My beloved dog has died, what should I do to help it have a better next life? What do I need to do to prepare for a dog’s funeral? Should I bring its ash home? My dog’s tongue had turned grey before it died. The veterinary surgeon suggested an injection to end its suffering. I agreed. But was this a murder? Did I deprive it of its rights to suffer? Actually my dog was 17 years old already, it had been sick for 4 to 5 years. All its organs had failed already. Watching it gasping for air, I could not bear to see it suffering like that so I decided to give it an injection. In this case, would it add to its karma of sin? I feel very guilty.
You have a loving heart towards animals. You had tried your best to take care of your dog. Your relationship with your dog has transcended the affection between man and animal. In terms of fate, both of you had done your best. “Don’t want all living beings suffer” is human nature. As it has gone already, how it died is not important. What’s important is peace in your heart, and its embarking on the right way for a good destiny.
Buddhism is concerned about past and future lives. If you want it to be well, do away with your sorrow and guilty feeling as soon as possible. If you have negative emotion, it could certainly feel it. Then how could it go for a ‘good’ destiny? You should bless and guide it with your greatest love and faith. Format of the funeral is not important. But avoid putting its ash at home. If possible, keep its ash in a cloth bag and bury it under a tree. This way it would be fused into the heaven and earth.
Take good care of yourself. Life carries a lot of responsibilities. When you have fulfilled one responsibility, let it go and go on loving other living beings with your kind heart.
Is it only a wishful thinking of the owners to have their pets take refuge in the Three Jewels? Is it only a ritual without substance? Will it give an impression to those who do not understand Buddhism that it is a superstition?
It is true that it is the owner’s wishful thinking to have his pets taken refuge in the Three Jewels. Owners believe it is their duty to give the best to their pets. There is no difference between them and the parents who have their newborn babies undergo certain religious rituals. Their love is the same.
It is a Buddhist belief that all sentient beings have Buddha nature. Animals are no exception to that. Although it is an animal, its heart can also be tamed if cultivated in a good environment. We used to have two dogs in our monastery in Vancouver which had been carnivore all their life before coming to our monastery. Having come to our monastery and taken refuge in the Three Jewels, they adopted a vegetarian diet on their own accord. They also practised with us. One loved reciting the name of the Amitâbha Buddha while the other loved to practise meditation. When the bell for daily practice rang, they would immediately go back to the study hut to practise. They are only one of the many real examples.
We firmly believe that life is a cycle. When the cause and conditions mature, the seed of kindness will sprout and the animal’s life will be enhanced.