Lobha, Dosa and Moha(?) in the animal realm

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    • #16255

      Hi All,

      1. I was observing the behaviour of a friend’s puppy:

      The puppy has a bunch of toys that she plays with. Another friend’s child was at their place and was playing with some of these toys. The puppy kept grabbing these toys from the child not allowing the child to play with these toys!

      Is this some form of “Lobha” in the animal realm?

      1. Another puppy was barking at a person quite fiercely. He tried to “pet” the puppy and almost got bitten by the puppy. The puppy did not stop the fierce barking until the person was out of sight. I was told that the puppy had been kept at the persons place while the owners were away for a couple of weeks.

      Is this some form of “Dosa” in the animal realm?

      Observing the behaviour of the puppy (with the “grabbing toys”), it almost appears that the behaviour is similar to a human (except of course the ability to talk and develop panna).
      The puppy shows sadness when the master is leaving for work or is leaving to go out leaving her at home and does not look at the master and will stay out of sight if she accidently urinates on the floor.
      She also seems to understand the “pecking order” in the house. She treats the youngest daughter as a sister, playing with her and biting her clothes but is very calm and respectful to the “Mother and Father”!!

      The thought that crosses my mind when I see this puppy is “What did you do to be born as a puppy?”. She shows so much love and caring but is still part of the animal realm!

      Does “Moha” exist in the animal realm or does it exist only in the Human and Deva realms?

      Your thoughts would be appreciated.

      Kind regards


    • #16259

      Hi Alay,

      There is a very basic fact that comes from Abhidhamma, and one does need to have a good knowledge of Abhidhamma to see this point. There are 7 universal mental factors (cetasika) that arise with ANY citta (thought) of ANY living being: vedana, sanna, cetana, manasikara, phassa, jivitindriya, and ekaggata.

      The key point relevant to the question is that not only puppies but all animals (down to fish and ants and amoeba) have feelings (vedana) and perceptions (sanna) at their own levels. They all feel suffering, especially bodily suffering. As part of their strong kamma, the animals cannot show their emotions, so one would even not have pity on them. For example, fish cannot cry (or laugh); their bodies are not designed by kamma to do that. So, just because we cannot see them crying, does not mean they don’t feel pain. At least in fish, the suffering is quite clear: they writhe with pain dangling by those hooks; see, “It’s Official: Fish Feel Pain“.

      And they also have sanna (perceptions) about their experience. Obviously the dogs and cats recognize their owners, and as you pointed out, remember those who have harmed them.

      The most precious thing for EACH living being is their life. When someone takes care of them, they appreciate it and show it in whatever form they can. Even though some dogs show a trace of “smiling”, some others can show their appreciation only by body language, mostly by wagging their tails. And when get threatened, they show their displeasure by whatever form they can: dogs bark and bit; cats scratch, etc.

      The only significant thing animals cannot do is to make plans to make their lives better. My daughter’s dog very much likes to sun bathe in her cot, but when the Sun moves away from her cot she does not realize that she can pull it to the right place easily. We have to do that for her.
      – While birds have been building nests for billions of years, their “designs” have not changed at all.

      So, the bottom line is that animals do have lobha,dosa, moha. But they are mostly robots, even those some higher animals have minor planning capabilities.
      – But they can kill out of anger, greed, and of course moha too. Especially “higher animals” can show those when they fight for food, territory, mates, etc. But lower animals like amoeba “just have to take much of the sufferings come their way”. Of course, those in the niraya (hell) have no options at all. They just suffer without having any ability to respond or to lessen the suffering.

    • #16268

      Thank you Lal. Excellent explanation! Greatly appreciate it.

      Kind regards


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