Dog and Cat Dharma: Did Buddha Teach That Dogs and Cats Have Buddha Nature? How Can You Help Your Companion Meet the Dharma in Daily Life?

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    I saw a sparkling moment of real Doggy Dharma last weekend. At a Medicine Buddha retreat, a nice couple brought along their beloved 15 month-old pup. My kind teacher, Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, smiled as they lifted the pup for a blessing after the teachings. I had brought along my bell and vajra for blessing. Others, their mala. I didn’t even think of bringing my doggie companion!

    After the final blessings, Rinpoche played with this cute little dog on the floor and hugging him in his arms. The smiles on both of their faces conveyed real-life Dharma in practice. 


    From a Buddhist point of view, dogs, cats, companion animals — in fact all animals and sentient life — are equally precious. According to Buddha Dharma, all sentient beings also have Buddha Nature — the potential to eventually become enlightened.

    Theodore Tsaousidis, a teacher with Medicine Buddha Toronto, said, “If we accept that all beings have Buddha nature, then the greatest goal in life is to see our true nature and then help others to also realize their true nature.” [5]

    My Own Experience with Doggie Dharma

    Dog companions have always been a part of my life — together with cats and horses. From my own experience, I notice remarkable changes in behavior and attention around all of my companions when I chant Tara or Medicine Buddha mantras. I have nursed many of my companions through sickness and old age, and ultimate passing — my two beautiful Dalmations DJ and Portia at the ripe ages of 16 and 17, true Dharma dogs who would sit by the altar when I practiced.


    toffee polo
     Toffee and Polo (Newfoundland a little behind!) out for a run on the farm with the author. They were “Dharma Dogs” who sat by the author as he practiced, listened to endless mantras, and just enjoyed life. Both have passed to the Pure Land after long, fulfilling lives.


    Years later, my beautiful Newfoundland, Polo, exemplified the Buddha Nature in dogs. He was a gentle giant, the size of a miniature horse, with a massive jaw and teeth — but so gentle I’d trust a toddler with him, even one prone to pulling tails. He literally grinned wherever he went. There was never a moment of sadness in those alert almost-human eyes. He was so happy and fulfilled in his life, living on the farm with the horses and cats with his “sister” Toffee (German Shepherd). All-day long, he’d sit by my side as I typed, craving attention, a happy walk, and listening to my mantras. If I didn’t let him in the meditation room (usually I would) he’d patiently wait outside the door and listen to the mantras. After he passed, as I do with my closest companions, I mourned for 49 days in the traditional style, dedicating the merit to his auspicious human rebirth or rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land.


    Buddha Weekly DJ and Portia as puppies Buddhism
    The author’s earlier doggie companions DJ and Portia as puppies. (They had posed here for a brochure shot for an agency — although posed is too strong a word. As you can see, they never stood still!) They lived very long Doggie Dharma lives.

    I have no doubts that they participated in my Dharma practice. They were fully at attention, watching with alert eyes, as I did my practices.

    What do I say about the cats? They jump up on the altar, knock things over, but they always hover around and tune in to the practice, usually falling asleep halfway through — or are they meditating?


    Buddha Weekly Pumpkin cat and the birds Buddhism
    Pumpkin, one of the author’s current companions, despite her love of “birds” — in picture she is “staring” at the birds (on the tablet screen)—  has a gentle Buddha Nature as well.


    Lama Zopa Rinpoche: “The Teaching to 500 Swans”

    Lama Zopa Rinpoche, in a teaching on “animals in everyday life” wrote: “There is a story when Buddha gave teachings to 500 swans in the field and the next life they were born as human beings, became monks, and 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 words.” This teaching illustrates that all animals have Buddha Nature. The swans, in just one life cycle, became humans, monks, and ultimately Aryas.


    Lama Zopa Rinpoche blesses horses at a rescue farm.
    Lama Zopa Rinpoche blesses horses at a rescue farm.


