A Catholic Renewal

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fredag, maj 16, 2008
Har djur en själ? / Do animals have a soul?

Update: as most of the comments are in English - feel free to join in, or read the discussion which you'll find in the comments right below this posting.

Det går naturligtvis även bra att skriva på svenska....!


Den frågan (ifall även djur har en själ) dök upp som ett sidospår i "utomjordingsdiskussionen" i Monicas blogg.

Så här skrev jag där:

"Vem vet, nästa uttalande från Vatikanen kanske blir att även djur, som Guds skapelser, har själ.

För mig är det självklart och mer än tydligt - man behöver inte vistas bland djur länge för att se att de inte bara är större eller mindre "köttberg" för att uttrycka det lite drastiskt. De är individer, personligheter.

Och vad är det just som utmärker själen?

Jo - det individuella och personliga - som inte kan ersättas av någon annan - och som det inte finns några kopior eller kloner av."

Lustigt nog tar Yahoo nu upp personlighetstest på katter (och hundar) - för att vi ska hitta rätt matchning mellan oss och våra husdjur. Alla katter passar inte vem som helst - så att säga.


"All of the types have fun, vivid names and descriptions. Barnaby is "leader of the band." His opposite, a cat low on both scales, is called a "private investigator," who stays out of trouble.

A more middle of the road cat is familiar to many people: the "personal assistant." "You're working on the computer? Let me press the keys. Reading the paper? I'll hold the pages down for you... You'll wonder how you ever managed without me," according to program literature.

Equally important to the Feline-ality program is the fact that people differ, too. Adopters fill out a questionnaire and the results give them a color code, telling them which set of personality types would be best for them to consider.


Weiss says that people still sometimes fall in love with a cat that isn't a perfect fit, but the program can help in these cases too: People who know what issues to expect are more prepared to deal with them.

But as Monsma says, "There are so many cats out there, why not get one that fits?""

Läs hela artikeln här.


Sååååå....... Vad tror du? Har djur själ eller inte? Passar ditt/dina husdjurs personlighet ihop med dig?

(Bilden av tavlan är från den senaste vernissagen.)

Etiketter: , , , , ,

postat av Charlotte Therese Björnström @ 16:49  
44 Kommentar/-er:
  • 16 maj, 2008 17:25 sa Anonymous Johan Stenberg

    ...vilket påminner mig om Kung Salomo som filosoferar i Predikaren: "Vem kan säga om boskapens själ att den sjunker nedåt, och om människans själ att den stiger uppåt" (fritt ur minnet).

  • 16 maj, 2008 17:57 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese



    Tack för det citatet! :-)


  • 17 maj, 2008 10:36 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese

    Jag bjöd även in personer som inte kan svenska att kommentera detta inlägg.

    Nedan följer svar.

    Det går bra att kommentera vidare på svenska eller engelska!

    Särskilt intressant är frågan om själ/ande.


  • 17 maj, 2008 10:37 sa Anonymous +Claudio

    I believe we should first decide on what the soul is.

    For me the soul is the abode of the Sprit of God, the granary of our spiritual experiences. I believe we build our souls though them and by following the Father’s will. From this perspective animals cannot have souls. Of course, they don’t have the ability to know God and to be like Him.

    In a progressively spiritualizing world, animals--I am afraid—cannot survive material death. If this a corollary to your question.

    Yet I think that their true feelings of affection and faithfulness are/will not be lost. They would likely survive somehow with no identity in a pantheistic way.

    While writing this, I was making an association with true, absolute atheists who are very often better persons than Christian believers. If they finally don’t survive death, I am convinced that their positive, “quasi spiritual” experiences must somehow survive, again with no identity.


  • 17 maj, 2008 10:39 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese

    Thanks Claudio,

    Very interesting - we define soul differently - and reach a different conclusion.

    I see the "spirit" as similar to how you describe soul. (If one may split them.)

    I see the soul as what makes us into individuals - personalities - with feelings etc.

