Monday, March 31, 2008


Canine Karma

A friend alerted me to the fact that the most enlightened of animals is being challenged in the karma department. Herewith I present to you the praying dog.

It took him only a few days to learn the motions, and now he is the talk of the town.

"Word has spread, and we are getting a lot more tourists," Yoshikuni said Monday.

Yoshikuni said Conan generally goes through his prayer routine at the temple in the capital of Japan's southern Okinawa prefecture (state) without prompting before his morning and evening meals.

I was going to write something along the lines of how Japan is going to the dogs . . . but I think that headline was among the most overused last year and the year before, as it was just recently the year of the dog. But as I've noted before, Japan is pretty much going to the dogs, what with the dog spas, the dog kimonos, the dog physical therapy, etc. It's not surprising that having mastered the material world, dogs are moving on to focus on the spirit. This is the natural order of things. One need only look to Madonna, for example, to see this.

In all seriousness, the story above made me think about reincarnation and the idea that animals have the ability to be reborn at higher and higher levels of consciousness until *gasp* they become human. Even the historical Buddha is considered to have started out at a lower level before becoming enlightened. The Tamamushi shrine, for example, depicts scenes of Shaka's pre-Buddha incarnations. Occasionally, you hear stories of dogs rescuing family members from a fire, or cats rescuing kittens from a fire or a deer comforting a dying animal of a different species. It does make me think that compassion isn't purely a human trait (we really could be better at it), and I can see how anyone would want to think that a praying dog, or a heroic cat could have it even better in the future.

Our dog is only spiritual just before dinner time.
It's a rare dog that can tell the time.
You might be surprised at a dog's (and I assume other animals') perception of time. Boo! will start demanding his dinner within a few minutes of 9pm every night. In this case, I think his stomach is his clock.

When I lived in Seattle, I would drop Boo! off at a friend's place to play with their dog Disko every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. About a half hour before my arrival time Disko would sit and stare at the front door. He only did this on M,W,F. Disko would whine if we were more than ten minutes late.

I don't think the dogs have an innate internal clock, I just think they're smart enough to use information at hand, especially if there's a routine. I'm sure Disko and Boo! can tell a weekday from a weekend simply by the number of people at home. Perhaps Disko knew the days Boo! wasn't coming because of tiredness from all the running around the previous day.
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