odd if someone say he is suffering, and I cannot do anything because if I do something it will change his karma.

If changing a karma is taboo, then you shouldn't talk to others, you should do anything, you shouldn't socialize, because whatever you do, you are changing the karmic of others.

So, the reason of not helping others because it will change his karma is absolutely having no sense.

Title: Re: Animal Karma
Post by: santamonicacj on November 02, 2012, 11:35:12 pm
Quote
So, it is actually very odd if someone say he is suffering, and I cannot do anything because if I do something it will change his karma.

If changing a karma is taboo, then you shouldn't talk to others, you should do anything, you shouldn't socialize, because whatever you do, you are changing the karmic of others.

So, the reason of not helping others because it will change his karma is absolutely having no sense.
I don't really feel comfortable or competent to explain this the way it was explained to me, but there is an analogy many people are familiar with that is in the ballpark. It is from the lexicon of recovery and it's called enabling.

In short, when a substance abuser creates problems and suffering for themselves the normal reaction of someone that loves that person is to protect them from the painful consequences of their own behavior. But that pain is the way the universe communicates the wrongness of that way of living. So if some well intentioned person intervenes in the process the pain signal never is allowed to do what it is supposed to do. By protecting the alcoholic or addict from their own pain they "enable" them to avoid getting the message. And so the substance abuser continues on living life incorrectly. If you really wanted to help the person you'd suggest they join a 12 step program or some other spiritual tradition.

Add to this idea that we are all addicted to samsara, and that death is a very volatile moment. If  you meddle you then deny the person's chance to wake up from what is painful. And we are not talking about someone who asks for help. We are talking about meddling.

I hope this gives you a little sense of where the idea comes from. That's not it exactly, but it's close. And quite frankly I personally do not feel fully comfortable with the idea myself. I've had pets euthanized. I most definitely are not advocating anyone follow any preconceived idea about the subject.

Hope that helps.
Title: Re: Animal Karma
Post by: Nirvana on November 11, 2012, 10:18:00 am
Thank you for all your kind messages. After some research and advice from one of our local Buddhist Centres. We tried to find the lessons in the situation and learn from them, renunciation, compassion and dealing with attachment etc being just a few of them. It was a hard teaching and felt like it was our first proper retreat, nursing him around the clock as he couldn't walk, toilet himself or go to eat and drink himself. He had been on the prayer list at lots of local centre’s and we also did lots of different prayers to try and help him too, along with taking and giving.

After almost two long hard weeks our cat, to our and others amazement, started to get up himself and attempt to walk. He was very weak still and wobbly but eventually one thing led to another and he is now doing everything himself like he used to, albeit he cannot jump onto anything (although before his illness he could only just make it onto the bed and the sofa). This has been an amazing lesson.

The vet had advised the kindest thing would be to put him out of his misery and stop his suffering. It has made us realize that the veterinary law doesn't accommodate religious views (in the west) and this is hard when they are putting pressure on you to end your pet’s life (as in their eyes it is animal cruelty if you don’t). We will be taking our cat back to the vet this week and shall welcome their reaction to his progress. It is wonderful that we stuck to our instincts and nursed him as best we could giving him lots of love, keeping him warm and sleeping with and watching him 24/7. It is alarming that many other pets and animals would not have had this same care and opportunity and many would have had their lives taken (possibly prematurely) from them.

The only advice I can give to those who may be in a similar situation to ours is:-  please try and see what ever is happening to you, (appearing to your mind) as a teaching, there is something that you need to learn, if you improve your mind the situation around you will change. We had to question and remove every selfish feeling and emotion that arose within us when we saw him suffering and practiced lots of “taking and giving” and “renunciation” of not forgetting that there are many others suffering just like him everywhere.  Our cat is not out of the woods but he seems to have purified some karma and he maybe on borrowed time but at least he has some quality back. We keep praying now that he will go peacefully when it is his natural time.

Nirvana
Title: Re: Animal Karma
Post by: former monk john on November 11, 2012, 12:05:22 pm
very inspiring story, thanks for sharing that
Title: Re: Animal Karma
Post by: Lobster on November 12, 2012, 12:57:04 am
Outstanding Nirvana. Love conquers all. <3
Title: Re: Animal Karma
Post by: joyk on February 04, 2013, 12:42:41 pm
Recite as many mantra's for this being as possible so he/she can hear and when the time of death comes make sure he/she is within view of Buddha images.


This is TRUE. When we see animals; birds, doggies, cats fishes etc any type animal we should automatically chant Medicine Buddha Mantra or Om Mani Pedme Hum to plant Dharma seeds in them.