    And animals indeed have feelings, are personalities, individuals.

    So I think animals may have souls - and that they may be rescued just by being themselves in God's creation.

    But do they have a spirit? I don't know....

    What do you say regarding this?

    And what do you others think?


  • 17 maj, 2008 10:40 sa Anonymous +Claudio

    I believe both soul and spirit are used interchangeably, though I generally use this inner Spirit to mean the Spirit of God within us, the indwelling Spirit.

  • 17 maj, 2008 12:20 sa Anonymous Anonym


    My take on it is probably more free-wheeling than most, but it goes like this. One of my friends likes to say that if there are no dogs in heaven he doesn't want to go. That presumes giving enduring value to instinctual animal life. I hope that's so. But instinctual life for me is not as complicated nor evolved as human life and that's where differences arise for me between me and my cats and dogs.

    One of human nature's tendencies is to project qualities of our lives onto animals. In the circus they do tricks that copy our behavior. Authors have created beast fables and poetry that give animals all kinds of human powers. Sometimes we compare our behavior to theirs. . .wise as an owl or tricky as a fox.

    After leaving parish ministry 12 years ago, I worked as a musician in a big theme park for eight years that featured presentations of wolves in captivity. The park was open from March through October but the wolves were there year round cared for by several women. The wolves were usually ready to face audiences by April each year but, because they are wild, they have to be retrained slowly to get them used to having other people around. One of the female trainers asked if I would sit with a couple of the animals to accustom them again to the presence of a male. Since I'm animal-friendly, I agreed to do it and entered a cage with a female wolf who could easily have killed me if she wanted to. (The animals, by the way, were born in captivity to foolish folks who wanted them as house pets.)

    They are huge and wild and share little genetic makeup with dogs.. At first we simply stared at one another and I called her name "Dakota" in a friendly voice. Being seen by that wolf was one of most incredible experiences I've ever had. I felt as though something very old was seeing right through me. It was a sacred moment for me. . .pure INSTINCT. I was transparent before that animal in a way that she wasn't for me. In my human evolutionary process, I'd lost the ability to life with that kind of simple clarity and power. Either I was her friend or her enemy or, worst case scenario, her dinner. I don't if that's soul or not, but it's something powerful, earthy and to be respected.

    When I was a youngster studying the Baltimore Catechism many years ago, the soul was represented to me as a bottle of milk that was a receiver of sins mortal and venial. Big black spots were mortal and lesser were venial. The magic solution, of course, was confession that restored all things to their whitened state. All this, too, was tangled up with indulgences of various sizes for a wide variety places, blessings and occasions. . .partial, plenary and whatever else the papacy was foisting on the peasants that year.

    In a word, I don't know what soul is. But I'm formulating some idea. I like to make artificial distinctions between ego (the past), self (the present body), soul (the joyful future) and the role of the heart in all of this. (I deliberately avoid the use of the word spiritual because for me it has no meaning any longer. Life is life and all of it is spirit (quantum) having a human experience in my body. It also has been hijacked to mean "religious" which it isn't.

    I define ego set of emotions and ideas that ties me to history. It's the part of me culturally and physically conditioned in my body to search for answers among the things I've learned. That means, ego is unable to look past itself because it will experience fear and withdrawal because it will be threatened. The ego has no future beyond what it can create out of its limited knowledge.

    The self is what I present to the world on a daily basis. It is largely governed by the ego which, as we know, thrives on desire. There is never enough for the ego. If the ego is housed in a body that is programmed for heavily addictive behavior, things get very busy and life because more self-destructive than constructive. The dance of ego and body is playing out daily on an international level as we watch conflicts that never find resolution because the addiction to power rules our consciousness at present.

    Now, what about the soul? The soul is, for me, that part of self engaged in the world but NOT engaged in its past. The soul understands a joyful future that is present NOW. But in order to find that future, it must develop ways of knowing that do not look backward to repeat social patterns of power and control. The soul looks forward into the via negativa -- the way of practice that empties the need for power and control. The soul relies on the way of the heart to know the bright future . . .the heart then becomes an organ of perception that expands the inner sensorium. . . the way of seeing the world more fully from within our bodies.