    Lama Zopa Rinpoche continued: “Vasubandhu was reciting the Abhidharmakosha and a pigeon on the roof heard this everyday. 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 went down and 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 that he had heard when he was a pigeon. He wrote four commentaries on that text. Therefore, it’s extremely important to recite lam-rim prayers and mantras — at least the mantras — to animals.”


    Buddha blesses an elephant. Buddha taught that all animals have Buddha Nature.
    Buddha blesses the animals. Buddha taught that all animals have Buddha Nature.


    Bring our animal companions into our meditations?

    Most Buddhists are familiar with these stories. Yet, in real life, do we really treat our animal companions as fellow journeyers on the path to Enlightenment? If we did, we’d bring our pets meditation rooms and retreats (with Teacher’s permission, of course!)— as the nice couple did during last weekend’s Medicine Buddha retreat. We’d acknowledge our companions are subject to Karma, just like us. This means that, as their friends, we need to be mindful of their actions, as much as our own, because they, too, have Buddha Nature. They, like the swans, can become Aryas (Enlightened Beings).


    Dogs in Thailand can find sanctuary in any Buddhist Temple. Nearly every temple has resident stray dogs, fed and cared for by monks despite the fact the monks have to beg for their own food.
    Dogs in Thailand can find sanctuary in any Buddhist Temple. Nearly every temple has resident stray dogs, fed and cared for by monks despite the fact the monks have to beg for their own food.


    Theodore Tsaousidis explained you have to take responsibility. “If you refuse to be honest about every single choice you make in your 24 hour day, then Buddhism, for you, is just another distraction.” When we take on responsibility for animal companions, we also take on choices that affect them, their development, and their future lives.

    Lobsang Dhargey: “recite mantra and pray for animals”

    Lobsang Dhargey, resident teacher at the Tibetan Buddhist Centre in Redding advises “recite mantras and pray for the animals.” Not when they are dying, but throughout their lives. At the Centre in Redding, they perform animal blessing ceremonies. “We believe animals are like humans with emotions. Animals can be sad, afraid, worried, wish to be happy…” At the event in 2014, nearly 100 residents brought dogs, cats, horses, turtles, sheep and goats to be blessed. [3]


    At the Centre in Redding, they perform animal blessing ceremonies. At the event in 2014, nearly 100 residents brought dogs, cats, horses, turtles, sheep and goats to be blessed.
    At the Tibetan Buddhist Centre in Redding, they perform animal blessing ceremonies. At the event in 2014, nearly 100 residents brought dogs, cats, horses, turtles, sheep and goats to be blessed.


    The concept of the blessing is to “make this potential [to be happy] better by blessing the animals… visualize their lives being better.” As they chant mantras and prayers, they plant “a kind of seed that grows in the minds of animals to give them good health and a better life.”

    Lama Zopa Rinpoche: practices you can do for animals

    Medicine Buddha is well known as a practice for animals. It is taught that Medicine Buddha’s mantra when spoken in a dying animal’s ear, will help release it from lower rebirth, ensuring birth as a human. [Buddha Weekly story on Medicine Buddha here>>]


    Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche blessed this dog at the end of a Medicine Buddha Retreat in Owen Sound in April 2016. After the event he played with the fifteen-month old pup. Zasep Rinpoche teaches, "We must not hurt other people and animals."
    Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche blessed this dog at the end of a Medicine Buddha Retreat in Owen Sound in April 2016. After the event he played with the fifteen-month old pup. Zasep Rinpoche teaches, “We must not hurt other people and animals.” [6]

    Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche also advises these mantras or practices as beneficial for animals, throughout their lives to help bless their mindstreams:

    • Medicine Buddha: Om Bekhandze Bekhandze Maha Bekhandze Bekhandze Randza Samundgate Soha
    • Green Tara: Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha
    • Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig or Guanyin): Om Mani Padme Hum
    • Milarepa: Om Ah Guru Hasa Vajra Sarva Siddhi Hum


    Lama Zopa Rinpoche giving blessings of a dog at teachings.
    Lama Zopa Rinpoche giving blessings of a dog at teachings.


