Author Topic: Buddhist attitude towards animal life  (Read 11843 times)

RedLantern

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Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« on: June 17, 2012, 04:36:52 PM »
IF WE believe that animals were created by someone for men,it would follow that men were also created for animals since some animals do not eat human flesh.Animals are said to be conscious only of the present.They live with no concern for the past or future.Buddha was very clear in his teachings against any form of cruelty to any living being.Man's cruelty towards animals is another expression of his uncontrolled  greed.
Since every creature contributes something for the maintanence of the planet and atmosphere,destroying them is not a solution to overcome our disturbances.We should take other measures to maintain the balance of nature.Our environment is threatened and if we do not take stern measures for the survival of other creatures.our own existence on this earth  may not be guaranteed.

Aurore

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2012, 05:57:06 PM »
Anyways, to share with everyone this heart wrecking video called Earthlings to experience more about how animals are being treated by humankind. ---> www.earthlings.com. This is very much like what you have stated here Red Lantern.

You don't have to be a Buddhist to be kind to animals. The attitude should transcend all religion and races that animals are NOT created to be consumed for our taste and entertainment. To say that animals are created for men is very much an excuse to use animals for our own benefits. It is purely selfishness to think that we have full authority over animals and can do whatever we like to them.

Vajraprotector

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2012, 04:04:26 PM »
All living things fear being beaten with clubs.
All living things fear being put to death.
Putting oneself in the place of the other,
Let no one kill nor cause another to kill.

Dhammapada 129


Animals and us are the same, we both have Buddha nature and the possibility of becoming perfectly enlightened. Hence, we should treat all living beings with equal respect.

The doctrine of Right Livelihood teaches Buddhists to avoid any work connected with the killing of animal, so it's very clear that we should not just take them for granted. The doctrine of karma teaches that any wrong behaviour will have to be paid for in a future life - so cruel acts to animals should be avoided.

Because non-human animals can't engage in conscious acts of self-improvement they can't improve their karmic status, and their souls must continue to be reborn as animals until their bad karma is exhausted. Some are of the opinion that since they are inferior to human beings and so were entitled to fewer rights than human beings. Yes, they are spiritually inferior but that shouldn't be used as a justification for the exploitation and mistreatment of animals.  Instead, we should be more compassionate and take care or help them because they can't help themselves.

dsiluvu

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2012, 08:36:44 PM »
As Buddhist we are being taught that we are to love all sentient beings as if they are our mothers in previous life. So if you kill or be unkind to an animal... isn't it like being unkind and killing one's own mother? I think so.

We talk so much about kindness and compassion but when it comes to animals... why is there a difference. I have seen many Buddhist thinking this way... in fact they would use the silly logic where even vegetarians or eating vegetables is also killing. In that sense better don't breath cos there sure is a lot of unseen micro bacteria/viruses in the air!

By now killing or eating meat is the first step of practicing compassion in a gross level. By taking a pledge and vow in front of Buddha, then every day we do not eat rotten flesh/ we do not kill direct n indirect we create tremendous amount of merits and this can be dedicated to our love ones for their good health n long life! That is d reason we take vegetarian vows when some love ones is sick or who has passed away and also releasing of animals... you give life you get life. It is a simple cause and effect concept.

yontenjamyang

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2012, 08:11:34 AM »
If we believe in Karma then we must believe in past lives. If we believe in past life then we must believe the we had infinite number of past lives. If we believe is all this past lives, then we must ask ourselves and reflect in the following way;

"if these infinite number of past lives, we must have a mother. Where are my mothers now? They are actually everywhere. All sentient beings have been my mother. All humans and animals were my mothers. How can we kill or eat our mothers?"

This is the buddhist attitude towards animal life.

Positive Change

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2012, 02:14:37 PM »
Anyways, to share with everyone this heart wrecking video called Earthlings to experience more about how animals are being treated by humankind. ---> www.earthlings.com. This is very much like what you have stated here Red Lantern.

You don't have to be a Buddhist to be kind to animals. The attitude should transcend all religion and races that animals are NOT created to be consumed for our taste and entertainment. To say that animals are created for men is very much an excuse to use animals for our own benefits. It is purely selfishness to think that we have full authority over animals and can do whatever we like to them.


Thank you Aurore for bringing up the documentary Earthlings. It is most pertinent to this post. I have seen it quite a few times and each time I cringe not only at the horrific real life images on the screen but also at the thought of how we as a human race have degraded ourselves to such mundane, selfish, ignorant and COLD sentient being.

I use the word "we" carefully because it is a collective fault. Every time we put the carcass of an animal inour mouths we contribute to the horrors we see in the documentary. Yes it is a carcass! You can cook it, put any sauce on it, marinate it, whatever, it is still a dead animal. And the very fact that we need to do all that to make it palatable speaks volumes already!!!!

