Author Topic: Are humans superior to animals?  (Read 8486 times)

RedLantern

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Are humans superior to animals?
« on: June 16, 2013, 02:50:03 PM »
Humans do have some very special characteristics that set us apart from other animals,some of them good,some of them not.It appears that we have more potential than any other creature can imagine.Potential to achieve both the absolute "good" and the absolute"bad".It  appears that we have the greatest capacity for evil,malicious doings.It seems that we suffer more than any other creature,look at the chaotic society we have created,it is this potential that gives us a special place in this relative world we live in. It is as if we are guardians,the  keepers of the earth with so much power and great responsibility.
Value life with great significance and I believe a human's life is,to a degree more valuable than an animal for   these  reasons.I am only postulating from my limited ,narrow human perspective and no conclusion could ever come from elsewhere.
This question will spark some controversy,I am sure that there is no absolute way of answering it.

brian

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2013, 03:20:50 PM »
As humans we are able to gain wisdom and possess the ability to learn. Human also have the ability to create merits for themselves or other sentient beings where else animals do not possess the ability for them to think before acting and hence do not have the ability to generate merits and benefit others as they do not possess the ability to think compared to humans.

dondrup

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2013, 03:49:21 PM »
The only advantage that humans have over the animals is the ability to understand and practise Dharma.  Hence humans are able to accumulate merits, purify their negative karma and to transform their minds. Animals do not have this ability.  Animals’ minds are shrouded with greater ignorance than the humans.  However, within the human realm, there are humans whose behaviours are similar to the animals!  These are the humans who do not utilise or develop the full and positive potential of their minds. These humans are born handicapped.  Some humans have used their minds ignorantly to perform negative actions like killing similar to the animals.  It is said in the Buddhist scriptures that bodhisattvas residing in some Pure Lands aspire to be reborn as humans in order to practise Highest Yoga Tantra – the quick path to full enlightenment in one single lifetime compared to a longer period to accomplish full enlightenment in a Pure Land.  Of the six realms of existence, only the human body contains the necessary components to practise the Highest Yoga Tantra. Hence, humans are considered superior to animals.

Benny

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2013, 04:12:25 PM »
Why of course humans are more superior than animals in all sense , both biologically and spiritually . That is precisely why being re born in the animal realm is considered in Buddhism,  Hinduism and Jainism, as the lower realms ! Even in Christianity , humans are considered to be superior to the extent that they believe it is their God given right to kill and consume animals as sustenance for mankind . In islam , also they believe that animals are not "created" equal to humans and as such they are sacrificed to please Allah as an act of devotion and piety and later consumed by humans , and they are considered to be blessed because of their sacrifice to sustain the meat eating humans .

The difference is that certain religions forbids the slaughter of animals for whatever purpose , such as Buddhism , due to the fact that it is a religion that emphasizes on compassion and wisdom. As such , despite the fact that Buddhism categorically states that being born human is more superior to animal rebirths , it does not automatically encourages humans to abuse and kill animals , it is a choice that every human has , thats is to choose to practice compassion and wisdom or NOT . Thats is also why humans are seen to be more superior to animals ! That is the ability to think and choose the correct path , as opposed to being animals that are controlled by their basic animal instincts to survive .

sonamdhargey

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2013, 04:14:26 PM »
The only advantage that humans have over the animals is the ability to understand and practise Dharma.  Hence humans are able to accumulate merits, purify their negative karma and to transform their minds. Animals do not have this ability.  Animals’ minds are shrouded with greater ignorance than the humans.  However, within the human realm, there are humans whose behaviours are similar to the animals!  These are the humans who do not utilise or develop the full and positive potential of their minds. These humans are born handicapped.  Some humans have used their minds ignorantly to perform negative actions like killing similar to the animals.  It is said in the Buddhist scriptures that bodhisattvas residing in some Pure Lands aspire to be reborn as humans in order to practise Highest Yoga Tantra – the quick path to full enlightenment in one single lifetime compared to a longer period to accomplish full enlightenment in a Pure Land.  Of the six realms of existence, only the human body contains the necessary components to practise the Highest Yoga Tantra. Hence, humans are considered superior to animals.