    Throughout their every day lives, it is best to consider, or include, your animal companion in your practices. He advises. “Take them around holy objects — circumambulate… Chant mantras…” Recite prayers in their ears to “plant the seed of all the realizations of the path to enlightenment.”

    He writes in his popular advice web page: “this makes a huge difference. It has inconceivable result, unbelievable result. That makes them have a good rebirth in the next life, to be born as a human being and meet the Dharma.” He also recommends blessing their food.

    Lama Zopa’s advice for sick animals

    For sick animals you can recite Medicine Buddha healing mantras over medicine or water and then blow on the liquid before giving to an animal. In the case of a deceased companion, the same mantras are beneficial, chanted at least 21 times, preferably 108, blowing water and visualizing the deity or the deity’s blessing light being absorbed. Then pour the water on the deceased.

    For a dying animal, Lama Zopa Rinpoche recommended saying the entire Medicine Buddha sadhana.[5]

    Venerable Thubton Chodron: Daily Doggie Dharma — suggestions for daily life

    The much respected and loved teacher Venerable Thubten Chodron advised a student named Bob to spend time putting “good karmic imprints on his mindstream…It will establish a connection between him [his dog] and the Three Jewels, so that he will meet the teachings and have an affinity for them in future lives.” [1]


    A monk, while in practice, shares with a puppy.
    A monk, while in practice, shares with a puppy.


    Venerable Chodron also advised: “So read Dharma books or short texts or prayers out loud to him, e.g. the Heart Sutra, The Three Principle Aspects of the Path, The Foundation of All Good Qualities, etc. Say lots of mantra so he hears it.” She was speaking to a student who’s pet was dying, but the advice is best applied much earlier, long before sickness and end of life issues.

    Daily Meditation: include an animal companion

    Many Buddhists encourage their pets to settle down in a room where they meditate or perform daily sadhanas. Cats, in particular, seem drawn to practice, often snuggling right in the lap of the meditator. Of course, highly precise, advanced tantric practices might not be the best for pets, but for simpler practices — quiet breathing practice, mantra practice or sutra reading — the company is very beneficial.


    Buddha Blesses an Elephant
    Buddha blesses an elephant. Buddha taught that all animals have Buddha Nature.


    Personally, I’ve found my dog, cats, and horses all respond noticeably to mantras, and I chant them whenever I am with them. When I’m feeding the horses, I’m inevitably chanting the Medicine Buddha mantra, remembering His vow to heal and save all beings, and in particular his vow to help all beings and animals. The teachings say that his mantra, when chanted to animals, sets them on the path to higher birth.


    All over Asia, dogs know they can come to compassionate monks for food and care when no one else cares.
    All over Asia, dogs know they can come to compassionate monks for food and care when no one else cares.


    Doggie Dharma at end of your companion’s life

    We usually only start thinking of Doggie Dharma when a beloved pet is about to pass away, or has already died. As Buddhists, we often take solace in the doctrine of rebirth at such times. Buddha was clear on this. Animals, like humans, take actions and are subject to karma and rebirth. Therefore, your beloved dog or cat or other animal companions will certainly face rebirth. Our actions as their caregivers also have karmic implications. The time to think about Dharma and a beloved pet’s Karmic well-being is from the first day you adopt — not just when they are sick or dying.


    Buddha is often portrayed in stories and illustrations with animals.
    Buddha is often portrayed in stories and illustrations with animals.


    For many animal companion lovers, this is a relief, particularly as their friends typically have shorter lifespans. The idea that their beloved companion will be reborn is a major consolation.