In the documentary it highlights the different and varying levels of abuse of animals we as the so called intelligent life form are creating. For those who have not seen it, you have to... see for yourselves what we have become. But it is not too late, we can change.... change for the better. Start by being vegetarian! :)

Big Uncle

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2012, 03:07:31 PM »
IF WE believe that animals were created by someone for men,it would follow that men were also created for animals since some animals do not eat human flesh.Animals are said to be conscious only of the present.They live with no concern for the past or future.Buddha was very clear in his teachings against any form of cruelty to any living being.Man's cruelty towards animals is another expression of his uncontrolled  greed.
Since every creature contributes something for the maintanence of the planet and atmosphere,destroying them is not a solution to overcome our disturbances.We should take other measures to maintain the balance of nature.Our environment is threatened and if we do not take stern measures for the survival of other creatures.our own existence on this earth  may not be guaranteed.

I think we are all afflicted by mass ignorance. Just because we don't normally see the horrors and sufferings of an animal farm doesn't mean we don't contribute towards it when we place meat into our mouths. Karma is a blind to our ignorance and today, with all the varieties of food available, we don't have any more excuses not to be vegetarian. It's just so easy to stop this contribution towards hurting animals by changing our food menu.

This is especially true if we call ourselves Buddhists and we truly wish to practice compassion, we have to stop all means of hurting others. A meat-based diet is one major avenue that makes our practice of compassion superficial and perhaps even hypocritical. If we just watch documentaries like Earthlings, it opens our eyes to the suffering we have been contributing all along. Therefore, if we truly want to call ourselves Buddhist and we really want to practice compassion, vegetarianism is absolutely necessary.

 

biggyboy

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2012, 09:03:33 PM »
Just because the animals are born in their way of shape and form, does not warrant us the humans to discriminate them as different from them. They have feelings too but they can't express the way humans can. Animals have the rights to live and not to be killed or slaughtered to satisfy our human's greed and selfish means.  Why should the concern towards animals are only to Buddhist?  Shouldn't other faith/religion to do the same in not killing them?  Again it would seem to view it again as discrimination.

If one believe in the law of karma and rebirth, one would not engage in this killing for we and animals are interconnected.  Without each other we would not be here in existence.  When we kill we are actually killing and consuming our "mothers".  Imagine that! Would we want to?  Be proud to be a vegetarian and be kind to others be they humans or animals.

Midakpa

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2012, 12:54:40 PM »
The Buddhist attitude towards animals is one of compassion for other living beings who, like us, are also suffering. Therefore, we try to avoid killing living beings when we take the first precept. There is also the emphasis that everything is interdependent, thus we should protect the animals to avoid their becoming extinct. This is based on the belief that our existence depends on the existence of others. Due to ignorance and greed, humans kill animals to make all kinds of products. In samsara, it is impossible to live without being indirectly responsible for the death of some other beings. This is the first Noble Truth, that ordinary existence is suffering and unsatisfactory.

rossoneri

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2012, 02:05:37 PM »
As a Buddhist we should develop a sense of compassion towards animals, i mean really, most of us will sign a petition against animal cruelty against pets but what about all those animals in the farm waiting to be slaughter? Do we not consider them as an animal? Or we already developed a mindset by simply considered them as food and not a living beings? I am so sorry for those who failed to realized this. Remember not too long ago whereby a puppy was abused by its owner which gone viral and people started to vote against the cruelty against the owner? Sorry to say, in my opinion those who voted and at the same time having meat on their dining table were a bunch of hypocrites. Do we practice compassion only when we feels like it or strictly based on appearances?

bambi

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2012, 02:18:04 PM »
I agree with what Rossoneri said and thank you for the video Aurore. It was really heart breaking to watch the documentary. I mean there are many people out there who can get so hyped up when a video about animal abuse go viral and after some time, it just dies out. Come on.. People can do much better than that. There are friends on my FB that ask me to sign petition against people who abuse animals, help a dog or cat, etc but they can turn around and eat other meat because their perception is, that it is okay to eat other animals that are not so cute? Sigh! ???

dsiluvu

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2012, 02:45:16 PM »
Here is an interesting view I gathered from someone who happens to think otherwise based on a simple billboard I put up for discussion on choices we make about who we eat. What do you guys this of his comments?
Quote
The meat available in the marketplace is an inanimate object, not a living thing and, therefore, cannot be an object of compassion.

What many people fail to see is that it is nothing beyond that. It is simply a personal choice one makes as to ones diet. It has no moral, ethical, virtuous, or spiritual implications. The Buddha himself explained this quite clearly even establishing for Ordained Sangha rules specifying the conditions under which monastics should obtain their meat. They may not have been a participant in, or witness to, the slaughter, and may not suspect that the butcher slaughtered that particular animal exclusively for consumption by monastics. Beyond these restrictions {which only apply to monastics} there are no moral or ethical problems related to the consumption of meat. This is the teaching of the Buddha !
With respect to the notion of being vegetarian on the basis of it being an act of compassion, my Lama taught thusly: Once an animal has been slaughtered, from the actual moment of it's death, it is no longer a living being. Its "being" has ceased and the remaining physical body IS an inanimate object {i.e. not a living thing}. An inanimate object cannot be an object of compassion. To think differently is to misunderstand the teaching of the Buddha.

