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Are dogs enlightened beings?

BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
edited August 2005 in Buddhism Today
I mean seriously, they seem to enjoy life under almost ANY circumstances. I forgot where I read it or heard it, but I seem to remember some monk somewhere saying that he was convinced that humans were NOT the "last step" before enlightenment. He believed the goal was to become a dog in the next life.

I mean, they DO have it pretty good :p

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited April 2005
    If men are so clever, how come is it that 'Diamonds are a girl's best friend, and a man's best friend is his dog"? :lol:
  • edited April 2005
    Dogs are very unusual in this sense. They seem to live in the moment but are they aware of their every action or just dominated by instinct? That is the true question that quite possibly may not answered.
  • edited April 2005
    Addressing the diamonds are girls best friends and dogs are men best friend. It is desire and perception. The desire to have something and the perception that you see yourself in your pet. The desire being in the female mind and the perception in the male mind. :D
  • edited May 2005
    amoz...

    all of those things are the same. dogs are no more unusual than anything else. that there is a difference between instinctual and intentional action is a delusion of human conceptual interpretation. everything lives in the moment, and every action is only what it is.

    also... many dogs do have it pretty good in a certain sense, but that is a result of their relationship to humans and the role those individual dogs play. they have it no better than priviledged humans.

    be well,
    ryan
  • edited May 2005
    I don't think it's possible to make a blanket statement that dogs are enlightened. Many dogs have mental disorders so it's not a given.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited May 2005
    The only animals which have ever been found to suffer from stress or mental disorders, are those confinded to the limits of captivity, at the hands of humans.... not just dogs... how many of us have seen images (or seen at first hand!) of animals pacing up and down, repetitively, in their enclosures, and following a repetitive behaviour pattern, indicative of frustration and anxiety....? THis does not happen in the wild.... bears and monkeys, particularly, are subject to such distress.... things have much improved in Zoos, thankfully. But it can still be found among domestic animals.
  • edited May 2005
    Brian - "I forgot where I read it or heard it, but I seem to remember some monk somewhere saying that he was convinced that humans were NOT the "last step" before enlightenment. He believed the goal was to become a dog in the next life."

    ....I believe what you are likely referring to is the "Joshu's Dog" koan from Mumon's collection, "The Gateless Gate." It follows:

    A monk asked Joshu, a Chinese Zen master: `Has a dog Buddha-nature or not?'

    Joshu answered: `Mu.' (Chinese symbol indicating "no, nay, or no-thing")

    Mumon's comment: To realize Zen one has to pass through the barrier of the patriachs. Enlightenment always comes after the road of thinking is blocked. If you do not pass the barrier of the patriachs or if your thinking road is not blocked, whatever you think, whatever you do, is like a tangling ghost. You may ask: What is a barrier of a patriach? This one word, Mu, is it.

    This is the barrier of Zen. If you pass through it you will see Joshu face to face. Then you can work hand in hand with the whole line of patriachs. Is this not a pleasant thing to do?

    If you want to pass this barrier, you must work through every bone in your body, through ever pore in your skin, filled with this question: What is Mu? and carry it day and night. Do not believe it is the common negative symbol meaning nothing. It is not nothingness, the opposite of existence. If you really want to pass this barrier, you should feel like drinking a hot iron ball that you can neither swallor nor spit out.

    Then your previous lesser knowledge disappears. As a fruit ripening in season, your subjectivity and objectivity naturally become one. It is like a dumb man who has had a dream. He knows about it but cannot tell it.

    When he enters this condition his ego-shell is crushed and he can shake the heaven and move the earth. He is like a great warrior with a sharp sword. If a Buddha stands in his way, he will cut him down; if a patriach offers him any obstacle, he will kill him; and he will be free in this way of birth and death. He can enter any world as if it were his own playground. I will tell you how to do this with this koan:

    Just concentrate your whole energy into this Mu, and do not allow any discontinuation. When you enter this Mu and there is no discontinuation, your attainment will be as a candle burning and illuminating the whole universe.

    Has a dog Buddha-nature?
    This is the most serious question of all.
    If you say yes or no,
    You lose your own Buddha-nature.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited June 2005
    Well my best friend's ar emy family. My wife and kids are not dogs.
  • edited June 2005
    Dogs are almost always happy. I seen a dog the other day that had mange (a serious skin disease) and I'm pretty sure it didn't have a home...and when I came around, it was the happiest ever. Always happy.
    I put some gloves on and took it to the vet.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited June 2005
    That was a very compassionate thing for you to do. I have always enjoyed the company of dogs for the very same reason, they always except you and are so happy....it makes you feel like you being there is the happiest experience of their lives. They treat you with so much affection. Maybe it is partially the domestication and breeding that does this, but I like to think that it's a genuine bond between us.
  • edited June 2005
    I love animals. I treat them like they are another person. They have more compassion than most humans.
  • edited June 2005
    MU! what does this mean? do you want me to break your heart? the question posed was "does a dog have Buddha nature?" " MU " replied joshu. sneaky little monk. The buddha said all sentient beings are buddha nature. so of course the dog doesn't have Buddha nature. bad dog! bad dog! Do you have some candy? great I'll hit you with my staff and take it away! do you see? woof! :nonono:
    ^gassho^
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited June 2005
    A great big HUH?
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited June 2005
    I believe wolf is refering to the Mu koan.

    Quote from an article I read: "A monk asked Master Joshu: "Does a dog have Buddha-nature?" Joshu replied: "Mu." Doctrinally, its answer is 'yes' as all beings can evolve towards enlightenment (Buddha-nature). But Joshu deliberately does not answer with an unequivocal 'yes' or 'no' so as to demolish the monk's dependence on scriptural logic. 'Mu' is the Chinese ideogram for 'nothing' which might also be interpreted as 'no-thing' or emptiness. With a single syllable, Joshu has revealed no-thingness as the core of existence. "
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited June 2005
    Okay. Thanks. :)
  • edited July 2005
    My dog growing up was the kindest, most accepting thing I've ever seen. She used to sit in the yard and birds would land right next to her -- sometimes even on her back when she was laying down!

    She never tried to harm them at all.

    I also remember we had a squirrel that lived on our back porch and it used to crack walnuts form the neighbor's walnut tree on the railings. Many-a-time our dog would sit under the squirrel as it cracked the walnuts, dropping the shells onto her little doggy head and she'd just lay there.

    Another time we sent her out for a haircut and the groomer clipped the tip of her tail off. Evidently she never even as much as yelped, and the only way the lady knew it was clipped was that she bled. She never snapped or anything.

    Amazing dog she was. I like to think she had reached a point of enlightenment.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited July 2005
    Did your dog eat meat?
  • edited July 2005
    Dry dog food. I'm not too sure if there is meat in that or not.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited July 2005
    I am pretty sure ther eis meat something or other in dry dog food.
  • edited July 2005
    I read a story once where two aliens were arguing what was the most intelligent life on Earth. One said it is humans coz we have cars and cities and economies and stuff. The other said it was dolphins (or it could be dogs) coz they Don't have cars and cities and economies and stuff. :)
  • edited August 2005
    Well I believe that animals , like humans, can gain enlightenment too. What matters in Buddhism is not the language, the form of communication of ideas. Do you really think that your brain works in English? I think animals do realize stuff themselves, and once in a while one of them becomes a Buddha.
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