Question: My dog is very sick. Is there any Buddhist chant to help her feel better, or prepare for a better rebirth?
Answer: Yes. (All of the advice below is applicable to humans as well…) There are many Buddhist ways to help. Here is perhaps one of the most streamlined yet powerful way, by practising support-chanting using the name of ‘Amituofo’ (Amitabha Buddha). You can use this looping chanting clip as a guide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1agODV6713A although it is important to chant along sincerely too, to generate living merits for dedication, for relief of suffering, and as a ‘live’ guide.
Please do follow the advice at http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/amituofo/conversations/messages/517 on ‘How To Share The Power Of Merits & Guidance’. (You might need to use or create a yahoo account to login to see the articles in this site.) You can also, in your own words, share this important advice on the ‘Right Aspiration When Severely Sick’ at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Amituofo/message/284 If confirmed dying, it is good to share the advice in blue at http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/amituofo/conversations/messages/518 (How To Help The Dying & Deceased).
Some additional consecrated spiritual aids are very useful too, and can be used together with the support-chanting above. You can read more about the ‘Usage of Rebirth Blanket, Mantra Wheels & Sand of Golden Bright Light’ at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Amituofo/message/330 (You can apply the blessed sand in the equivalent positions for animals.) These aids can be purchased at proper Buddhist shops.
On the efficacy of support-chanting, it is indeed possible for (humans and) animals to reach Pure Land via sincere mindfulness of Amituofo’s name, as you can see in this article: ‘Can Dogs Reach Pure Land?’ at http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/amituofo/conversations/messages/495
Question: Is it okay to put my very sick dog to ‘sleep’?
Answer: Please do not do or support ‘mercy-killing’ (euthanasia), which is simply killing, that clearly breaks the first precept, and can be ‘merciless’ in actual effect instead. It does not ensure dying in peace or ‘waking up’ well in the next life. Just as we do not kill a suffering human being, we should not kill a suffering animal. This is because it is an illusion that we can simply end anyone’s suffering by killing. (If this is true, mass-suicide would make perfect sense now, to end the whole world’s suffering, but it does not work at all.)
The one who is killed, even with consent, might not be really prepared, thus dying in greater pain and misery, with fear and hatred too. (There is the grave negative karma of killing created by the killer too, that might lead to personal suffering later.) Dying abruptly with a set of unresolved karma linked to physical and/or mental pain and suffering can lead to a rebirth that further perpetuates it too, as it is yet to be exhausted. (One might be reborn sickly.) In short, putting anyone to ‘sleep’ is simply euphemism for murder, that can create more suffering for all involved, in this life and the next, which is why it should never be done.
As the quality of the last thought before rebirth directly links one to the equivalent quality of rebirth, we should facilitate the arising of a peaceful and pure final moment instead, with the use of Amituofo’s name, for securing the best rebirth, to where bliss and enlightenment is guaranteed. If there is great suffering before dying, it is not cruel to not do ‘mercy-killing’ if we practise support-chanting sincerely. Pain is not prolonged but lessened. This is so because, as above (in the second link), mindfulness of Amituofo with advice of how it can help will facilitate swift healing or swift birth in Pure Land – where there is true and total healing, physically and mentally. This is true ‘mercy’!
To learn more, systematically, on the Pure Land teachings, it is advisable to join this course – ‘Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra’ at https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2013/12/understanding-amituofo-via-the-amitabha-sutra-13th-run To further strengthen understanding, it is good to join this course – ‘The Faith Factor: Strengthening Faith Through The Treatise On Ten Doubts About Pure Land’ at https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2013/12/the-faith-factor-strengthening-faith-through-the-treatise-on-ten-doubts-about-pure-land-run-4 If these runs have transpired by the time you are reading this, you can visit https://thedailyenlightenment.com/category/06 for updates. These courses are of great and urgent practical importance as we all have to help dying family and friends eventually – and this can happen at any time. Even if not, we ourselves cannot escape death. Thus, it makes great sense to learn how to prepare for this significant pivoting event, that will affect our future lives and our progress to Buddhahood.
If you would like to join a mailing list with updates on future courses and more educational messages on the precious Pure Land teachings, please send a blank email to email@example.com to subscribe. May all beings have the best rebirth, in Amituofo’s Pure Land. Namo Amituofo