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Killing a dying animal, compassion or interfering with nature.

EarthninjaEarthninja WandererWest Australia Veteran
Namaste

Today I was walking home with my wife, I noticed a small bird on the side of the road.
It was alive but it's neck was cocked sideways and it could only fly in circles. It's neck appeared broken as it was limp and could only turn in circles.

The bird appeared clearly distressed, I found a large rock and walked over to the bird, I then killed it as quickly as I could.

My thoughts were that if I was suffering beyond hope of survival I would want a quick ending.
But I've heard it said that we shouldn't interfere with nature, the bird was dying but we shouldn't impute human emotions onto animals,

I felt like it was the right thing to do but from a karmic point of view was it the right thing?

Will I suffer down the line because of my conscious decision to kill an animal? Or will I receive good karma because my intention was to end it's suffering even though I killed?

Thoughts from you guys?

With metta

Chris
HamsakaToshmmoShoshindantepw
«1

Comments

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
    edited May 2015

    you did an instinctual thing -- You are a part of nature -- we humans tend to forget that because of all the machinery we've created. Our homes are our 'nests' -- what you did was a good thing, in my book because it showed your compassion. you didn't do it because you're sadistic - you are kind. I sometimes forget this, but I try more nowadays to do a little role playing ... ask yourself, if a friend or a stranger came to you and told you the story you just told us, would you judge him harshly, or think he's going to suffer bad karma from this act?

    Note: my left shift key is sticking. :3

    EarthninjaDavidRodrigo
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    There may have been a third choice.

    VictoriousEarthninja
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    May have bee a third choice?

    In any event, please don't doubt yourself and the actions you've already taken, Chris.

    Earthninja
  • ZenshinZenshin Veteran East Midlands UK Veteran

    Its intent that matters with Karma as has been discussed here before, your intent was to relieve its suffering which is not necessarily a bad thing.

    EarthninjaDavidmmo
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    Thanks heaps for the feedback guys,

    It's not so much I'm worried about karma I'm just interested in how this situation would manifest karma. Good or bad? Because maybe it's my delusion that this was the right thing to do. If I had to go back though I would still do what I did.

    @vinlyn I'm not sure what your referring to? the other thought that crossed my mind was take the bird to the vet but it was well and truly on it's way out. If I had taken it it would of likely have just ended up suffering longer which is what I wanted to avoid. :)
    I was 10 minutes from home, the bird had a broken neck and I was about 20 minute drive from the vet. It was also bleeding from it's neck.
    I didn't see any other choice.

    With metta

    Chris
    dantepw
  • 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

    @Hamsaka said: ...They are pure in their awareness, however limited it is, they live in the moment in a way we only wish we could and meditate for decades to understand...

    How eloquently put.
    Brilliant in its perceptiveness, and a timely lesson to us all.
    "Time" being the operative word.
    It is because we have fabricated 'time', that we are so acutely aware of our own mortality.
    Perhaps one could argue that our very ingenuity, our very creativity in fabricating the solid, tangible chronological aspect of Time, has created the fundamental essence of our Suffering: We Cling to Life (and all aspects thereof), because we know its inevitable end. And thus being aware of it, flinch from it and recoil, desperate to both avoid meeting with it, and wasting the intervening period....

    EarthninjaDavidGui
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited May 2015

    @Earthninja said:
    Namaste


    My thoughts were that if I was suffering beyond hope of survival I would want a quick ending.
    But I've heard it said that we shouldn't interfere with nature, the bird was dying but we shouldn't impute human emotions onto animals,

    There is truly no right or wrong answer out there for both are valid viewpoints. The answer lies within.

    The following is the conversation between Master Kuei Xing and his assistant.

    On one raining day, there was a disturbed noise of a frog that had been captured by a snake. He asked his assistant:

    • "What kind of a sound is it?"
    • "It's the sound of a frog." He honestly replied.
    • "Sentient being is suffering, but there's suffering of sentient being."
      The master exclaimed.

    Why did he say that? "Sentient being is suffering" means that the suffering of death of the frog that has been captured by the snake. "Suffering of sentient being" implies the assistant who forgot himself when he heard the shouting of the frog. Are we now living with the "suffering of sentient being?" Most of us are running after Six Sensual objects to forget our true self. We live as we are dead. Isn't it true that we are carrying "suffering of sentient beings?"

