Animals Reborn In Heaven?

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Ydnan321
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Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by Ydnan321 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 2:57 pm

Can an animal be reborn straight to heaven according to Buddhism? Sutta references would be great. Thanks!

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robertk
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by robertk » Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:51 pm

Mostly in the Jataka and dhammapda commentaries.
For example Kanthka, the Bodhisatta's horse, who was reborn in tavitimsa immediately upon his death.

Garrib
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by Garrib » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:18 pm

I don't see why not. A human being can be reborn in hell, not having to first be reborn as an animal, hungry ghost, and/or angry demon. A human being can be reborn in the highest heavens, not having to first become a Yakkha, or Gandhabba etc...So I don't see any reason to exclude the possibility of an animal being reborn in heaven.

How often might this occur? That is a different question.

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aflatun
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by aflatun » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:24 pm

In one of his talks Ven. Ninoslav Nanamoli says you can lead a pet, like a dog, to a higher birth by teaching it restraint. Pretty cool. I feel better about how strict I've been with my pets :tongue:
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

DooDoot
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by DooDoot » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:50 pm

Ydnan321 wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 2:57 pm
Sutta references would be great. Thanks!
Saṃyutta Nikāya 56. 123–​125. Tiracchā­na­deva­nirayā­di­sutta
https://suttacentral.net/pi/sn56.123-125

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phil
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by phil » Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:17 pm

I guess it helps us to understand how being reborn in Heaven is not liberation.

And not to be a sourpuss but to be strict about understanding the teaching, it is safe to say that just as it is said to be extremely rare (blind sea turtle simile) to achieve human rebirth when one has fallen to one of the woeful realms (animal realm, hell realm etc) it is presumedly all the more rare for an animal to achieve rebirth in heaven. Perhaps if we have a beloved pet we can be encouraged that their comfortable circumstance is the result of good kamma so he/she must have some momentum towards the bright. (Good sign for a citizen of the animal realm to have graduated from "it" to "he/she!")
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

Ydnan321
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by Ydnan321 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:31 am

Hello all,

Please excuse my ignorance for the following questions. Regarding the Jataka stories, were they told by the Buddha? Also, what are the Vimana Vatthu and Vagguli Vatthu? Respectively, these tell stories of a frog being reborn in heaven being killed while listening to preaching from the Buddha, and 500 bats who later became Sariputa's disciples and mastered the teaching from the Abhidhamma. I only knew they were commentaries, i.e. not personally spoke by the Buddha himself? But were they written by highly-accomplished monks and based upon the Buddha's teaching/saying?

Thanks,

YN

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DNS
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by DNS » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:13 am

It is only the Jataka verses that are considered Canonical. The stories behind them are commentaries.

The Vimanavatthu is an anthology of 85 short stories written in verse. The stories are similar to each other in that each of them describes the life and deeds of a character who has attained residence in a heavenly mansion, the "Vimana", due to his/her meritorious deeds. It is considered a later text by some Buddhists and considered Buddhavacana (words of the Buddha) by others.

perkele
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by perkele » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:33 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:50 pm
Ydnan321 wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 2:57 pm
Sutta references would be great. Thanks!
Saṃyutta Nikāya 56. 123–​125. Tiracchā­na­deva­nirayā­di­sutta
https://suttacentral.net/pi/sn56.123-125

Since there is no English translation of that sutta on SC, here a translated excerpt from the German translation:
SN 56.123-125 wrote:„Was meint ihr, ihr Mönche, was ist mehr, das bißchen Staub, das ich mit der Nagelspitze aufgehoben habe oder die große Erde?“

"What do you think, monks, what is more, that little dust that I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail here or the great earth?"

„Diese große Erde, o Herr, ist mehr: Wenig nur ist das bißchen Staub, das der Erhabene mit der Nagelspitze aufgehoben hat. Es zählt nicht; es kann damit überhaupt nicht verglichen werden. Es ist nicht ein Bruchteil: das bißchen Staub, das der Erhabene mit der Nagelspitze aufgehoben hat, gegenüber der großen Erde.“

"This great earth, o lord, is more: Only little is this speck of dust that the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail. It does not count; there is no comparison at all. It is not even a fraction: that little speck of dust that the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail, compared with the great earth."

