NAHA, Japan — At a Zen Buddhist temple in southern Japan, even the dog prays.
Mimicking his master, priest Joei Yoshikuni, a 1 1/2-year-old black-and-white Chihuahua named Conan joins in the daily prayers at Naha's Shuri Kannondo temple, sitting up on his hind legs and putting his front paws together before the altar.
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 think he saw me doing it all the time and got the idea to do it too," Yoshikuni said.
The priest is now trying to teach him how to meditate. Well, sort of.
"Basically, I am just trying to get him to sit still while I meditate," he explained. "It's not like we can make him cross his legs."
James: I adore dogs. They are so innocent, full of unconditional love and joyful to be around. This one seems to be preparing for rebirth as a human and perhaps a monk. :)I'm sure that this little doggie doesn't understand what he is doing but I'm sure that he feels the peaceful energy surrounding him that helps him feel content, peaceful and calm. He has Buddha nature as any other living entity and is our relative in the large and beautiful family of sentient beings.
It seems less skillful to me to regard animals as less than us and therefore somehow not worthy of our protection and kindness. We must look upon animals with compassion and help them live the best life possible to help reduce their suffering as no sentient beings wants to suffer. And even though we see ourselves as their teachers and guides, they too have much to offer and teach us.
They remind us not to take ourselves too seriously, they teach us how to have unconditional love for others, they remind us of the freedom found in the present moment and to not let anger rule our hearts but to forgive and move on. Animals are the ultimate optimists who teach us a positive attitude brings great happiness and that is o.k. to be submissive at times.
I'd love to hear what you learn from animals in the comment section. :)
Special thanks to my reader Perri for sending this story my way.
~Peace to all beings~