    Venerable Thubten Semkye: “pouring the light of their loving compassion…”

    In consoling a fellow animal caregiver, Venerable Semkye wrote, “Even though Achala lived his entire life surrounded by the Dharma in a very conducive environment, his ability to practice was non-existent due to his karma of being born as a cat… Prayers, mantra recitations and visualizing the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas pouring the light of their loving compassion and wisdom on him were a very powerful practice.” [1]

    Venerable Semkye explained, “Animals are very sensitive to our energies and mind states. So, keeping our hearts soft and open was crucial. We wanted him to feel our love and care, not worry or disturbances.”


    Dogs are permanent residents in Thai Buddhist temples, where euthanasia is unheard of. Often, old or sick dogs are dropped off at temples because Thai's know that monks will care for them.
    Dogs are permanent residents in Thai Buddhist temples, where euthanasia is unheard of. Often, old or sick dogs are dropped off at temples because Thai’s know that monks will care for them.


    If a beloved pet is sick — just as we might for our human family members — make a doctor’s appointment, but also meditate on the Three Jewels, perhaps chant mantras or sutras. We might chant the mantras over our pet’s water, or their medicine prescribed by the vet, then blow on them, just as we would for our children.

    Caregiver Karma — we can take on heavy karma

    We, as caregivers, inevitably take on the potential for negative karma from the moment we adopt. There’s positive karma, of course, especially if we rescue an animal from the pound or the streets, or take on an elderly or infirmed pet when no one else will. As we care for our loved one, that’s all positive, of course.


    Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche takes a moment to play with a puppy brought to a Medicine Buddha retreat for blessing.
    Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, spiritual head of Gaden for the West and Gaden Choling Toronto, takes a moment to play with a puppy brought to a Medicine Buddha retreat for blessing. The retreat was in Owen Sound, hosted by Mindfulness of Grey Bruce and Theodore Tsaousidis.


    Where does the negative karma arise? If we believe meat derives from killing, the precepts come into play, notably the prohibition from taking life when we buy dog or cat food (See “The Precepts”, below). But, just as with humans, the negative karma may not apply if the killing is not specifically for our benefit. In one sense, as caregiver, we are preventing our companions from killing. If not fed, their natural needs as predators (in the case of cats or dogs) would arise, bringing on negative karmic implications on their mind streams.

    As the more “responsible” partner in the relationship, we make decisions for our companions, which restrict their free will. Other negative karmic implications can occur if we spoil our companions; they may become unmanageable or hostile in society. And so on. It’s no different with children. These are all potentially negative karma for us.

    Theodore Tsaousidis: “You have a choice as a human not to cause harm.”

    Most Buddhists, as compassionate people, tend to love animals. Yet, even if we don’t have that affinity or desire to care take animals, our behavior in daily life still has to reflect our Buddhist compassion and our acceptance of karmic consequences.


    Buddha-Weekly-Theodore Tsausidis and Zasep Tulku Rinpoche-Buddhism
    Theodore Tsaousidis (right) was asked to teach by the most Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche (left).


    Theodore Tsaousidis of Medicine Buddha Toronto said, “If we look at cosmology and mythology in Buddhism, particularly the Jataka Tales, we see beings manifest in various forms: such as spirits, animals, gods and humans. Depending on the ripening of one’s karma, you may be reborn in any of the six realms. This can be determined based on the choices we make today. You have a choice as a human not to cause harm to any being. This is the best opportunity to end the cycle of death and rebirth.”

    Dog Temples: Thais often take dogs to their temple so they can die in peace

    Inevitably, in most countries, when our companion is suffering terribly at the end of life, and the veterinarian gives no hope, euthanasia rises as an issue.

    In Thailand, where the population is mostly Buddhist, euthanasia is unthinakable. For this reason, thousands of dogs are taken to temples to die in peace under the care of monks. They know monks consider life precious and will share food— this despite the fact these monks depend on alms themselves to live.


