This blog posting has Rinpoche's advice for benefitting pets and animals, from the book "Dear Lama Zopa." This fact is certain: People do not become saints or rinpoches by abusing animals. In fact, helping animals is a way to accumulate very good karma, and of course, animals benefit too. Conversely, killing or injuring animals creates vast amounts of bad karma. We need only consider this: Our beloved pets and all other animals desire happiness as much as we do.
Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche wrote: "Even if we do not believe wholeheartedly in karma, we should at least maintain an open - minded attitude. It is also worth considering that even if we behave as if karma were real, we would still end up living a better life than we would if we behaved as if it were untrue."
Some people do not believe in karma. They do as they please . . . and then wonder why bad things happen to them. These people want to feel good about themselves no matter how much misery they inflict on other beings. Yet these same people cannot be absolutely certain that karma is a myth. These same people cannot prove that karma is unreal.
I've spent hundreds of hours in the company of Hindu saints and Tibetan rinpoches, and NOT once did they even suggest harming ANY sentient being. Reciting mantras or playing recordings of mantras - Tibetan Buddhist mantras and/or Hindu mantras - plants positive karmic imprints in the minds of animals and people. This is an easy, painless way to give animals positive karmic imprints for their future rebirths; these positive imprints will ripen in the animals' future incarnations.
- by Scott Palczak
From the book "DEAR LAMA ZOPA - Radical Solutions for Transforming Problems into Happiness":
Introduction to "Dear Lama Zopa": This is a book of letters to people all over the world from Lama Zopa Rinpoche in response to requests for advice about their problems. Every word of advice Rinpoche gives is based on teachings of the Buddha.
Rinpoche is a master of the techniques that enable us to achieve what Buddha asserts is our innate potential for perfection, enlightenment.
The development of the mind in this way is not a mystical process, a hit - and - miss affair, which is often the way spiritual development is depicted.
According to Buddha:
It is a doable, rigorous, step - by - step procedure,
Doable by everyone,
That brings genuine, stable results:
huge affection and empathy for others and the yearning to benefit them, and the unfailing ability to do so.
Rinpoche is the spiritual director of a worldwide network of Buddhist centers and activities: The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). Rinpoche travels throughout the year, teaching at his centers and overseeing his projects, such as the building of the 500-foot statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha, in northern India. He also spends several months a year in meditation retreat.
Like many great masters, Rinpoche is skilled at recommending appropriate Tibetan herbal medicine. Along with appropriate practices and advice, Rinpoche often sends a book, blessed pills, a calendar, or other gifts as well. Letters rarely take less than 2 hours to answer, and sometimes they can be as long as 30 pages, written over several days. - from the introduction to the book "Dear Lama Zopa"
LAMA ZOPA QUOTE:
"We call our dog Om Mani Padme Hum, the compassion mantra. Each time she hears her name it plants the seed for the whole path to enlightenment in her mind, leaving a positive imprint. This is such an easy way to benefit animals.
Reciting prayers and mantras into my pet's ears leaves imprints in her mind that ripen in her future life, causing her to receive spiritual teachings."
LAMA ZOPA'S LETTER to JAMES:
My Dear James,
You're right. It's not enough that you look after animals and that they give you comfort. You must do something of practical benefit for them. You can recite prayers or mantras in her ears to plant the seed of all the realizations of the path to enlightenment. Or you can play CDs of prayers and mantras so that she can hear them.
My dog is old now. When it comes time for her to die, I'd rather not have to put her down, but I really want to help her. Please tell me some practices I can do that will help her mind then. And what can I do to help once she is dead?
What you can do for your dog when she is dying is keep her in a quiet place where she won't be disturbed. Then you can do either of the following:
Perform Medicine Buddha practice, visualizing the seven Medicine Buddhas on the crown of the animal, absorbing into the animal.
After she has died you can:
recite the Chenrezig mantra and other mantras and then blow strongly over her body after each mantra.
LAMA ZOPA'S LETTER to MARY:
One of the things you can do for animals and insects is to save them from being killed. I started a particular tradition of liberating animals in which we set animals free in a safe environment. At our house, we have three or four animal - liberation practices every month.
But not only do we simply save their lives. We carry them around a stupa as many times as possible. We chant mantras and blow on water, which we then sprinkle on them, and then we liberate them into water or the earth, according to the kinds of creatures they are. Not only does this liberate them from the lower realms, but it also creates the cause for their enlightenment. If you don't have a stupa you can put many holy objects such as Buddha images and texts, on a table in the middle of a room.
While carrying the insects or animals, walk around the table as many times as you like, reciting mantras or other prayers.
Like us, all beings want happiness and do not want suffering, problems, or discomfort.
LETTER to TERRI IRWIN, WIDOW of "THE CROCODILE HUNTER," STEVE IRWIN
My Very Dear Terri,
I am sending you my condolences for our dear Steve Irwin, who is known to the world as "The Crocodile Hunter" - maybe even known to the snakes and crocodiles as well.
I watched Steve Irwin so many times on television, for so many years: Steve catching snakes and crocodiles, letting them go, and also helping them, and all his incredible excitement. It made me curious when I was watching him, his being very active, how his life would end, whether one day he would be killed by one of those animals.
When I heard the news I immediately did prayers, chanting many mantras and prayers for him, purifying anything that causes suffering. I made prayers for the best things to happen to him. You and your family must be very sad, but since you have a strong bond with him, according to Buddhist philosophy you have created the cause to meet him again.
He may not reincarnate in the same shape or body, but, like the flame of a candle, when you light another from it, the flame continues.
Please continue your good heart, bringing peace to the world, to human beings - and to the animals, who are the largest number in the world when compared with humans. Continue to give your love to them.
- With much love and prayers, Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Chenrezig Mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum:
17th Karmapa chants the Medicine Buddha Mantra: