Monday, April 14, 2008

Hedging my Bets

I realised last night what a bet hedger I really am.

I have been attending a Buddhist meditation class recently: Good anti-stress measure plus some stimulating adult conversation.

However last night I did find myself at odds with the 'teacher'. The subject of Karma, rebirth and animals. I don't actually subscribe to the Buddhist path but I do like some of the teachings so it was all too much for me when we were encouraged to let our pets die of natural causes instead of trying to end suffering by euthanasia. I was outraged. The principle is that if we terminate the suffering then the soul of the animal cannot ripen its karma and so takes a low rebirth again... er .. So that means my cat who had her face smashed in by a hubcap would have had to either bleed or starve to death. I don't think so!!!

At the end of the class I ended up having to explain my reticence and got the feeling that the teacher felt I was simply unable to show the faith that was necessary, and therefore should be treated with long suffering and compassion for my error. Whatever - there is no way I think animals should suffer. Full stop.

During the course of the debate I found myself defending and explaining
1. My Christian frame of reference
2. My Pagan frame of reference
3. The bits of the Buddhist frame of reference that I sign up for

So many spiritual paths? It can only mean one thing, in a truly cosmic sense - "No one is going to get me" - with all the bases covered I should be bomb proof!


Anonymous said...

The smaller the world gets and the more we learn about each others cultures, the more everyone will have a patchwork faith. I think it makes a person healthier because it means they are engaged with their own lives instead of just coasting along. It is kind of like the breeding of a dog.. the more purebred it is, the less healthy it will likely be.


Nick said...

I call myself a Buddhist but I don't subscribe to the idea of letting people or animals suffer unnecessarily and I don't believe in rebirth either. But then there are many different strands of Buddhism. For me it's basically about Enlightenment, realising your true nature and the true nature of everything around you.

trousers said...

Belief is one thing, adherence to dogma is another (he says with a very blithe generalisation). In a situation like this it sounds to me more a case of knowing your own mind and principles, ie showing independence of thought and spirit, rather than being persuaded to go along with something as a matter of faith. And good for you (oh bloody hell this could all sound so patronising but it certainly isn't meant that way!).

DJ Kirkby said...

I personally believe that getting your face smashed in with a hubcap ripens your karma PDQ! I'm with you on the euthinasia belief.

Queen Vixen said...

Craig: Here's to spiritual diversity!

Nick: Thats what it means to me too.

Trousers: Not a hint of 'patronising' - I agree with you. Dogma is rather destructive I fear.

dj: Thats good to know. I did feel that the rest of the group were adapting to what was being taught. I just dont agree with it at all.

Exmoorjane said...

Patchwork faith does it for me! I think part of our sacred duty to animals is to care for them and take them out of misery when necessary......and believe we humans should have the same choice too, to die with dignity and out of pain. Why is suffering necessary? I don't get that....