    Cows feel emotions, according to the majority of scientists. A glance at this happy cow reinforces this fact.
    All animals have Buddha Nature. According to a Declaration by prominent scientists, animals feel emotions and are sentient in the same way as humans. See story on this declaration on Buddha Weekly>>


    On one hand the Thais provide a good example of Buddhist Metta (kindness). They won’t kill stray or aging dogs. When these strays wander into temples where monks have little themselves, they find homes and food. On the other hand, this policy has led to hundreds of thousands of stray and starving dogs on the street. Yet, even the poorest of Thais try to feed these strays. According to Eric Beauchemin, “even poor people are trying to help these animals. Some of them go around on bicycles and feed up to a 100 dogs a day!”[2]


    Buddha with monkey and elephant


    Dharma “all beings, all of whom have been our mothers”

    It is inarguable that Buddha taught that animals are considered sentient beings. Dharma also clearly teaches that humans can be reborn as animals in future lives, just as animals can be reborn as humans. The Precepts also prohibit taking life, including animals.

    Many Mahayana meditations, sadhanas and prayers use language such as “all beings, all of whom have been our mothers…” — a constant reminder that every being, even the insect we step on by accident, is potentially our family. Ultimately, Mahayana Buddhists accept that humans and animals are interconnected as a single family.


    Buddha with the birds


    All this to say, your doggie, kitty, hamster, budgie and extended animal companions all have both Buddha Nature and karma. In what ways does this change our relationship to our beloved companions?

    The Precepts prohibit taking of life — not just human life

    While most religions prohibit the taking of human life, Buddhism goes much further. One of the most important precepts taught by Shakyamuni prohibited the taking of any life. There is a negative karmic implication in any deliberate killing — much less so in the case of an accidental killing. (In other words, if you accidentally step on an ant, this is not negative karma, but if you deliberately step on the ant, or set an ant trap, this is heavy negative karma. Needless to say, insect and rodent control must be highly skillful to avoid negative karma for a serious Buddhist — rodent proof containers and cleanliness replace traps and poison.)

    Lama Zopa Rinpoche explained “that the vow of non-killing refers to abstaining from killing that is associated with and backed by ignorance and negative attachment. It is that kind of killing that creates negative karma. Only killing with a motivation that is “totally pure” becomes a virtue.” [4]

    Eating animals

    The prohibition on all killing one reason some Buddhists are vegetarian — although there is no precept prohibiting meat specifically. You are prohibited from killing for meat, but if you were given meat, in theory, you could eat it. However, if your demand for meat contributes to the slaughter of animals, it carries negative karma. A monk, for example, could accept donated meat, but the animal must not have been slaughtered specifically for the monk. Because of this precept, some strict Buddhist monks used to carry fly swishes to carefully whisk away insects without killing them.

    This notion is not fanciful. In the Golden Light Sutra, Shakyamuni, in a past life as Prince Sattva, fed himself to a tigress and her babies so that they would not starve.

    For less traditional Buddhists, secular Buddhists or “Buddhists without beliefs” rebirth is not necessarily accepted as fact — although karma certainly is — making Doggie Dharma a more straight-forward discussion. But, as it is certain that rebirth was taught by Buddha, most Buddhists accept the wider implications of animal Buddha Nature and the cycle of lower/higher rebirth.



    [1] “Is euthanizing pets advisable” by Venerable Thubten Chodron Jan 9, 2011

    [2] “A Buddhist lesson in pet care” by Eric Becuchemin, Radio Netherlands, Feb 2006, The Buddhist Channel.

    [3] “Buddhists offer blessing of animals: chanting, prayers greet pets for good health, better future” by Catherine Samose, Special to The Redding Pilot.

    [4] “Euthanasia with a good heart” Lama Zopa Rinpoche, fpmt website.