This is an often misunderstood topic {the relationship bet. Buddhism and Vegetarianism} and that misunderstanding has been exacerbated both by later period Mahayana scholars and a general public ignorance of Buddhist ideas. And it was to others who might be reading our comments that my remarks were directed. The message and intent of the billboard is quite obvious and the parallel that it is trying to draw {that if you eat meat, you love some animals and not others} is not only completely wrong {even from a Buddhist perspective} it is divisive speech intended to marginalize and condemn those who do not agree with vegetarian ideas.

There is a widespread misconception that Buddhism and a vegetarian diet have some unique relationship. Some Buddhists are vegetarians, though the vast majority of them are not. Other than that, there is no unique relationship between the two. In the first millennium after the parinirvana of Shakyamuni and at least once in the 20th century, there were attempts by some Mahayana scholars to push a vegetarian agenda. Devadatta {Shakyamuni's cousin} tried to do this during Buddha's lifetime, even trying to wrest control of the Holy Sangha from the Buddha. The Buddha rejected this and it cost Devadatta his relationship with both the Buddha and the Sangha. My Lama said that there were often attempts by later Mahayana scholars to create an new "clarification" of the Buddha's teachings on certain topics and creating the impression that eating meat is not in harmony with the Bodhisattva Idea was one of these. He further stated that when later writings, esp. among the Mahayana scholars, are in direct conflict with or contradict the teaching of Shakyamuni, the work of the scholars is to be understood to be incorrect and disregarded.

AnneQ

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2012, 01:59:39 PM »
The Buddhist attitude towards animals is one of compassion for other living beings who, like us, are also suffering. Therefore, we try to avoid killing living beings when we take the first precept. There is also the emphasis that everything is interdependent, thus we should protect the animals to avoid their becoming extinct. This is based on the belief that our existence depends on the existence of others. Due to ignorance and greed, humans kill animals to make all kinds of products. In samsara, it is impossible to live without being indirectly responsible for the death of some other beings. This is the first Noble Truth, that ordinary existence is suffering and unsatisfactory.
Yes I agree with this. As long as it breathes, eats and sleeps, one should always have compassion for the living and respect them as such. So killing them is not an option and should never be. By not doing so (ie. not killing animals) and becoming vegetarian is the first basic step towards reducing our negative karma and gaining merits for the benefit of other living beings sharing Mother Earth and the same resources as us humans.

Tenzin K

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2012, 02:12:01 PM »
Buddhism affirms the unity of all living beings, all equally posses the Buddha-nature, and all have the potential to become Buddhas, that is, to become fully and perfectly enlightened. Among the sentient, there are no second-class citizens. According to Buddhist teaching, human beings do not have a privileged, special place above and beyond that of the rest of life. The world is not a creation specifically for the benefit and pleasure of human beings.

Furthermore, in some circumstances according with their karma, humans can be reborn as humans and animals can be reborn as humans. In Buddhism the most fundamental guideline for conduct is ahimsa-the prohibition against the bringing of harm and/or death to any living being. Why should one refrain from killing? It is because all beings have lives; they love their lives and do not wish to die. Even one of the smallest creatures, the mosquito, when it approaches to bite you, will fly away if you make the slightest motion. Why does it fly away? Because it fears death. It figures that if it drinks your blood, you will take its life. . . . We should nurture compassionate thought. Since we wish to live, we should not kill any other living being.

The karma of killing is understood as the root of all suffering and the fundamental cause of sickness and war, and the forces of killing are explicitly identified with the demonic. The highest and most universal ideal of Buddhism is to work unceasingly for permanent end to the suffering of all living beings, not just humans.

brian

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Re: Buddhist attitude towards animal life
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2012, 02:28:38 PM »
IF WE believe that animals were created by someone for men,it would follow that men were also created for animals since some animals do not eat human flesh.Animals are said to be conscious only of the present.They live with no concern for the past or future.Buddha was very clear in his teachings against any form of cruelty to any living being.Man's cruelty towards animals is another expression of his uncontrolled  greed.
Since every creature contributes something for the maintanence of the planet and atmosphere,destroying them is not a solution to overcome our disturbances.We should take other measures to maintain the balance of nature.Our environment is threatened and if we do not take stern measures for the survival of other creatures.our own existence on this earth  may not be guaranteed.

I agree with this statement. People tend to relate animals and human in a food chain. This is a misleading thought of the past that animals are born to be enslaved and eaten by humans. It should be easier to say now that We are all but one common beings that live on Earth and we are Earthlings. We rely on each other to survive in this planet. Ecosystem.

There is a purpose for every being to be living in this world and animals also have a Buddha nature in them. They generally do not harm humans if they are not provoked into. But animals who have no chance of thinking do not have the wisdom to tell them they are not supposed to eat humans. Creatures like tigers, cheetahs etc. are meat eaters and they are born to kill for food.

So when we eat meat or kill for meat, doesn't that mean we are like animals too? Scientists have proved that being a vegetarian is not going to harm one's body and results/test have shown that there are substitutes vitamins for human to eat on if they turn to vegetarian.

Shaolin masters for goodness' sake in China do not eat meat but they are good in martial arts, so how do we explain that?