„Ebenso nun auch, ihr Mönche werden nur wenige Wesen, die aus tierischem Schoß abscheiden, unter Göttern wiedergeboren, viel mehr sind es der Wesen, die, aus tierischem Schoß abgeschieden, in der Hölle, in tierischem Schoß, im Gespensterreich wiedergeboren werden,

"Even so, monks, will only few beings, passing away from animal birth, be reborn amongst the gods; far more are those who, passing away from animal birth, are reborn in hell, in an animal womb, in the realm of ghosts.

/.../

Was ist der Grund dafür? Das Nichtschauen, ihr Mönche, der vier edlen Wahrheiten.

What is the reason for that? The not-seeing, monks, of the four noble truths.
So, the Buddha only says here that it is very rare for an animal to be reborn in heaven after death.

There are a whole number of other suttas (all grouped in SN 56) which are all almost exactly the same word-by-word, except for the difference that instead of dying animals they speak about dying humans, or dying devas, or dying petas, and instead of the rarity of being reborn in heaven they may speak about the rarity of being reborn as a human. Otherwise there is no difference in the description of rarity of being reborn in heaven, or as a human, respectively, instead of in the lower realms.

In summary:
"It is rare for X to be reborn as Y. Far more probable is it for X to be reborn in the lower realms.", for all combinations of X in {"a human", "a deva", "an animal", "a ghost", "a hell being"}, and Y in {"a human", "a deva"}.

DooDoot
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by DooDoot » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:26 am

perkele wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:33 am
In summary:
"It is rare for X to be reborn as Y. Far more probable is it for X to be reborn in the lower realms.", for all combinations of X in {"a human", "a deva", "an animal", "a ghost", "a hell being"}, and Y in {"a human", "a deva"}.
What is the reason for that? The not-seeing, monks, of the four noble truths.

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PuerAzaelis
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by PuerAzaelis » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:36 pm

I thought it was commonplace knowledge that all dogs go to heaven.
And nobody in all of Oz. No Wizard that there is or was.

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Zom
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by Zom » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:33 am

I think this is possible, not because of kamma created in the animal world, but because of the previous human one. Animals can create good kamma, but it will be quite a weak one, maybe leading to human rebirth at best, but not higher than that. That's my opinion.

perkele
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by perkele » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:10 am

Zom wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:33 am
..., maybe leading to human rebirth at best, but not higher than that. That's my opinion.


As per the sutta quoted above:
SN 56.123-125 wrote:"Even so, monks, will only few beings, passing away from animal birth, be reborn amongst the gods; far more are those who, passing away from animal birth, are reborn in hell, in an animal womb, in the realm of ghosts.
Few is more than none.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:18 am

perkele wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:10 am
Zom wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:33 am
..., maybe leading to human rebirth at best, but not higher than that. That's my opinion.


As per the sutta quoted above:
SN 56.123-125 wrote:"Even so, monks, will only few beings, passing away from animal birth, be reborn amongst the gods; far more are those who, passing away from animal birth, are reborn in hell, in an animal womb, in the realm of ghosts.
Few is more than none.

But Zom agrees with what the sutta says:
Zom wrote:I think this [i.e. that an animal may be reborn in heaven] is possible
His opinion is merely that such a rebirth would not be due to kammas performed as an animal but rather to unripened kammas performed in former human lives.

perkele
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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by perkele » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:08 am

Oh, thanks, Bhante, for pointing out. I was not paying attention, being so overjoyed at the opportunity to use my favourite Big Lebowski retort.

So, according to that, the causal determining factor for a certain rebirth may lie in karma done many lives back, not necessarily the last one. And it is Zom's opinion that it is impossible to do any kamma which would cause a celestial rebirth while being an animal.

I'm sorry, Zom, for the misunderstanding.

Still, my opinion is different, though. What about the monkey who fed the Buddha while he had withdrawn into the forest, after having dismissed the community following the quarrels at Kosambi? I think that monkey should have been reborn in heaven on account of that. Of course that is also only my opinion.

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Re: Animals Reborn In Heaven?

Post by DNS » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:48 pm

Many pets (esp. dogs, cats) are already living deva-type lives, not having to kill for food, not having to acquire food, water, no fear of being attacked by predators, getting pampered by their owners. I guess it would be an easy transition for them to become devas. :tongue:

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