    The self is present in the world as who I am in my body and what I present to life in any moment. The ego holds it in place and gives it a limiting identity tied to history and history's darkness and desire. The ego likes religious stuff and is wedded to right and wrong, doctrine and church magic. It is fearful of change and angry with those who differ. The ego is indoctrinated to believe what it is told and has no real sense of its own authority. It doesn't want to grow up and accept responsibility for history's misuse of power and stolen virtue.

    The soul is free because it's always connected through the heart to a bright future. It knows that all those books on my shelf will only add a burden to my life and not lift it. It knows that I will have to shed my religion into to find that joy that is within the present moment just the way it is. It knows that the only sacrament is the one that Jesus celebrated with his life: total surrender of all in order to serve the Mystery. Nothing is broken so there's nothing to fix. Nothing to gain because there's nothing to lose. I need nothing and ego's belief that I do keeps me in pain.

    I believe that the soul part of me will continue after this body self is no longer necessary. Since the ego is a body thing for me, I will leave its history, anguish, striving and desire behind when I transition to the next place after death. I will live on to show love to others as others from the space we call heaven now show their love through me. The many souls create the Life Soul that nourishes those of us willing to give ourselves in sacred service to the world.

    I can do nothing about any of this except stay attentive and mindful to the dynamic life that is who I am . . .what Jesus would call the kingdom within. I'm helpless in all of this but can never stop my pursuit of the perfect moment already within until I awaken within it and see Life as it truly is.

    Then I will see my relationship with animals (and all creation) as it is and not in terms of how I want to define it to make myself feel better.

    Anybody buying this?


  • 17 maj, 2008 12:22 sa Anonymous John

    Yes what do we mean by soul and spirit?

    I myself use the two interchanbeably as I can't see much difference between how they're used.

    I xtianity the way +Claudio defines it - soul is sued in that way.
    But when I look in my simple English dictionary it says this:

    soul is the part of a person that is capable of feeling and thinking (is that not the brain?). And animals feel and think as well?

    And further: the soul is the spiritual part of a person that some religions believe exist after physical death.

    So the dictionary uses the word spirit to define the word soul?

    Then the same dictionary says this about spirit: the part of a person that some religions/people believe exist after death -

    and a dead person who comes into the world.

    This is only a very simple dictionary. More complex ones will give better definitions.

    But I mention this to show that the 2 words are often sued interchangeably.

    What do we mean by 'spirituality'? or that someonbe is spiritual (but not necessarily religious?

  • 17 maj, 2008 12:25 sa Anonymous John

    +David, absolutely

    Thanks for having spent time to share this.

    Very well set out for the rest of us.

    Makes much sense
    and when reading it one finds that it expresses much of what one can share and did not yet put in words.

    I never thought about the meaning of soul or spirit (used to be a big thing in philosophy from the Greeks: body, soul, spirit. My philosophy prof wrote a book on that, and being a humanist wrote one called: mortality of the souls as well). But I never thought of what soul or spirit means to me - although soul is a huge word on xtian theology - THE centre of humans they say, the image of God and the 'place' that connects us with God - in that framework to me it's mere specualation.

    But the way you and +Claudio described it: it makes sense, is meaningful, a useful concept, have a function, etc.

    I liked the Baltimore Cath you referred to: sounds like form the middle ages, in which RC and most other organzied xtianity is still fossilized.

    So much that you expressed that needs more careful consideration and response than what a half asleep me in the middle of the night can do.

    Yes, about the ego (false or individual or personal self?) - that I've explored in different contexts - for example Vedanta self-realization, psychology, the desert fathers and the mystcial xtian tradiiton,

    And yes to what you say about the self, also much explored by myself, and in terms of the above contexts as well as sociology's 'presentation of the self, my self, our selves, in everyday life to oneself and to the others".

    And again a useful and necessary concept for me - in terms of Vedanta (maharishi's - realization of the one real self , or 'God', the sufi Beloved, the Buddhamind or enlightenmen, etc)
    excellent mail, thanks.


  • 17 maj, 2008 12:27 sa Anonymous John

    >I believe both soul and spirit are used interchangeably, though I generally use this inner Spirit to mean the Spirit of God within us, the indwelling Spirit.

    Yes +Claudio,
    that is also how I make sense of the word spirit in the context human - The Spirit of 'GOD'.

    Orthodox see the personal acquisition of the Holy Spirit as the goal of the life of all christians, and of course of all monks/priests, and laity.
    Or, not using the human person as point of reference, but the Holy Spirit as the point of reference, one can state it as: the appropriation of the human being/person by the Holy Spirit. The 'result' being, as described in the letter to the Galatians chapetr 5, verse 2 (patience, fortitude, love/compassion etc. Attitudes that always remind me so much of the 8-fold path of Buddhism: right thinking, right action, right mindfulness, etc)

    Using the person of Christ, instead of the person (or Economy/function as Orthodox Theology says) of the Holy Spirit, as point of reference it could be said that: the individual put on the Mind of Christ.

    As you and I discussed on several occasions (this is a different subject from what we here deal with by the invitation of Charlotte): whose Spirit indwells in the human person? That of 'God" - meaning the Trinity, and/or that of the Son/Christ, and/or that of the Holy Spirit?


  • 17 maj, 2008 12:29 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    Thanks for the input - gives me many things to think of as often!

    Great about the wolves - did you get my mail about the eventual woolf around here the other day...? Just heard the howling - very POWERFUL.

    Also very interesting what you say about the Trinity, John.

    What do you think - whose spirit is it? Can it be separated if they're as one? Is the spirit simply the holy Spirit - dwelling in everything?


  • 17 maj, 2008 12:31 sa Anonymous john

    Don't know whose Spirit it is:

    in general, that of the entire Trinity -

    at different stages of Mass, the Spirit of the different God 'persons'/functions/epiphanies or showings -

    but seems to be the Spirit of the different persons/epiphanies or manifestations of God at different times - as people 'use' it or direct themselves to it-

    all through the Son's Spirit, from the Holy Spirit - to the Father's (so we're told anyhow) -

    to mee - it seems ONE Spirit -

    and we dissect it afterwards by reflection,
    depending on the point of vgiew/perspective we use to talk/

    think about it.

    Like looking at the same house from the front, top, foundations, sides, back.

    These thoughts are when I play the theological and philosophical games - or use their points of view,

    meta- or second-order thinking or talking ABOUT such things.

    But as +David says, the first-order experience or concrete, practical living is that of everyday, 24/7 existence or just to be/BE-ing.
    This comes before the second-order or meta talking ABOUt or reflections/thinking about of theology and philosophy. Disciplines that sue first-order, concrete experience (of the ehart or emboied self) as there subject-matter.

    Then one does not ask in a reflective manner: whose spirit it is. One just is one/d or united with 'it'.


  • 17 maj, 2008 12:34 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    >But as +David says, the first-order experience or concrete, practical living is that of everyday, 24/7 existence or just to be/BE-ing.
    This comes before the second-order or meta talking ABOUt or reflections/thinking about of theology and philosophy. Disciplines that sue first-order, concrete experience (of the ehart or emboied self) as there subject-matter.

    Then one does not ask in a reflective manner: whose spirit it is. One just is one/d or united with 'it'.

    Couldn't agree more....

    But many feel the need of words too - as a way to better understand what they experience.

    So in that way words may be useful for awhile. Between the initial wordless experience and re-experiences, so to say.


  • 17 maj, 2008 17:09 sa Anonymous Anonym

    In a hurry but just want to inject one thing. . . Remember that theologians do NOT live in a unitive state. They are working totally out of a world that is subject/object. Even the bright ones never get past a world of appearances and observations.

    For them we come into the this. For me now, we come OUT of the world of which we are a part. . .


  • 17 maj, 2008 17:09 sa Anonymous Anonym

    Enjoying this conversation! For me, it does not occur to ask "which spirit"...it is simply an experience akin to the standing in the ocean (the shallower parts - lol). One does not ask "which ocean" but rather experiences immersion.


    who has not inquired of the resident cats...they simply "are"...like most of God's creation.

  • 17 maj, 2008 17:10 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    I think it sounds a bit too gereralized. There are SOME theologians (even if probably quite few nowadays) who do live in a unitive state, who write out of that state.


  • 17 maj, 2008 17:13 sa Anonymous john

    Thanks Charlotte you understood what I meant and what +David and Mac+ also wrote about

    first-order, or concrete or direct experience - in this case of the Spirit,

    and reflective, second- or meta-order (conceptual) distinctions ; usually with the technical terminology of theology of philosophy.

    As you, Charlotte, says: this reflection has an useful and even necesssary role/function.

    I find when I reflect on what I experience or undergo, then I go past or beyond that state or transcend it. Thus it is the prepared ground for further experience.

    One can spend a life-time in an unreflective state; while with the assistance of reflection (philosophy, theology or common sense), when transcends that particular state immediately - because it enables one to reflect upon, as if seeing from a distance, or in a mirror - one's situation.

    Then with this objectivitiy, one has prepared the ground for further, more progound or different experiences.

    Philosophical, theological terms, methods, rational thinking and techniques assist people to overcome home-made psychology's associated superstitions, flat earth world views and reactionary attitudes. But I agree with what +David says: there is a time and place for it. And one first requires direct, personal experience (be it in a relationship of/with God, or whatever subject-matter), otherwise reflections become mere living and being locked up in a philosopher's/theologian's, producing irrelevant, even pointless, endless cerebral speculations, contrived intellectualisms, and irrelevant ideas to populate yet another
    fictional philosophical universe and just one more theologican's, insular, solipsistic little planet.

    Insights or understanding of this kind is different from mere factual information or just more factual knowledge.

    Of course not all people, all the time find such reflection necessary,

    but self-reflection awareness, makes human beings different from animals. Other species live by instinct or in terms of natural reflex/es, reflexion
    while humans have the ability/potential to live by reflection.

    A balance between these two are perhaps the wisest, middle way.
    It can for example assist in overcoming obsessions, compulsions,
    addictions, etc. But one should be careful not to make it yet another compulsion.


  • 17 maj, 2008 18:27 sa Anonymous Anonym

    Well Charlotte,

    I haven't studied Theology to answer you as someone who understand about it...

    But... honestly...

    For me...

    They do! eheheh

    I have already had a deep experience when... I prayed for a person and the person's female dog realized I was praying... she got near me... and put her mouth on my feet... in a so tender way... that it really gave me an impression that dog was praying! heehheeheh

    But... the only person I really think who could answer us... is already in Heaven.
    Saint Francis of Assis, eheheh He could tell us better! heheh

    hugs you all!

    Gabriel, from Brazil,

  • 17 maj, 2008 18:39 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    Thanks for input!

    And cool that you found out how to post on a Swedish blog... :-)

    The dog you mentioned was maybe a dog-emplative? Rather than a dog-ismatic....

    Yes, S.t Francis probably knows...

    In the posting is also a link to an interesting article about how to chose a cat or dog after its and our personalities.


  • 17 maj, 2008 18:41 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    Thanks for developing the thoughts even more!


