Reflections on defilements, animals and humans and the suffering inherent in Samsara

As per the title

Yesterday my ‘rescue’ dog attacked a little fox. This dog was raised and trained to hunt. I’ve been trying my best to recondition it, but in certain conditions the instincts are just too strong.

This morning, a lovely little fox cub (recently weaned) crawled out from under the house and sat in the sun for a while, a few feet from my window. The very same little cub that had been in the fight with the dog yesterday. So ironic that it chose to find refuge here under the house…

So the defilements and instincts of these two creatures resulted in this fight. A fight for territory and supremacy … Ill will (definitely on the part of the dog - foxes are the enemy) and competition for space and resources by them both…

So both ended up injured. The dog, many times the size of the fox cub, has small injuries, and the foxlet has an obvious serious injury to its front paw. What is the result - the dog is fine, I looked after it, disinfected the wounds, I’ll feed him and look after him. In nature though the consequences for the little fox are much worse. The little fox is no longer so mobile, it makes hunting food so much harder, it makes escaping from other animals so much harder - the wound may result in death through infection, or it may not heal properly leading to permanent disability and a very hard life. Samsara - suffering is the way it is.
Note while in this case it is a domesticated dog and a fox, however, in nature these fights are the norm, and the consequences are a normal part of existence…

But then it led me to think of the situation in Ukraine… is it any different? We tend to be so arrogant as humans, thinking we are so superior to animals, but is this really the case?
In so many places in the world - these same defilements (greed, hate and delusion) leading to the same results. Perhaps even worse, the fights among humans these days are less often about physical personal survival (greed/competition for resources to survive), but beliefs about entitlements and rights… Ukraine is part of Russia - Ukraine is a sovereign nation… All just views…
But the consequences are the same - terrible suffering - samsara.

How lucky are we to have the Buddhas teachings. To know that defilements can be eradicated :slight_smile: that suffering can be left behind.

May many Beings come to the Path of Practice that leads to the end of suffering.

May all the Beings who are suffering as a result of defilements or conditions find ease and relief sooner than later. May all the conflicts in the world come to an end. May the little fox cub not suffer too much, and may the dog come to have a less aggressive nature :pray: :dharmawheel: :sparkling_heart:


Excellent reflection and excellent writing! I do enjoy reading it. Thanks. I would say humans are superior, that we are capable of reflection, recondition, and liberation. Just that humans also subject to preprogrammed instincts, defilements, something we share with animals.


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Yes, those human instincts, habits, are hard hired in our human nature, hard to escape, but we can recondition our mind to put them under well control, to minimize their influence, this is exactly the purpose of our practice. For example, like all animals or even insects, humans share the same instinctual tendency to copulate, this is hard wired and is the major force for our samsara. When we die, our mind separates with the body, the desire to copulate will influence our mind, drag the mind back into samsara, like gravity that keeps us on the ground. Then the mind will have another body, rebirth, like what said in dhamapada, build another house again and again. If we can overcome this influence from the instinct of copulation, we may leave the sensual realm, a step closer to full liberation. That’s why Buddha subscribed brahmacarya practice as the first step toward nibhana. And we can be certain that it is possible to be successful to recondition our mind to be free from such instinctual influence, using various tools. What do you think?

Thank you @mudita , and welcome to the Forum. What a joyful name!

You make a good point, though I wouldn’t say humans are superior, just more fortunate to have a human birth, which gives the opportunity for reflection, reconditioning and Liberation. But many humans take it for granted and don’t do these things … Many will be reborn in the animal realm, or even worse…

This is why it is so important, that if one is fortunate enough to have come across the Buddhas teachings, one should take the opportunity to practice, and not be complacent. I’m not saying this to you specifically, but just generally. So this is my shout-out for a bit of Samvega (urgency for practice). :fire: :fire: :fire: :smiley:

Samsara sucks :smile:, but it is even worse for animals since they have very little capacity to alter their conditions for the better.

Of course these are just my views…

Much Mudita for the opportunity for all humans to reflect, recondition, develop wholesome qualities and be Liberated :slight_smile:


I remember watching this clip and it really powerful, reflecting on this will bring out samvega.
That feeling of “I really want to escape this”

We really should try to get out while we can!

True. Saying humans are superior than animals is racial and immoral. Bad habit. Indeed we are the same organic android as animals. Although we have more unlocked features to use and thus have more potentials, most humans are still operating under auto pilot mode. reflect. recondition. liberate.

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