As for my own personal experience of a dying pet was a friend's little baby Schnauzer who was only 6 months old. He was still a little puppy and had not even experienced much and at the time of his death, at the vets, we were advice by our Guru to keep chanting mantras... at that time we followed our Guru's instructions to chant our protector Setrap's mantra and request protector to take him to a good rebirth. We visualised Guru and Protector as one and with full trust and faith chanted, patting him gentle at the crown of his head and blowing the mantra on him. He was crying at first as if calling out for comfort, but slowly he dose off peacefully. We cried and cried and cried but we continued chanting and telling him to follow protector to a good rebirth which he did. He has taken a good rebirth in a human form as a little girl :) We were so so happy with this news when Rinpoche told us  :namaste:

So it is true, mantras do have power... Certain mantras such as the Medicine Buddha, Namgyalma, Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara, Green Tara are very wonderful mantras to let the animal hear (if possible) when you recite and then blow on them or their environment, and sincerely pray by the power of these mantras they will take a fortunate rebirth in the future. It  will help them very much. 

Here is a video of Rinpoche explaining the power of liberating animals, why, how does it benefit us, how does it benefit them   and I hope it will benefit everyone here who loves animals THE JOY OF LIBERATING ANIMALS (with Dharma Talk by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche) - 放生的喜悦! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-osSNX-WtU#ws)

Full story of animal liberation that we do by weekly now in our centre here http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/animal-liberation.html (http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/kechara-13-depts/animal-liberation.html)
Title: Re: Animal Karma
Post by: ad_hominem_2_Mantra on October 12, 2015, 02:37:07 am
I have a pet cat who is of very old age and has kidney and thyroid disease. In the last week he has been unable to walk and stand unaided and keeps falling over (but not due to these two illnesses), therefore he cannot be left even for a minute and requires around the clock care and attention.
 
The vet has advised that there is nothing else that can be done following blood tests, as even if they find the cause via scans/x-rays he is too weak to withstand an anesthetic if surgery is required and insists that I will eventually have to have him euthanized. Adding to this, he is unable to have pain relief at the required dose as it will interfere with his kidney medication and cause his kidneys to fail completely. The vet has allowed a very low pain relief dose which isn't really working for him but any stronger would be lethal for him. Naturally we are in a dilemma as our pet needs round the clock care, we work full time (but are currently on holiday from work to care for him, but this can’t go on forever), we don't wish to see him in constant pain/discomfort and he appears fed up with his situation as he is unable to do anything for himself, yet I do not want to resort to the vets advice.
 
As well as doing all I can physically and spiritually for him, I guess what I am asking is, is there a point where it would be more compassionate to follow the vets advice? What I'm struggling with is; I understand he is playing out his Karma but if we agreed to follow the vets advice out of compassion for his suffering and our intention is to help alleviate this for him, would this be interfering with his Karma in which case would he still have to play out this Karma again in another rebirth? Naturally, we do not want to be creating any karma for ourselves but if this is the only option and our intention and decision to eventually proceed alleviates his pain, suffering and karma (i.e. if he has played this karma out) then out of compassion this may be a decision I may be prepared to take. Could you please clarify?
 
My concern is that the vet may insist/enforce that this eventually happens to end his suffering. In this eventuality, where do I stand on this?

Any help or advice would be very much appreciated.

Nirvana.

I just recently signed on to this discussion forum and introduced myself not hours ago.  If that tells you something about how much experience I have with written discussions on Buddhism, then you are correct.
My instinct on this matter is to stress the importance of non attachment as has been conveyed.  I don't know that you can change your dear pet's karma at all.  His/her mind is his responsibility.  That mind has its Buddha seed and will eventually be enlightened.  I was frequently told during my early years of instruction that not even Buddha can alter one's capacity of the moment.  If that is true, then someone who acts without an awareness of emptiness even while reciting mantras could be fueling attachment.  I love my pet dearly, and I would possibly defend him to any extent I could.  But realistically, he will die a feline as he was born one.  Nothing can change that.  I'm not sure if a pure land ritual applies to pets, but you might ask your resident teacher.
As for the vets advice.  Well, they can possibly put the pet down with minimal pain which I think involve it's inner winds.  Again, it's your pet's mind.  It's my pets mind.  We can only dedicate, we can't change it's karma, since it's actions "belong" to it and form karma based on it's own intentions.  E.g.  If we could change karma, then does it not stand to reason that we could equally disturb as well as enhance our pet's mind with mantras depending on the pet's reaction to the sound of the mantra in the moment. 
p.s. I don't really know about liberating animals. I believe it's possible.  My advice was simply to reinforce principles that I learned to get help with. 

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