    Because we are practitioners, our focus is to find our true self or true nature. This is how we love ourselves. When we say we love ourselves, but keep running after the sensual objects, that love is a love for Six Sensual Objects or four aggregates (body), not for ourselves. Therefore, we need to let go the Six Sensual objects in order to return to ourselves, or else, we will loose ourselves. Do you have a courage to let go the Six Sensual objects? They are the impermanent forms from outside, so once we attach to them, we will forget our true self. After enlightened this matter, the Sixth Patriarch often discussed about "discerning the true nature." And when we discern our true nature, we are no longer attached to the Six Sensual objects.

    http://www.truclamvietzen.net/TTTLectLove.htm

    ZenshinEarthninjaDavid
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    I don't think it's possible to interfere with nature.

    I do think if there was a chance to heal it you would have done what you could.

    I think it was suffering very badly and that you acted in accordance to the logic and compassion of non-separation.

    By being aware of or in touch with nature, you acted on nature's behalf.
    silvermmo
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited May 2015

    @Earthninja said:

    vinlyn I'm not sure what your referring to? the other thought that crossed my mind was take the bird to the vet but it was well and truly on it's way out. If I had taken it it would of likely have just ended up suffering longer which is what I wanted to avoid. :)
    I was 10 minutes from home, the bird had a broken neck and I was about 20 minute drive from the vet. It was also bleeding from it's neck.
    I didn't see any other choice.

    I would have taken it to a vet or, if available, a wildlife rehab facility.

    It's fine if Buddhists don't believe it god. It is not -- IMHO -- fine for them to play god.

    You asked for an opinion. Sorry, that's my viewpoint. But you did what you thought was right. So relax and accept your own decision.

    DavidEarthninja
  • robotrobot Veteran

    Many years ago we came across a deer that had been struck by a car. One of its hind legs was severed at the knee joint. Other than that it seemed ok, but would obviously never survive.
    I tackled it after a short chase. When I was over it, I felt a sense of regret and sadness that it had to die, but I could see that it was resigned to death and had begun to lose consciousness.
    I quickly dispatched it. We ate it.
    I don't think I was playing God. I'm not sure if I was being human. More like a hyena I suppose.
    I might have suffered from karma. How would I know?

    silverEarthninja
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I think that was a totally rational course of action, @robot. Many if not most humans eat meat of one sort or another. Not hyena! Yet we have certain similarities, in that we are warm-blooded creatures: we bond with our families, our communities, whether we live in a house or a hollow log.
    ;)

    ZenshinrobotEarthninjammo
  • It is important to read your heart and mind about anything? If there is suffering after the incident, no matter what you read in this forum is secondary. Sometimes when I encounter such things I checked my breathing.

    Earthninja
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    @Earthninja. I do take in injured birds. Few survive but hopefully they die in peace.

    vinlynRowan1980Earthninja
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran

    "Will I suffer down the line because of my conscious decision to kill an animal? Or will I receive good karma because my intention was to end it's suffering even though I killed?"

    My honest opinion is that it's entirely up to you. Funny how our monkey minds step in and mess up our minds. When you saw a suffering bird and responded, your thoughts were not "Hey, here's a chance to rack up some good karma!" Your thoughts were, "It's suffering. How can I help?"

    Compassion is judged by immediate results, not good and bad piles of karma on a cosmic scale. If you did what you could to end the suffering and then went back to focusing on your activities, then you had a clear mind and correct response.

    ZenshinDavidEarthninjapegembara
  • thug4lyfethug4lyfe Explorer

    Dis u OP?

    Earthninjalobstermmobookworm
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    Thanks for the feedback guys, @karasti thank you I will look at animal rescue around here. That's a great point, you never really think about these things until it happens. It's good to know!

    @thug4lyfe we used to use black humour in the police. I did have a laugh at that!
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Will I suffer down the line because of my conscious decision to kill an animal?

    OM DHRUM SOHA OM AMRITA AYUR DADE SOHA

    It depends on the link you have made. Was your intent compassionate? I believe so. The link is therefore a compassionate one. o:)

    I was once at a dharma centre where a mouse arrived and did not not scurry away. It was ready to die. I reported her presence and she was taken to several rinpoches for a blessing before passing away the same day.