  • 17 maj, 2008 20:00 sa Anonymous Anonym


    On the other hand...

    in this case, we'd batter say "on the other paw", heheheh

    I know a dog... it also a female dog, her name is Sully, and...she's very big, but she attends to the Masses, yeah... she goes to the Entrance Procession, heheheh, and the most interesting thing is ...
    As "she" is in all the Masses, I've already joked with the priest (who's got a CCR' spirituality) and said
    "Father, this dog barks in tongues and prays with laying paws", hehehe

    Saint Francis must be laugh up there in heaven! heheh

    hugs, kisses,

  • 17 maj, 2008 21:31 sa Anonymous +Claudio

    Yes, we have talked about it…

    This is controversial, but, I don’t believe the indwelling Spirit to be the Holy Spirit, though is also holy. I believe that the Inner Spirit comes from God the Father, the Holy Spirit from God the Spirit and the Spirit of Truth from God the Son. They somehow diminish their infinity to inhabit and guide man, each one with their own purpose. I have to do some research on that but probably angels are the coordinating angels of these three spiritual presences in men and women.

    I previously did not want to start this topic because I don’t have much time to discuss and prove my points.


  • 17 maj, 2008 21:33 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    Yes - of course - on the other paw... :-)

    Thanks for sharing about the dog - who reminds me of Larry the famous cat - in another posting recently...


  • 17 maj, 2008 21:42 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    Maybe you could develop those thoughts a bit for us when you have time?


  • 17 maj, 2008 23:55 sa Anonymous Anonym

    I believe dogs are very intuitive, a higher level of intuition than man. Often in possession of more common sense than man.

    Let's not forget the dog who can foretell his owners heart attack and epileptic seizures, and warn them.

    They sense how we feel, think and respond to those needs in a doggie way.

    I wish my current and now deceased dogs could go to heaven. No scriptural basis.

    Soul may be considered the essence of the individual, while the spirit is the indwelling of a triune God.


  • 18 maj, 2008 14:49 sa Anonymous Anonym


    I didn't mean to slam theologians quite so hard with my generalized statement about them (us). I was (and remain) in a hurried state today with too much to do. But still I want to keep this conversation alive.

    I believe the educational system is doing this. . .at least in what I know of Anglicanism. The people who taught me theology as an adult in the '60's and '70's were academics with little or no understanding of anything that I would call "mystical." Many of them had incredibly confused and conflicted lives. I don't want to take this further but a moment's consideration reveals how conventional, dogmatic religious practice brings little real healing to life. It continues to split it into irreconcilable parts and offer empty magic to tie the pieces together.

    Some of you may know the work of Margaret Guenther. She's a wonderful writer and friend and we taught together during the summer session a number of years ago at the General Theological Seminary in New York City. She succeeded Alan Jones (now dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco) as director of General's spirituality institute. She and others feel the absence of any teachings in Episcopal seminaries that aren't considered "hard" academic subjects. Anything outside those boundaries are considered "soft" and not worth pursuing. Mystical writings are merely mentioned and tolerated but the content certainly isn't pursued systematically nor seriously.

    Did a two week scholar-in-residence time a couple of years ago at another Episcopal seminary and found the same thing. Lots of Anglo-Catholic ceremonial (done lifelessly) with grand music but it lead back to the mind and thinking and analyzing text. There was no personal healing there beyond gathering more information that is largely useless.

    I asked a friend on the faculty (in 12-Step recovery which is entirely mystical and about total surrender to a Higher Power)) how they could get away with this. He said many of the alumni who are generous to the university see little point in supporting a program that is "mushy" and without a clear direction. Thus we watch the decline and fall of Western Christianity.


  • 18 maj, 2008 14:52 sa Anonymous John


    I understood what you meant, and I often said the same thing to you, especially about western theology - intellectualism.

    It is only during the last century that some of them wrote from personal experience and thus had any feeling and understanding of the mystical state.

    As you say it has to be hard theology for their real work, as academics.

    The mysticism or spirituality side was not known, and if they did know about it, rejected.


  • 18 maj, 2008 17:04 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    Thanks for sharing...

    D, J,

    I think the best theologians are those who write from their own experiences of God.

    That's what it's all about anyway.

    To get to know God - and to pass on possible ways to that knowledge - which must be received first-hand anyway...

    Mystics are among the best theologians in that way.

    They don't stay at the surface, or get stuck in phrases.