I think your statement is a sweeping statement. How do you conclude that the only advantage that all Humans are able to practice dharma or understand the Dharma? There are so many humans in this world who does not understand the Dharma and practiced against the Dharma teachings which you stated. As you said precisely that some humans are like animals and some are handicapped.  You said that only the human body contains the necessary components to practice the Highest Yogo Tantra. I begged to defer. Then how about the Daka & Dakinis? How about the Yakshas or Nagas? They are not Humans but they do have the equal potential including the animals.

samayakeeper

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2013, 04:33:30 PM »
Humans are definitely more superior to animals not just from the spiritual angle but also proven by science, logic and common knowledge and observations. Unless the movie Planet of the Apes became a reality.

Manjushri

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2013, 06:29:56 PM »
I personally do not think that humans are more superior to animals. In a world created by humans, of course it would seem that humans are more dominant, but compare it to if you put a human in the wild, like a huge vast forest, then the human becomes a tiny component of nature and are vulnerable to the animals that roam the land there.

However in the spiritual sense, it is more advantageous to be born as a human because humans have a higher chance to learn. Humans are able to practise and embark on the path towards liberation. If conditions are viable, they can learn the Dharma, help others, develop virtue, chant mantras, bless others. In that sense, humans are luckier than animals, but not more superior. Because all sentient beings are equal and deserve love, care and kindness.

fruven

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2013, 09:35:42 PM »
To think human is superior to other beings is projecting one has rights over the life of others. This will lead you to treat others differently be it animals, or even humans. I am different, I am special, I have rights, I can choose the way to live as I please. This is all self-centeredness projecting superiority over others when in fact inwardly it is also an inferiority or poor self-esteem manifesting outwardly to gain confidence. Also greed and desire is also part of the problem one is not satisfied with what we have, the desire to have more, justifying ourselves, it is our god given, human rights, whatever 'right' to have more, 'growth'. This all points to wanting more materially and is a sign that spiritually one is very depleted. The solution? Compassion and be kind towards others. Placing others' needs above one. Therefore it is not incorrect to say that in human form we have the best chances to learn and practice the Dharma. Of course there are many humans living throughout the whole planet and there is a large discrepancy in opportunity and living condition where many struggling to even stay alive because there is not enough to eat, defends oneself from others example in civil war or unrest, or just plain restricted human freedom to learn and move. Beings in other forms are definitely less fortunate in relation to human forms because they are born into at both extreme. For example beings in demi-gods suffer from extreme jealousy and anger. It is not easy to learn and practice in that state as compared to human form. There are many such beings with many different names http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exotic_tribes_of_ancient_India Why is it not easy to practice when is jealous and angersome? When one is jealous and angersome it means one has less patience. To practice one needs some amount of patience, and mental calmness. If one is easily provoke and the feelings of jealousy and angersome come up, then even one hearing the Dharma the same feelings are likely to arise.

Midakpa

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2013, 10:17:41 AM »
From the Buddhist point of view, humans live in one of the six realms of samsara, and animals occupy another realm. The reason why we can see animals and not the other beings in samsara is that, in many ways, we are a lot like animals. The difference is that as humans with the 18 opportune conditions (8 freedoms and 10 endowments), we are able to practice the Dharma and become enlightened. Animals, due to past negative karma, have to undergo much suffering until their negative karma is exhausted and are reborn as humans again. 

Are humans superior to animals? In terms of the opportunity to practice Dharma, humans are more fortunate. But in samsara, everyone is equal in the sense that one is controlled by one's karma and therefore, one can be reborn in any realm according to one's karma that ripens at the time of death.

Moreover, all beings in samsara are considered to be mother sentient beings. If we look at animals from this angle, we will never consider ourselves as "superior".

Jessie Fong

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2013, 12:04:04 AM »

For humans, their ability to understand good moral values and generate merits is my reasoning of why humans are better than animals. Humans are more inteligent to acknowledge dharma values and do have a choice to practice it to generate merits, hence able to change his own destiny ie future lives. While other values such as being attached to desire, ignorance and anger may seem that both humans and animals are of the same level, humans stands out for being able to understand and practice good value.

yontenjamyang

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2013, 07:22:45 AM »
Within the realms of samsara, the human realm is the most precious. Why precious? Precious because it is rare and hard to acquire. Rarer than any other realms. There are almost infinitely more animals, hungry ghosts and hell beings than humans. There are more demi gods and gods than humans as well. Being born as a human is part of of the 8 freedoms of the 18 opportune conditions stated in the Lamrim.

In the Lamrim, the actual training in the 3 scopes start with the heading "How to extract the essence from your optimum human rebirth" (heading 118). This underline the importance of being a human.