    When Rinpoches are not available we make our decisions based on our understanding. You did good. <3

    OM DHRUM SOHA OM AMRITA AYUR DADE SOHA

    Rowan1980EarthninjaZenshinkarasti
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    I know that I am an heir of my kamma.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Would I be correct in saying that whether we preform wholesome or unwholesome actions it is done while we still have the underlying tendencies lying latent within us?

    Cinorjer
  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran

    You know, once I had a similar experience where on the way to a monastery to go spin some prayer wheels and incline my mind to the Dharma there was a small helpless baby bird on the sidewalk.

    I picked it up, not really knowing what to do with him/her. Didn't even have its eyes open yet. Must have fallen from a nest.

    A dog came nearby so I was glad I had picked it up... It occurred to me that perhaps the most compassionate thing to do in the circumstance was to eat it. Swallow him whole. Pray for him. Keep him warm in my gastrointestinal juices and fluids until his body dissolved into mine. It really seemed like a "crazy wisdom" moment.

    But I couldn't bring myself to do it. I carried him around for a while and buried him in some dried grasses. Contemplated "what if i put him in my pocket and got him through airport security and raised him to be big and strong?"

    There is the story of Buddha on the boat in a (relatively distant) past life where there was a murderer clearly planning to kill all the people on the boat. The Buddha, out of compassion, so that the murderer-to-be wouldn't accumulate bad karma out the wazoo, killed the dude.

    Once, the Dalai Lama, recollecting that story, about how it is possible to be compassionate in that (very deep) way, followed up with "still, I do not know if I could bring myself to do it."

    Pray for that birdie. Karma is intention.

    Cinorjer
  • 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

    In this thread I mention the beautiful lake bordering the Estate on which we live.
    It's a beautiful gathering place for many of nature's creatures, and the lake has fish and fowl enjoying its waters.
    Sadly, we have a lot of poaching.
    It's not hunting, it's poaching.
    It's an urban area, with plenty of shops and people round here are not destitute, starving or to be found wanting.
    But we have ... could I say, a certain section of immigrant society... coming to the lake to fish (you need a licence and a permit, and one can only fish on certain days) and they steal the wild birds too, trapping them by feeding them, and snaring them, then killing and plucking them there. They do this at night.
    The devastation in the morning is tragic to behold.
    We also know it's a particular section of society, because none of the prohibitive notices are written in English....

    That's crap kamma right there.

    bookwormEarthninja
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited May 2015

    "Killing a dying animal, compassion or interfering with nature."

    Either way one's conscience can be interferred/messed with...Personally I think you did the 'right' thing at the 'right' time @Earthninja :)

    Earthninja
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @silver said:> I think that was a totally rational course of action, robot. Many if not most humans eat meat of one sort or another.

    Yep, we happily kill perfectly healthy animals to fulfill a dietary preference.

    Earthninja
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:Yep, we happily kill perfectly healthy animals to fulfill a dietary preference.

    Well, I dunno about 'perfectly healthy' what with the CAFO's, but I can't afford the actual healthy animal meats. You can't guilt me or anyone else into seeing things your way, Norm. You may as well say that my mother wears army boots, ha ha! :p

  • JohnMacJohnMac Veteran

    I wonder about vets who euthanise animals.

  • 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

    Why? What do you wonder, exactly?

    I have never met, nor heard of any vet who is willing to euthanise an animal out of vindictiveness, malice or cruelty.
    Every vet I have come across, who has been in a position to euthanise an animal has always acted with the kindest, most sincere and compassionate way, by considering the animal's welfare and "quality of Life".

    So, really, as far as I am personally concerned, I've never hesitated or wondered at all....

  • JohnMacJohnMac Veteran

    But is it our place to make such decisions , that's what I've struggled with, not to kill unless that can be qualified by " " unless x applies"

    vinlynEarthninja
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @JohnMac said:
    But is it our place to make such decisions , that's what I've struggled with, not to kill unless that can be qualified by " " unless x applies"

    Well, I wonder why you wonder, given that (as my Christian upbringing says - properly explained and translated - that we are STEWARDS of the animal kingdom) and that put in such a position to feel a need to make that decision, we already are compassionate, and our eyes and hearts are clear on all the impermanent creatures that we and they are.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @silver said:
    Well, I wonder why you wonder, given that (as my Christian upbringing says - properly explained and translated - that we are STEWARDS of the animal kingdom) and that put in such a position to feel a need to make that decision, we already are compassionate, and our eyes and hearts are clear on all the impermanent creatures that we and they are.