    [5] “Advice on Benefiting animals” Lama Zopa Rinpoche

    [6] In response to Buddha Weekly request, answered on April 28, 2016. Theodore Tsaousidis is a teacher authorized by Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, who teaches with Medicine Buddha Toronto and Mindfulness Centre of Grey Bruce

    [7] “Student Guidelines”, Zasep Tulku Rinpoche



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    Lee Kane

    Author | Buddha Weekly

    Lee Kane is the editor of Buddha Weekly, since 2007. His main focuses as a writer are mindfulness techniques, meditation, Dharma and Sutra commentaries, Buddhist practices, international perspectives and traditions, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Zen. He also covers various events.
    Lee also contributes as a writer to various other online magazines and blogs.

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    11 thoughts on “Dog and Cat Dharma: Did Buddha Teach That Dogs and Cats Have Buddha Nature? How Can You Help Your Companion Meet the Dharma in Daily Life?”

    1. Hello

      I need to be in touch with someone who can guide me. These days I am seeing stray dogs on the road too often…who nearly come under my car. First it was a small puppy i could avoid him i wanted to do something for him but i couldnt bring him home. Second i saw a van hitting a dog on the road i stopped to put him aside on the road.. stopped a car to help me..the driver lifted the dog to put him aside as i didnt want other vehicles to crush him. Driver gave him water and the dog died i stayed with him for a while. These things pain me and these days im already facing bad times… why is this happening now i cant see dogs dying in front of me it hurts me.

      1. Lee Kane, Editor

        Your compassion is wonderful. Unfortunately, this is suffering, it’s all around us, and we, as compassionate people help how we can. I was touched by this story of you staying with the dog who had died. Please continue offering compassionate help to dogs and other beings you see who are suffering, but also please don’t let this depress you. You are helping these beings. If you are a Buddhist, take refuge in the three jewels (Buddha, Dharma (the teachings) and Sangha (Buddhist community)). Buddha’s teachings on suffering, “dukka”, are very powerful and helpful, especially the four noble truths and the eightfold path. In our day to day life, compassion for other beings, is so very important. Thank you for your compassion for these animals. The compassion mantra, if it’s helpful to you (if you’re Buddhist) is Om Mani Padme Hum. When I was with my dying dog (old age), I chanted this in his ear, along with Medicine Buddha mantra. He found it comforting, I think. Or, maybe it comforted me. Again, thank you for your compassion for sentient beings. In kindness, Lee

    2. In my country all cats that are paralyzed in their legs have to be killed. They can not live a life with for example a wheelchair. My kitten was euthanized today against my will. he was paralysed in his back and couldnt walk. The Swedish law says he had to die. But in the more part of the world pets with are allowed to walk with wheelchair. In Sweden a cat even can be killed only because of irritation in their ears. I am now traumatised about this happening. What do you say about the Swedish animal welfare law? I am now traumatised about this happening. What do you say about the Swedish animal welfare law? what shall I do? I am now traumatised and I also cry and mourn for my kitten when I lay on bed and shall sleep.This has affected me so bad.

      1. Lee Kane, Editor

        That’s so very sad. I mourn for you. I’m not sure what you can do except lobby for change. If it were me, if that were in my country, I would definitely lobby to have such a inhumane law reversed. I’m sorry for your loss.

    3. Hello, I have had many cats and some of them have been euthanized due to their suffering. I did it more for them as I saw it as selfish of me to keep them around when I knew their pain was so great. I am willing to accept any negative Karma from these Euthanasias so my cats are not born into negative hell realms. Is it too late for the ones Euthanized years ago for me to take on the negative Karma? One was just Euthanized last week. How do I accept that Karma? I consciously accept it but is there anything more that needs to be done?

      1. Dear Cody, Your actions to relieve their suffering are intent, therefore you have accepted the responsibility and karma. You don’t necessarily have to formalize it. As I understand karma, the intention is the most important. For example, we might kill an insect by mistake, since we didn’t intend to — and we regret — negative karma is mitigated almost entirely. On the flip side, if we intend harm — but don’t actually carry through — there’s still some negative karma. Intent is a critical aspect of karma (I believe, this is my opinion, based on teachings I’ve received.) So, in the case of your beloved cats, know that your selfless act and good intention is sufficient. Of course, it’s always advantageous to “dedicate merit” even after the fact, so it would be desirable to say mantras for your pets, perhaps Medicine Buddha practice or Amitabha practice, then dedicate the merit of your practice to your departed friends — even the ones who departed long ago. Again, your intention is what matters.

