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Buddhism on Benefiting Dying Animals

Buddhism on Benefiting Dying Animals

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Buddhist Advice on Benefiting Dying Animals

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche

If you love your animal very much, then this is what you must do for them for their good rebirth and quick liberation from samsara.

When the animal is dying or has died

Recite mantras: OM MANI PADME HUM, Heruka mantras, and other mantras such as Milarepa and Namgyälma mantras. Recite the mantras and blow over the body. You can recite the long mantras 21 times or more and the short mantras one mala or more. Blow strongly on the body after each time, or you can blow on water, visualizing each deity absorbed into the water; each drop has the power to purify negative karmas. Then pour the water on the animal; all negative karmas are purified.

When the animal is dying, you can do the Medicine Buddha practice as outlined in the small book, visualizing the seven Medicine Buddhas on the animal’s crown. Then you can also do the Thirty-five Buddhas practice, with nectar coming and purifying the negative karma, taking strong refuge to the Thirty-five Buddhas to protect and guide.

There’s a mantra paper to put on dead bodies to purify. You can get this from the FPMT Foundation Store. This is written specially to put right on the body — put it right on the skin, on the forehead, or the chest.

Benefiting Dying Animals-according to Buddhism

When the animal is dying or even after the breath has stopped, if you have some sand from a Kalachakra sand mandala, you can mix it with butter and put it on the crown. Each sand grain has numberless buddhas abiding in it. It’s especially good if it is blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Then burn the body. If there is a good practitioner or a lama available to do the Jang-wa puja, then do that when the body is being burned. After the body is burned, keep some bones, and if possible, do Jang-wa again on the bones. Crush the bones and make powder. Mix with other material and make a stupa or more than one stupa. Put the stupa in a garden if you have one, and then flowers can be offered to the stupa. Dedicate to your animal for a good rebirth and enlightenment.

Benefiting Dying Animals

What you can do for your animals in everyday life

It’s not enough that you keep the animals, and they give you comfort. You must do something of practical benefit for them. This is what you can do every day:

Take them around holy objects — circumambulate. Every day you can put on a table many tsa-tsas and statues and take the animal around, chanting mantras at the same time. This way, it also helps the person who carries the animal around.

Recite prayers in their ears, verbally, to plant the seed of all the realizations of the path to enlightenment.

This makes a huge difference. It has an inconceivable result, unbelievable result. That makes them have a good rebirth next life, born as a human being and meet the Dharma.

Buddhism and Animal Enlightened path

There was a story when Buddha gave teachings to 500 swans in the field. The next life they were born as human beings became monks. They all became Arya beings, able to achieve the cessation of suffering and the true path.

So, the result is unbelievable, just by hearing Dharma’s words.

Vasubandhu was reciting the Abhidharmakosha, and a pigeon on the roof listened to this every day. One day the pigeon died, and Vasubandhu checked to see where he was born. It was in a family who lived down below in the valley. He saw the child and asked if he could have him, and the family gave him to Vasubandhu. The child became a monk named Lobpön Loden and became an expert on the text he had heard when he was a pigeon. He wrote four commentaries on that text. Therefore, it’s essential to recite lam-rim prayers and mantras — at least the mantras — to animals.

It’s also extremely good before you give them their food, to bless it. If you can’t do it at every meal, then you can bless it all at once. Recite the five powerful mantras if you know them; otherwise, recite OM MANI PADME HUM, Medicine Buddha, and Milarepa mantras. All this has power; it helps those who eat it not get reborn in the lower realms, blesses their mind, and purifies their negative karma. If you can, do it every time you feed them — recite the mantras and blow on the food. This is the most significant present you can give them: good rebirth, finish samsara, liberation, and the positive imprint of the Mahayana teachings and mantras to lead to enlightenment.

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Animals inside the Buddhist Practice

Especially for Buddhists who have animals, it should be different for their future rebirth when the animals die. So, one should attempt to have a special rebirth for them. That’s what I asked the people who took care of our dogs at Tushita in Dharamsala to do.

Many years ago, Ven. Tseyang-la, who is a translator at many centers and built the Kopan nunnery. There was also  Maureen, a student from New Zealand who taught at Kopan for quite several years and then worked very hard at Tushita.

They asked me to recite the Maitreya Buddha prayer and mantra, the Lama Tsongkhapa praise to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha Having Found the Realization of Dependent Arising and other prayers and mantras to the dogs while holding a biscuit in hand, so everyone waits, like listening to the teachings, eyes looking at the biscuit and everyone is humbly sitting, like respectfully listening to teachings, all their eyes looking at the biscuit. We gave some of the dogs away, and along with the dogs was the commitment to recite a lam-rim prayer or mantras. Some people did it for years. One lady from either the British or Italian Embassy in Delhi, who wasn’t a Buddhist, did the lam-rim prayer The Foundation of All Good Qualities every day for years.

For further advice on benefiting animals, see Practices to Benefit Animals and Benefiting Animals in Rinpoche’s Online Advice Book.

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