Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

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Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby DeepFriedFunk » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:59 am

I'm sure some of you have seen some of my other posts. I am new to Buddhism (about 3-4 months of serious learning, it's like im standing at the bottom of a mountain and wondering which path to take atm. I practiced meditation for a long whilse but obly recently would i tick Buddhist on a form if it asked for a religion (if you get what I mean)

Now, my problem is, I have a Lizard. Beautiful little guy, a Crested Gecko with a reasonably rare pinstripe patterning.(http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af1 ... Edit-1.jpg) If you wanna see him.

I'm a diagnosed insomniac. Crested Geckos are nocturnal so I take pleasure in watching him go about his business at night under a soft blue bulb that simulates moonlight. This includes his hunting methods. He likes crickets and nothing else. I have tried him on non-live food and he wouldn't take it. He only eats fruit if i feed it to the crickets before hand (it's called gut loading). Since finding Buddhism this all seems barbaric to me. Feeding insects to be devoured by my little pet so he gets the nutrients I have fed them is very healthy for him. The little guy is in very good shape.

I have cut meat out of my diet the past month and hope to keep doing so. Only problem is that this little guy needs to eat crickets. Whilst I have read that lizards do not show affection, whilst practicing mantras he always pops over to the side of the tank to watch me... i never noticed before. But every night whilst reciting and meditating I notice he is as close to me as he can be. I left him wild because I thought he would be happier... coming over to watch me meditate and recite mantras and meditate is completely out of his nature. He normally runs away when he spots epople at night ( they have very good eye sight)

He needs to be fed. Should i sell him? I mean I'm responsible for the crickets and I treat them well and feed them but they are basically cattle. I do make sure their live's are looked after till their untimely end.

I don't want to sell him but I also want to follow my new faith. Herding crickets, feeding them, and then giving them to him to hunt seems pretty barbaric, but the animal needs that to live - i have tried him on other food suppliments but he wont take it, I guess he likes hunting. I can't bring myself to give him away.

Any Ideas guys?

(btw sorry my post are always so long winded)

Namaste,

Joshua
*edit* if it helps I do pray that they have a good passing but either way I know this is against Buddhist practice. Their life is really my responsibility... but so is Gary's (he is called Gary)
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby kirtu » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:16 am

DeepFriedFunk wrote:Now, my problem is, I have a Lizard. Beautiful little guy, a Crested Gecko with a reasonably rare pinstripe patterning.(http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af1 ... Edit-1.jpg) If you wanna see him.


I love lizards and esp. geckos. Hawaii was full of geckos and they ate lots of insects.

So you have a quandary for sure. Your gecko will *NOT* become vegetarian. Insects do experience suffering. If you gecko starves he experiences suffering. I known for a fact that some lizards do have emotional attachments. That your gecko watches you doing mantra is very promising.

So you could sell him. But will others take such good care of him? And will they form a bond with him? And will they also do mantra and prayers?

It's a difficult situation. But this is samsara.

Kirt
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby Will » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:08 am

How long might Gary live? If he is going to die in a year or three, then just apologize to the crickets and say mantras for them and keep feeding Gary. After Gary is gone, no more pets that eat beings.

If Geckos live 10 years or more, then release him. Could he survive in the wild? Whether he could or not, let him go, liberation of animals is good.

You may know that crickets are considered good luck and are kept as pets in the Orient, so too many dead crickets is not a good idea either.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:57 pm

I wouldn't worry about it.

Gary needs to eat crickets, Gary will eat crickets. If you let him loose will he still eat crickets? Of course. You have taken responsibility to raise Gary so just lump the fact that you have to raise and feed him crickets.

You reckon it's better to dump the responsibility on somebody else (sell him)? Dump the responsibility on Gary (release him)? Or take on the responsibility and deal with it in the most effective manner in which you can (keep him but be aware of the suffering being caused)?

This is samsara, samsara is suffering. You get rid of Gary today and tommorow you will have the other one hundred thousand other Garys to deal with anyway.

Sooooo...
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby Bonsai Doug » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:37 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Gary needs to eat crickets, Gary will eat crickets. If you let him loose will he still eat crickets? Of course.

