The purpose of this meditation is to experience what an animal experiences, and develop a sincere fear of taking an animal rebirth.

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation, and the reminded myself of how the world around me is a mere appearance created out of the karmic seeds of my mental continuum.  When I die this current reality will cease, and another will arise. From my point of view now, this next life will be dream like – but to me at the time it will appear as real as this life appears to me now.

Suffering animalsFuture lives are generally thought of as taking place in one of six environments or realms. There are three fortunate realms where the general conditions are good, and there are three unfortunate realms where the general conditions are not good. The least unfavourable conditions are to be found in the animal realm, which we can see around us now as humans. The other realms are generally not directly perceived by humans.

We can understand the plight of wild animals if we contemplate their true experience, rather than the presentations we are used to on greetings cards etc. Wild animals survive day by day without any real control or understanding of their lives. They eat just enough to keep them alive, and they are often starving. They are prey for other animals and are at constant risk of being attacked and eaten. Their predators have special skills to find and kill them, despite any special defences they may have. Their lives are filled with ignorance and fear. They are restless and isolated. They cannot communicate with each other much, except in terms of the most basic instinctive signals related to food, mating or danger. They are bound to suffer from illness and injury without understanding, and without any help or hope for sympathy or cure. Slowly they will succumb to death through predation, sickness or infected wounds, while their fellow animals stand by and watch – uncomprehending of the suffering and despair in their midst.

Not only are their lives filled with ignorance and suffering, but animals have no concept of karma, and constantly kill and harm other living beings, causing further suffering for themselves in the future.

I thought about these points and got a strong feeling of their being trapped in a horrible world of suffering and despair. I tried to imagine myself in this situation, and developed a deep fear of finding myself reborn as an animal.

I focused on this fear for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings be reborn in fortunate realms, and find the opportunity to practice pure Dharma for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Medication Break

I will try to remind myself of the suffering of animals whenever I see an animal, and develop fear, compassion and wisdom.