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Can animals eperience enlightenment?



  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited June 2010
    mikaakim wrote: »
    My opinion or thought may not be credible as I have only been looking at Buddhism this last 5 days, but I wanted to add to this thread.

    Isn't an animal, for example my dog. More enlightened than most human Buddhists? He causes zero suffering, to himself or others. He only has love, and hates nothing. His acts are only to please others, and is completely unselfish.

    Does he not have the ultimate knowledge of living right now, and in the exact second in time, with no thoughts of God, future, death, 2 minutes, or tomorrow, only what is now! And right now, is what is important.

    If I am completely ass backwards...I am sorry.


    I think that is mostly true but he is certainly not enlightened. If you were to take his food bowl away for 10 or 20 days, he would become very hungry and would certainly suffer. Whereas if you took an enlightened beings bowl away for 10 or 20 days, they would also become very hungry but they would not suffer because of it.

    Animals do, very much so, have ultimate knowledge of living right now. However, the difference between animals and humans is that animals do not have the ability to stop desiring therefore do not have the ability to stop suffering. Since enlightenment is "no suffering", regardless of conditions, it's simply not possible for animals to attain enlightenment because it is always possible to present conditions that would cause an animal to suffer. Does that make sense? ;)
  • edited June 2010
    Perhaps animals are not enlightened as we define it, and yet their suffering usually only lasts so long as they are afflicted by that which impedes their survival/procreation. The exception is that the more advanced animals can show greater mental affliction, such as the mother elephant that mourns a great time over the loss of its child.

    If a tree would be a good example of harmony with nature, and the more complex lifeforms less-so up to humans who suffer greatly and rage against nature.....this shows a different side of Samsara than is normally presented.

    I'd have to leave it to you to think about. :)

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