        1. Dear Lee, Thank you very much for the quickness of your response and your sincerity. What you say makes a lot of sense and rereading the article through that lens clears up my misconceptions. Thank you for your advice on doing the practices and dedicated the merit, I will do that. This is a very nice website and articles, thank you.

          1. My dog got tragically killed in an accident a moth ago. I was in shock as I saw her heart come out and breathe stop while I stood screaming on the road side. It all happened too quickly. Someone picked her body in a bag and came along and left me in the house . I was in utter shock and trauma not knowing what I was doing. I didn’t have the guts to see her. All I did was hug the bag and cry. We took her to cremation same day and cremated her .
            I just feel really guilty of not giving her the due respect , not being with her while she died. She was my little girl still can’t believe this accident happened. I was on a walk and suddenly she decided to come out of leash, got spooked by a stranger and ran to the road. And got run over by a truck. All this happened in split seconds.
            Will she forgive me? Will she have reincarnated? I just want her to be happy wherever she is? Is there anyway to know?

            1. Dear Sree, So sorry for your loss! Your trauma was so intense, but you loved her and cared for her and grieved for her, so she is fortunate. Of course she forgives you. Yes, she certainly will have rebirth. If you wish to honor your loved one, one beautiful Buddhist tradition is to celebrate the lives of those we lose for 49 days, with offerings (such as incense, or put out a can of her favorite food — usually once a week.) And, then on the 49th day. Traditionally, the 49th day is the rebirth day — the day your loved one moves on to their next life. Being with them mentally for those 49 days is helpful for them. You don’t have to think of it literally, but can think of it as a lovely tradition. Say lots of mantras if you are Buddhist for your beloved — usually Om Amitabha Hri or you can say Om Mani Padme Hum — then dedicate the merit of the mantras to the rebirth of your loved one to a fortunate and happy rebirth. You can say something like this, after your mantras: “I dedicate the merit of my meditations, practice and mantras to the happy and fortunate rebirth of my beloved (X — name of your loved one). May she have a fortunate, happy human rebirth, or be born into Amitabha’s Pureland.” The reason why you request “fortunate human rebirth” is that it is the fastest path to Enlightenment. We aspire to Amitabha’s Pureland, because this is the Buddha Pureland where anyone can go if they aspire to it. I wish you well. In kindness, Lee.

    4. Hello,
      I lost my dear, long time 14.5 yr old friend and soulmate dog about 4 weeks ago and have been miserable and full of pain since. I just came upon this thread and found it helpful, so today I started to burn sage and will start the mantra. It was years of health problems and caring for her, but I loved her so much. I feel guilt about letting her go, but she had pain and then suffering in her own way, that couldn’t be “fixed”. I was always able to find a way to “fix” what ever issues she had, and she had many and for a long time. I am beside myself with grief and have been through shock and disbelief. I really hope I can get some relief and feel as though she will forgive me. It’s funny that I had left food and water out and her bed for quite a while after. I just put food out again after reading this last post by you and I’ve counted the days to 49, being February 8th, 2023. Thank you for that and if you have any other advice or words to help me, please let me know.

      1. So sorry for your loss CJ, it’s always hard. I lost my old pals a few years ago, but they always have a place in my heart. I know they have found precious rebirth and I often recite mantras for them. The mantra most often recommended by teachers is Om Amitabha Hri (Amitabha Buddha) (or Namo Amituofo) with aspirations your beloved girl find rebirth in Amitabha’s pureland. All beings, according to Buddha’s teachings have Buddha Nature, certainly including beloved soulmate dogs.That’s lovely that you put out food and water, offering your love to your friend. Om Amitabha Hri.

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