    Who is to say what the animal wants?

  • 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

    WE are to say what the animal wants. And we evaluate that conclusion by examining the factors which put us in the position of having to decide.
    It may not be ideal, but it's all we've got.

    silver
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @vinlyn said:Who is to say what the animal wants?

    I guess that's one to ponder...who says WE have a genuine say in what WE want in life? As has been said on the non-duality forum I go to, we don't - that non-volition thingy they're always on about. I try to see life as clearly as I can, and I'm undecided as to whether we really have a choice in all matters as they are wont to say.

    I like to move forward and take everything as it comes as best I can. As long as we are doing things out of compassion and love...what, me worry?

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    To an extent we do, @Silver. Take a diagnosis of cancer. Some choose to commit suicide. Others choose to believe they will be cured, even in cases where that is improbable. Some suffer through it. Some suffer through it with a degree of joy.

    silverEarthninja
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    We don't know enough about the processes of karma or rebirth or anything else as far as what happens after death and so on to really answer that. We can only do our best with the information we have, and it seems to me that standing by while an animal (or a person but religion gets in the way there) suffers seems cruel. Most people would desire to be released from horrible suffering. I assume most animals do as well because they try to avoid suffering and obviously experience great discomfort and pain during it just like we do. So thinking that we can comprehend karma "maybe they are here to experience this suffering?" or rebirth "maybe if they go through this they will have a better rebirth" seems ridiculous. We can't comprehend it. We can't know it. We can't even comprehend and know our own fates, nevermind the fate of another being. Releasing them from suffering if and when we can seems the most compassionate option, including for people if they so desire to make that choice.

    silverrobotRowan1980
  • 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 2015

    @vinlyn said:
    To an extent we do, Silver. Take a diagnosis of cancer. Some choose to commit suicide. Others choose to believe they will be cured, even in cases where that is improbable. Some suffer through it. Some suffer through it with a degree of joy.

    This is a strawman argument.
    We're talking about making decisions FOR animals, not humans making decisions for themselves.

    Sorry, I meant 'smoke and mirrors'.

    (I can never remember the difference! :lol: Q)

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @karasti said:
    We don't know enough about the processes of karma or rebirth or anything else as far as what happens after death and so on to really answer that. We can only do our best with the information we have, and it seems to me that standing by while an animal (or a person but religion gets in the way there) suffers seems cruel. Most people would desire to be released from horrible suffering. I assume most animals do as well because they try to avoid suffering and obviously experience great discomfort and pain during it just like we do. So thinking that we can comprehend karma "maybe they are here to experience this suffering?" or rebirth "maybe if they go through this they will have a better rebirth" seems ridiculous. We can't comprehend it. We can't know it. We can't even comprehend and know our own fates, nevermind the fate of another being. Releasing them from suffering if and when we can seems the most compassionate option, including for people if they so desire to make that choice.

    I think that's well said, @karasti. Animals live in a far more 'raw' existence, and I don't think they think anything about 'why me,' like we human animals do. What they see is what they get - they don't even know it necessarily - nothing to do but accept what may befall them. The thing is we humans live in a more raw existence, but we may not really see it all that well.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @vinlyn In our family we have had different things happen with dying animals-mostly pets but sometimes wild animals too. Some pets just die suddenly. Some are ill but seem at peace so we watch and let them live out their days if they are comfortable. Some it is very clear they are miserable and look at you like "this is horrible. Help me, please." Not all animals, of course, but many we keep as pets. One can read their emotions if you pay attention. We can't ask, but we can be aware of their needs the same way we can with nonverbal people.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @silver said:
    I think that's well said, karasti. Animals live in a far more 'raw' existence, and I don't think they think anything about 'why me,' like we human animals do. What they see is what they get - they don't even know it necessarily - nothing to do but accept what may befall them. The thing is we humans live in a more raw existence, but we may not really see it all that well.

    Personally, that's why I define sentience differently than most here.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @karasti said:
    vinlyn In our family we have had different things happen with dying animals-mostly pets but sometimes wild animals too. Some pets just die suddenly. Some are ill but seem at peace so we watch and let them live out their days if they are comfortable. Some it is very clear they are miserable and look at you like "this is horrible. Help me, please." Not all animals, of course, but many we keep as pets. One can read their emotions if you pay attention. We can't ask, but we can be aware of their needs the same way we can with nonverbal people.

