Are animals mindful?

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Are animals mindful?

Postby SeekerNo1000003 » Thu May 22, 2014 9:25 pm

mindfulness-300x200.jpg
mindfulness-300x200.jpg (14.26 KiB) Viewed 196 times
My question is really an excuse to share with a funny picture.
But since I asked...what do you think?
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Re: Are animals mindful?

Postby Mother's Lap » Thu May 22, 2014 9:55 pm

The realm of animals is generally considered the realm of ignorance and confusion.
The path of analytical reasoning is precise and acute—
But it’s just more delusion, good for nothing goat-shit.
The oral instructions are very profound
But not if you don’t put them into practice.
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Re: Are animals mindful?

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu May 22, 2014 9:58 pm

"Animal" is sort of a vague, blanketed and overarching term which is commonly used for pretty much any 'earthly' sentient being which isn't a human being.

Excerpt from the synopsis of Jacques Derrida's The Animal That Therefore I Am:
"The book is at once an affectionate look back over the multiple roles played by animals in Derrida's work and a profound philosophical investigation and critique of the relegation of animal life that takes place as a result of the distinction - dating from Descartes - between man as thinking animal and every other living species. That starts with the very fact of the line of separation drawn between the human and the millions of other species that are reduced to a single; the animal."

So 'animal' is misleading relegation which stems from our own anthropocentrism as human beings. In order to explore this topic in a valuable way you would surely have to address different species or classes of beings in a more precise manner. For instance, according to the general 'animal' classification (in its conditioned, subconscious and anthropocentric expression), a mouse and a dolphin are equivalent. However we know that they (a mouse and a dolphin) are both vastly different in capacity and nature. Dolphins and whales have exhibited advanced forms of communication between members of their pods, along with clearly calculated and strategic behavior depending on the circumstances. Not to mention the expression of emotions much like our own. If these examples are not evidence of something equivalent to what we refer to as 'thought-processes' in our own species, I'm not sure what would be.

Either way though, it is an interesting topic no doubt, and should make for a good discussion.
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Re: Are animals mindful?

Postby Jesse » Thu May 22, 2014 10:10 pm

Emakirikiri wrote:The realm of animals is generally considered the realm of ignorance and confusion.


It's weird, my dog does't really seem ignorant and confused. He's happy much more often than I am, knows when im upset and generally comforts me.
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Are animals mindful?

Postby reddust » Thu May 22, 2014 10:25 pm

I grew up with wild and domesticated animals. The animals I knew were very mindful of social status, predators, food, shelter, the weather, routines, they all had different personalities and complex forms of communication. They use scent, body position and vocal sounds to communicate and in a way growing up with them I learned their language and they learned mine, except they couldn't speak English :tongue: Most of my animal friends knew far more about what was going on with me then I knew about them because they could smell my feelings before I could think about my feelings.

Animals are mindful of all these things to do with their life because they can easily die and are very alert about staying alive. An example a squirrel is very mindful where it is stashed it cache of nuts. I don't see my animal friends going through the anxiety of identity unless they have been abused. Then they act very much like human beings. Throughout my childhood and as an adult we took in abused horses and dogs, especially old ones.

Whether they are mindful of their Buddha Nature, I'm not a Buddha so I wouldn't know. :namaste:
Mind and mental events are concepts, mere postulations within the three realms of samsara Longchenpa .... A link to my Garden, Art and Foodie blog Scratch Living
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Re: Are animals mindful?

Postby Mother's Lap » Thu May 22, 2014 10:39 pm

Jesse wrote:
Emakirikiri wrote:The realm of animals is generally considered the realm of ignorance and confusion.


It's weird, my dog does't really seem ignorant and confused. He's happy much more often than I am, knows when im upset and generally comforts me.

Ignorant as in avidya/maripga, not because they don't know 7x7 or are unaware of their surroundings.

reddust wrote:Whether they are mindful of their Buddha Nature, I'm not a Buddha so I wouldn't know.