Excellent! Would that it be so easy to eliminate samsara from our lives. Strive for it. But achieving it is... well, Buddhahood, I guess.
Now having obtained a precious human body,
I do not have the luxury of remaining on a distracted path.

~ Tibetan Book of the Dead
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby justsit » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:06 pm

Perhaps when you purchase crickets for Gary, you could get a few extra and release them into the wild, weather permitting.
Say some mantras and make aspirations.
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby Anders » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:11 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:I wouldn't worry about it.

Gary needs to eat crickets, Gary will eat crickets. If you let him loose will he still eat crickets? Of course. You have taken responsibility to raise Gary so just lump the fact that you have to raise and feed him crickets.

You reckon it's better to dump the responsibility on somebody else (sell him)? Dump the responsibility on Gary (release him)? Or take on the responsibility and deal with it in the most effective manner in which you can (keep him but be aware of the suffering being caused)?

This is samsara, samsara is suffering. You get rid of Gary today and tommorow you will have the other one hundred thousand other Garys to deal with anyway.

Sooooo...
:namaste:


agree with this. You've taken it upon yourself to care for a cricket eater, and I don't think Gary has much choice in the matter of eating crickets. Such is samsara. It sounds like the crickets he is gonna eat and him too will be better perpetuating their samsaric cycle under your care than if you disowned the quandary.

It is said in the vimalakirti sutra that in many world systems, Mara is actually a Bodhisattva. And I seem to recall hell tormentors are sometimes bodhisattvas too. The reasoning being I suppose, that if there are some unavoidable evils, better they be done by the merciful and compassionate than someone who likes the job.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby Bhavana » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:22 pm

Will wrote:If Geckos live 10 years or more, then release him. Could he survive in the wild? Whether he could or not, let him go, liberation of animals is good.



One of the most irresponsible things a pet owner can do is release an animal into the wild. The animal may suffer and starve because it is a pet and is used to being cared for. Also, the animal may not be able to survive in the environment that it is released into - too cold, too hot, too whatever - and will suffer and die because of it. It also may wind up as a meal for some native animal, again because it does not know the environment it has been released into, or who the predators are or how to hide from them.

An animal that is non native can wreak havoc on the native plants and animals - to the point of pushing them to the brink of extinction. Remember the brown tree snakes in Guam and all the birds they wiped out? And Florida is full of non native creatures, many of whom are there because their owners no longer wanted the expense or responsibility of caring for them, and released them into the wild. The situation with Burmese Pythons in the Everglades is out of control, and scientists are worried that these huge snakes will spread into the lower southern states before long, because they seem to be okay in cooler weather. Imagine the effects of a snake this large....

Liberation of animals is a good thing, yes, but not for animals that have been raised as pets, and not into environments where they are not supposed to be. If one feels very strongly about this, then fight the pet trade, push for tighter regulations. Stop the breeding of these creatures for money. Releasing them is not the answer, and only causes more suffering. both on the part of the animal and on the ecosystem it is being introduced to.

To the OP, I understand your dilemma. As one who has always loved all animals, I had a difficult childhood, growing up with 4 brothers who kept all kinds of snakes, lizards, and fish, many that ate live prey. Personally, I think you should just keep him, but if you do decide to give him up, try to find the best home you can for your lizard. It might take a while, but look for someone who has experience with the breed, and someone who you know will not give him away or sell him later. If you can't find a home like that for him, then just keep him yourself.
Last edited by Bhavana on Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby Bhavana » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:27 pm

justsit wrote:Perhaps when you purchase crickets for Gary, you could get a few extra and release them into the wild, weather permitting.
Say some mantras and make aspirations.


just make sure they are "native" crickets first. One does not want to be releasing crickets from Bolivia into Pennsylvania. Besides all of the other reasons in my last post, insects also carry diseases and parasites...I don't know much about crickets, but better safe than sorry.
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby Norwegian » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:39 pm

Bhavana, thank you for mentioning this.

Releasing animals into the wrong habitat is a serious crime, that Buddhists should be aware of.
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby DeepFriedFunk » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:35 pm

Wow!!! Didnt expect this many replies. I do believe he is best under my care, his terrarium is all natural with springtails, worms and woodlice to clean up the clutter, i take him for check ups with the vet and keep him good and full of calcium. The fact he hasnt dropped off his tail is a good sign (most end up dropping it at some point in a stressful situation, I dont think any have been found in the wild with fully intact tails.) The crickets live well until the unfortunate deed.

