SuttaCentral

Animals and kamma

animals
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#1

How can animals generate positive kamma if they need to kill to survive? Certainly, there are many (not strictly all, but many) sentient beings that will die quickly if they don’t kill other sentient beings for food. So, they are locked into a situation defined by negative karma. How could they ever attain rebirth in a higher realm?


#2

It appears that not many do:


#3

And I wonder how…


#4

I really don’t know, given that animals seem to have little choice around their instinctive behaviour. It’s easier to imagine in higher mammals, which have more intelligence and some ability to choose how they respond.
The impression I have of kamma and the realms is that it’s easier to go “down” than “up” - it’s a bit like a game of snakes and ladders. The message from the suttas seems to be “Be careful about your intention and actions, it could lead you to some bad places!” :yum:


#5

Have you tried raising young ‘uns?!


#6

Thats how Kamma operates. Kamma is not leniar.
One of my friends in the west said some cats in the West do not hunt. They have a better life than human.


#7

Pet cats do still hunt sometimes, presumably driven by instinct. They tend to bring back their prey as “presents” for their owner, though these presents aren’t always appreciated! But maybe these acts of generosity are good kamma for the cat. :yum:


#8

This morning our cat pooped on the bed…:poop::scream_cat:

:japanese_ogre:

…because my wife had accidentally locked it in the guest bedroom. :thinking:

She is now doing laundry. :angel:

Kamma is such a chameleon.


#9

Maybe whales are accumulating bright kamma by protecting other creatures?


#10

Yes. It’s natural to want to avoid watching violent behaviour. Why assume these things are different in other mammals?


#11

Not all animals kill to survive. Those that do probably also do good things, so it’s a mixed bag. Maybe they manage to get a birth as a fairly harmless animal before escaping the animal realm.


#12

Do animals kill for sport?


#13

Sometimes I’ve suspected my pet cats of killing for the fun of it in the past, but I think it’s more accidental. They’d play with the rodent they caught until it was dead before I discovered it. There are geese here in North America that just eat grass and try to stay out of trouble. They maybe break the precept of right speech honking at each other. Not sure. It seems a little hostile when they chase people away from their nests, so I suspect they are cursing.

Does that answer the question? Sorry, it’s late here.


#14

My cat certainly does. Sometimes he eats what he kills, sometimes not. An English bull terrier I used to have would kill rodents for fun, too.


#15

So if animals kill for fun, does that mean they are accumulating dark kamma? (see the OP question).


#16

Animals can be nice too!

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#17

Though that cub looks a little apprehensive… :laughing:


#18

Anxiety is a constant in the animal world.


#19

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#20