    That's what I'm saying. So, the question is, do you just go out and smash them with a rock?

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
    edited May 2015

    @vinlyn said:Personally, that's why I define sentience differently than most here.

    That's a bit unclear - I have no idea how you define sentience - so, how do you define it?

    eta: The smash with a rock comment seemed um a bit harsh if you know what I mean. What exactly do you mean by that?

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    Personally, and I'm not asking anyone else to agree, I take it as the ability to "emotionalize" experiences.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @vinlyn as I said in my initial response, that wouldn't have been my reaction but mostly because I have learned other ways to address such issues. Sometimes, you do the best you know how and I think that is what the OP did. I've seen many a deer get dispatched by guns after having legs broken by cars and so on. I see our DNR shoot moose with obvious neurological disease. While the rock method seems harsh, it was still probably a quicker death than being chewed alive by a cat or freezing (or cooking) on a sidewalk.

    @silver the OP stated he found an obviously very injured bird and he killed the bird with a rock.

  • 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

    @vinlyn said:
    Personally, and I'm not asking anyone else to agree, I take it as the ability to "emotionalize" experiences.

    Animals cannot have the same emotional responses as we do.
    Our problem is that when we experience emotions, we carry them on as baggage.
    Animals don't.
    They don't feel sorry for themselves, they merely experience pain and fear.

    Their brains are not advanced enough to be able to rationalise what happens to them, in an emotional sense.
    Animals live n the 'now'.
    'Now' is what is happening.
    'Now' is when the pain is felt.
    'Now' is when they are fearful.
    Thy are fearful because they have learnt to be wary of humans. They're 'wild'.
    Therefore, they fear the possibility of a current threat because often, if fatally injured, they can't flee, which is what their instinct is telling them to do. (Freeze, flight or fight. It's an instinct we all have in common.)

    So by your reckoning, animals are not sentient, because while they experience instinctive reactions, they don't build on any emotions.

    Am I correct? Is this what you're suggesting....?

  • robotrobot Veteran

    After my father's heart attack and eventual resuscitation, he was alive but unconscious. He had a respirator to help his breathing. He had suffered such loss of blood to his brain that it was assessed that he would be much different if he were to wake up.
    We decided that this should not happen to him. You could say that we had him put down with morphine.
    Some years later, we basically made the same choice for my mother. Her quality of life sucked before she collapsed. Modern medicine can people alive in horrible circumstances.
    I expect that my family will do the same for me. Hope so anyway.
    Death is certain, some times you have to intervene.

    sova
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @robot said:
    After my father's heart attack and eventual resuscitation, he was alive but unconscious. He had a respirator to help his breathing. He had suffered such loss of blood to his brain that it was assessed that he would be much different if he were to wake up.
    We decided that this should not happen to him. You could say that we had him put down with morphine.
    Some years later, we basically made the same choice for my mother. Her quality of life sucked before she collapsed. Modern medicine can people alive in horrible circumstances.
    I expect that my family will do the same for me. Hope so anyway.
    Death is certain, some times you have to intervene.

    The challenge comes with how sure the doctors are.

    My father had a massive stroke and heart attack when he was in his late 50s. He was not expected to live, and if he did they said he would be in a nursing home for the rest of his life. But, he recovered fully, with the exception of being in a conversation and every once in a while a word would escape him. For example, he might say, "Today we are in danger of being hit by a (pause) I can't think of the word, but that spinning funnel cloud." That might happen once very 20 minutes of conversation. Otherwise, he returned to a totally normal life.

    The same happened to my mother. A year after they told us it was hopeless for recovery (again from heart attack/stroke), she was vacationing in Europe.

    robot
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Every conscientious person makes the best decisions / educated guesses they can in the moment. Not every case where doctors say oh it's not very promising or it's hopeless turns out that way, of course...Some do. The old vice versa thing.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I guess my personal preference would be to let me die if that is what evidence points to, rather than risk the shell of my body being kept alive so "I" can't go anywhere. I'd rather be set free. Some people spends years in vegetative states. If there is a high chance I can't have the life I prefer to live then let me go.

    robotsova
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