As for releasing him into the wild.. i think he'd be dead in a few hours... its winter in Britain, not really the best habitat for a gecko :P We have two species of native reptile here that i know of and I'm still not quite sure how they survive here.

I'lll just be extra compassionate to try and balance out my karma ;) I love the little guy too much to sell him. When i move countries I'll have to, or give him to my brother as I know he would take good care over him, he cares a great deal for him too.

I suppose they get their own back when because they sometimes breed in the cage and the little n's seem to find a way out. They do make me a little squeamish (I normally love insects, I have a huge passion for photographing invertebrates.) When you wake up with one next to your head chirping next to your head at 5 in the morning its scares the life outta me. And they bite sometimes. :yinyang:

I'm obviously gonna keep him i just thought it would be an interesting topic of debate. I am however going to say a prayer for them and hope they have a deserving rebirth from now on.
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:55 pm

Keep the lizard, care for the lizard well; care for the crickets well too. Let them hear mantras. Let them see Buddha images. If you have a door mantra, pass them under that a few times (the lizard too!).
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby DeepFriedFunk » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:54 pm

Jikan wrote:Keep the lizard, care for the lizard well; care for the crickets well too. Let them hear mantras. Let them see Buddha images. If you have a door mantra, pass them under that a few times (the lizard too!).


I havent been studying Buddhism that long, maybe 3 months of actually reffering to myself as buddhist. I practised mindfulness and meditation for a while before that... could you please explain what a door mantra is?
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby Dave The Seeker » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:14 am

It is a mantra hung over a doorway to bless whom/what passes under it as they walk through the door. If I'm not mistaken.
I've seen many with the Mani Mantra on them.

Kindest wishes, Dave
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One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:31 am

Yes, that's right. Here's an example. You can print it off and put it above a doorway, although you may wish to look around for a clearer version.

http://drikung.ru/index.php/en/teaching ... ion-mantra
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby SteveP » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:52 pm

You mean I have to give up eating crickets as well?!
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby DeepFriedFunk » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:06 pm

Unfortunately SteveP... you'll have to give up your habit. I actually tried them in Thailand deep fried. Not too bad... just crunchy with a bit of salt (sorry... i know this is a Buddhist forums and such things are against the Dharma, I was a lot younger)

I'm pretty good at drawing, Instead of printing it out do you think if I put the time into copying the door mantra by hand and doing my best with the Tibetan would be more beneficial for me and just in terms of the worth of the door mantra?

Or would getting the Tibetan slightly wrong completely destroy it's purpose? I often find myself practicing writing out Om Mani Padme Hum and Om Tare Tu Tare Ture Soha, at first I did it to put them on my wall with the english translation underneath to remember them. But I find it very soothing to write them out... is this good practice? And would it be good practise to make my own door mantra or print out a perfect one?


Josh.
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby Tewi » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:36 am

We are all in the same boat as your lizard. Even vegetarians kill numerous insects indirectly, due to the nature of agriculture and food processing. If you google "chocolate" and "insect parts" you may find that you have eaten more crickets (or flies, or cockroaches) than you thought! So I vote for keeping the lizard, feeding him crickets as required by his physiology, and chalking it all up to your respective karma.
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby DeepFriedFunk » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:28 am

Well... this now raises the question if every being is equal then why not eat meat? I have been trying very hard to cut it out of my diet but I have stomach problems and need to keep healthy. But I am trying to cut down on the meat... so as long as I do my best.

If we are aware of the fact that commercial farming in terms of numbers kills far more creatures than the meat industry then why not eat meat? We need sustinance, that is no lie. I know this is a big ol' can of worms. But I suppose if you can try to cut a few lives out of your diet by not eating meat then I've answered my own question... any ideas?

New post you think guys? Discuss...
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Re: Strange question... my lizard and Buddhism

Postby justsit » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:38 am

Topic has been discussed at length here.
Might be a bit difficult to digest, take small bites. :smile:
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