So this topic of "Are human superior to animals" is really an understatement of the century. Of course it is. Just ask yourself. "Would I want to be an animal?" The answer is clear.

dondrup

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2013, 06:15:03 PM »
The only advantage that humans have over the animals is the ability to understand and practise Dharma.  Hence humans are able to accumulate merits, purify their negative karma and to transform their minds. Animals do not have this ability.  Animals’ minds are shrouded with greater ignorance than the humans.  However, within the human realm, there are humans whose behaviours are similar to the animals!  These are the humans who do not utilise or develop the full and positive potential of their minds. These humans are born handicapped.  Some humans have used their minds ignorantly to perform negative actions like killing similar to the animals.  It is said in the Buddhist scriptures that bodhisattvas residing in some Pure Lands aspire to be reborn as humans in order to practise Highest Yoga Tantra – the quick path to full enlightenment in one single lifetime compared to a longer period to accomplish full enlightenment in a Pure Land.  Of the six realms of existence, only the human body contains the necessary components to practise the Highest Yoga Tantra. Hence, humans are considered superior to animals.

I think your statement is a sweeping statement. How do you conclude that the only advantage that all Humans are able to practice dharma or understand the Dharma? There are so many humans in this world who does not understand the Dharma and practiced against the Dharma teachings which you stated. As you said precisely that some humans are like animals and some are handicapped.  You said that only the human body contains the necessary components to practice the Highest Yogo Tantra. I begged to defer. Then how about the Daka & Dakinis? How about the Yakshas or Nagas? They are not Humans but they do have the equal potential including the animals.

Please refer to the page 314 of the Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand (Paperback Edition 1997) the second last paragraph which states: “The human form is also the most powerful rebirth in which to reach omniscience.  Even a beginner in this sort of rebirth can, through the secret tantric path, become enlightened in one lifetime, in the one body.  This is because one must karmically possess the six physical constituents and be born from the womb of a human of the Southern Continent.  We have received such a rebirth.

Only the human body possesses the six physical constituents i.e skin, flesh, bone, channels, winds, and drops that are necessary for the practice of Secret Mantra.

Though sentient beings of the six realms have the same buddha nature to be enlightened, based on the above paragraph from the Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, humans are superior to animals because it has the most powerful basis to reach enlightenment.

I should rephrase the phrase “The only advantage that humans have over the animals"
by saying humans have better conditions (Eight Freedoms) to practise Dharma than the animals.

pgdharma

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2013, 03:55:17 PM »
As Buddhists, we believe that humans and animals have the Buddha nature in us and all of us can be enlightened. Due to their karma they take rebirth in the lower realm as animals.
 
What is meant by 'lower' realm is not in status or honor but purely because animals experience more pain than humans, having to fight for their own survival and often being terrorized by humans, whereas humans have it a bit easier. Animals can't engage in conscious acts of self-improvement or improve their karmic status, they must continue to be reborn as animals until their bad karma is exhausted. Only when they are reborn as human beings can they resume the quest for nirvana. Humans have the ability to think and reason. We can cultivate compassion and wisdom to free ourselves from samsara.


Rihanna

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2013, 03:40:56 AM »
Humans are definitely more superior to animals not just from the spiritual angle but also proven by science, logic and common knowledge and observations. Unless the movie Planet of the Apes became a reality.

[I agree with you samayakeeper. From the Buddhist point of view, human do possess the ability to have the wisdom to understand good moral values. Whether human want to practice or not is another matter but ultimately human has wisdom. Humans have this so called advantage that makes them better than an animal. Animals meanwhile do not have the qualities that they can understand any sort of good values that can help them to generate merits by performing actions that brings good merits for them to purify their bad karma that caused them to be animals in the first place.]

Q

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Re: Are humans superior to animals?
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2013, 07:30:47 AM »
When we ask if human is superior to animals, I would say yes. Not in the way that animals are terrible etc, but in a way that when we look at the 6 realms of samsara, animals are classified in the lower realms.

Also if we look into the ability of an animal and human based on the mind and the capability of working towards enlightenment, it is very obvious that humans can practice Dharma and gain much wisdom while animals are incapable of doing so. So, yes, in that sense, the ability to gain wisdom and humans having the choice as well as capability of releasing themselves from samsara... that would be superior to that of an animal.

However, although humans are superior in that sense, it is not an excuse for us to treat animals poorly. Animals are also lives, and they too have the Buddha potential in them, it just that in this current reincarnation, they are incapable of carrying out or harnessing their enlightened potential.