Search This Blog


Buddhism in the News


Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Praying Dog and How Animals Teach Us.

The Associated Press

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~

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Eric Goebelbecker said...

One of my three dogs is named "Buddha" because of his ability to read other dogs and frequently figure out how to calm them down or successfully solicit play.

Dogs really do have buddha nature.

Anonymous said...

I have three cats and each of them teach me every day that I am but a part of the eternal wheel of life and that what is past is past and only the now exists.


They call him James Ure said...


That is so beautiful. Animals have their own personalities that convey wonderful traits. I'd love to meet your dog. :)


Wonderful!! I am so happy that you have such companions in life that teach you and comfort you. What a beautiful example of interconnection.

Anonymous said...

The TAO of MEOW.

Say Lee said...

In karma, Conan must have been a Buddhist disciple in its previous life.

Afterall, A Buddha is an enlightened sentient being while a sentient being is one which has yet to be enlightened.

It has also been said that of all the six realms, the humans constitute a unique realm whose inhabitants are more prone to be enlightened.

Linda (Sama) said...

nice! I also wrote about him! animals can feel energy....

Tom said...

A wonderful story, James.

I'm reading "The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals" and the stories of pigs, chickens, cows, goats and sheep and what wonderful, individualized beings they are is taking my breath away.

Whatever exactly is going on in the praying dogs head it is kind and loving and devotional.

Society's failure to appreciate the other animals that inhabit our planet with us is one of our greatest failures.

They call him James Ure said...


Exactly. :)

Say Lee:

Yes. It looks like he really connects with the monk's energy and peacefulness which is good for any sentient being. May he realize that Buddha Nature.


I couldn't agree more. They feel love and sadness to name a few emotions. They are such lovely beings.


Yeah this story really made me smile and passed the happiness of the dog and the monk onto my heart.

Sounds like a great book. I love to watch animals and see their little personalities emerge.

I think the key to seeing the importance of animals in life is shifting away from our instinctive, "me" centered view.

Gregor said...

Great post Man!

I actually learn alot from my dog too. The loyalty and unconditional love are inspiring. But . . he's an anxious little guy sometimes too so you can see the nature of suffering there too.

thanks for this.

take care,


They call him James Ure said...


Good point. Yeah we can indeed see the suffering in their realm. They are good examples in that regard too.

Minh said...

Wow, I'm glad I happen to stumble upon your blog.

I think after my family got a dog I was reminded of how human animals actually are. Since meat is neatly packaged nowadays, pleasantly hiding the slaughter an death, people forget that animals have feelings and feel pain.

Actually, the reason I happen to find your blog was that I was looking for some english sutras or chants that can be said in order to aid animals whom are dieing/have died. I've never been one to do the chanting thing, but I think it would be nice to know a prayer or two that may help if I happen to come across death. I always feel so useless when I see an animals who either has been hit by a car and waiting to die on the side of the road, or sometimes even walking by supermarkets where they are hanging in the window.

Do you happen to know any such sutras/chants? I would really appreciate it! Can't seem to find it on the net in english.

free documentaries said...

WOW .... just amaising , its true that we people have a lot to learn from animals they are so pure

Anonymous said...

the video of the dog praying is so cute too

ShareThis Option