But the Buddhas do know, and they say it is so. :P
The path of analytical reasoning is precise and acute—
But it’s just more delusion, good for nothing goat-shit.
The oral instructions are very profound
But not if you don’t put them into practice.
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Re: Are animals mindful?

Postby reddust » Thu May 22, 2014 10:53 pm

Emakirikiri wrote:
reddust wrote:Whether they are mindful of their Buddha Nature, I'm not a Buddha so I wouldn't know.

But the Buddhas do know, and they say it is so. :P


I remember a story about a frog and a Mahasiddha, alas I can't remember the Mahasiddha's name or the title of the story. The Mahasiddha was giving a Dharma talk and with his walking stick struck it to the ground to make a point and unknowingly killed a frog. The frog had been listening to the talk and had understood at the moment the walking stick killed him. He was reborn a human...poor frog :tongue:
Mind and mental events are concepts, mere postulations within the three realms of samsara Longchenpa .... A link to my Garden, Art and Foodie blog Scratch Living
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Re: Are animals mindful?

Postby Mother's Lap » Thu May 22, 2014 11:00 pm

Oh definitely, rigpa isn't due to understanding words (not that it doesn't help) but through direct introduction, and you can't get it more direct than being hit by a Mahasiddha. :)

Every sentient being has the capacity for rigpa, it's just that certain forms have less capacity than others.

Additionally us ordinary folk can predispose animals to receiving the teachings (and more immediately gaining merit) through certain mantras and such implanting in their mindstreams.
The path of analytical reasoning is precise and acute—
But it’s just more delusion, good for nothing goat-shit.
The oral instructions are very profound
But not if you don’t put them into practice.
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Re: Are animals mindful?

Postby reddust » Thu May 22, 2014 11:23 pm

Emakirikiri wrote:Oh definitely, rigpa isn't due to understanding words (not that it doesn't help) but through direct introduction, and you can't get it more direct than being hit by a Mahasiddha. :)

Every sentient being has the capacity for rigpa, it's just that certain forms have less capacity than others.

Additionally us ordinary folk can predispose animals to receiving the teachings (and more immediately gaining merit) through certain mantras and such implanting in their mindstreams.


I chant mantras whilst working with my plants and chickens. MIna our watchdog can samadhi on fetching a ball, I am not kidding! :twothumbsup:
Mind and mental events are concepts, mere postulations within the three realms of samsara Longchenpa .... A link to my Garden, Art and Foodie blog Scratch Living
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Re: Are animals mindful?

Postby Wayfarer » Fri May 23, 2014 11:39 am

Animals are extremely mindful in the sense of being attuned to their environment. Predatory animals are totally aware of their surroundings in ways that no human could be; I often observe Australian magpies and kookaburras hunting, and their reflexes are amazing. But an animal is not generally capable of reflective self-awareness in the way humans are. That has an upside, because they never feel sorry for themselves, but also a downside, because they have neither the incentive nor intelligence to pursue the path. The reason why human birth is precious, is that humans are better able to understand and respond to the Dharma. Although that said, there are many tales of virtuous animals in Buddhist legend, like the various animals the Buddha was born as in earlier births. Then there is the lovely Buddha's Law among the Birds:

The Buddha’s Law Among the Birds records a series of teachings given by the Lord Avalokiteshvara to an enormous assembly of birds, who come from all the world’s corners to listen to him. The bodhisattva himself is in the form of a cuckoo, and the uniqueness of the poem lies with the instruction of the birds into the Buddhist way of life. 1


Actually speaking of animals, one of these has moved into our yard:

Image

It's a diamond python (also known as a carpet snake), well over two meters long, quite a specimen. They are non-venomous and fairly docile, and actually the southern-most python in the world. My wife is worried it will attack the dog, although as the dog is >11 kilos, so I think he will be able to look after himself.

Oh, and the python seems extremely mindful.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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