    They investigate the depths and tell us about it - and by doing so, invite us to the Source Itself.


  • 19 maj, 2008 16:16 sa Anonymous Anonym

    When asked if a dog had Buddha nature, the Zen master replied, 'Mu'. ('Emptiness')

  • 19 maj, 2008 16:52 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    Thanks for your input!

    Says a lot in few words. Still remains a puzzle (at the surface).

    Like a koan...?


  • 26 maj, 2008 14:59 sa Anonymous Anonym

    Do animals have souls?


    Does a dog have Buddha nature?


    Does a cow have Buddha nature?


  • 26 maj, 2008 15:00 sa Anonymous Anonym

    If animals do not have souls then at what point did humans develop a soul in their evolution from hominids?

    Best wishes


  • 26 maj, 2008 15:02 sa Anonymous John


    Yes, that is the serious question asked and explored by those (different scientists stuyding the evolution of life on our planet in this vast universe, and that of the human species) who spend much of their lives on it. This question can be broken down into smaller ones, for example at what stage of development did different species, and our own, develop 'consciousness', (whatever is meant by this complex, umbrella-word), and in the case of the human species (as self-aware systems) "self-consciousness"?

    Other species live by instincts or reflex, while human beings have the ability to reflect and order their priorities, self-preoccupations and existence by the insights they obtain from reflection (on oneself, the entire species, our socio-cultural and natural environment and planet, solar system, galaxy, and multiverse or universes).

    I only referred to 'consciousness', while the elusive soul-concept is of course even more nebulous and ineffable (or not?).


  • 26 maj, 2008 15:06 sa Anonymous john


    MU is very important in Buddhism

    we should all cultivate it and then be it automatically, the Xtian version: the lilies of the field that does not labor etc,

    I've stuck in reeds all over my graden last year - one of the few things that grows in the heat and dry place -

    now I've got several reeds the height of the house, always swaying in the wind (buddhist like that also as an example:
    be flexible, bend with situations - not standing like a tree that gets blown over).

  • 26 maj, 2008 15:07 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    Can you explain a bit more about "MU"?


  • 26 maj, 2008 15:40 sa Anonymous Anonym

    can't explain it. you have to experience it. meditate.

  • 26 maj, 2008 15:45 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    I meant - what is meant by the word itself?

    I guess most readers here are Christians - and have never heard of this.

    I would like to get some kind of definition myself as well...


  • 26 maj, 2008 16:34 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    Or was it maybe someone else than John who wrote?

    Anyhow - would appreciate an answer...


  • 27 maj, 2008 12:25 sa Anonymous Barbara Flaherty

    Hello all,
    This is my first post. My name is Barbara. I live on the Mexican border in New Mexico. For 30 years I lived among tribal people in Alaska. So my response comes from my own experience and the doors they opened for me. I only want to share about the most profound communal prayer I know. It is the prayer of “all my relations”. It begins with a prayer to the creator, a blessing of mother earth inviting her to join in the prayer. The four cardinal directions are then invited. With each invitation comes a prayer for the wellbeing of the invited one, and a prayer for that they will have the guidance, protection and assistance they need. Above and below, within and without are invited. The six elements – earth, air, fire, water, ether, and light. Each are prayed for in the invitation. The rock people are invited and the ones that grow, the four legged, creepy crawlies, swimmers, and those that fly. The ancestors of the land the prayer is prayed on, the ancestors of each being that has come to the prayer. The holy ones of all traditions that have carried the sacred messages and truths through all the generations are then invited and prayed for. Then the cosmos and the star nation people are invited to the prayer and prayed for. It goes on. When the invitation is complete the prayer begins.

    This is a pipe ceremony. Each one prays to the creator in the presence of the assembled community of all our relations. Each smokes and blows the incense out in the directions. Then there is quiet while the invisible visits and smokes the “mother pipe” that exists in all layers and realities. A sense of union is present, perhaps deep silence comes and emptiness, perhaps a vision. Always a song.

    Do animals and other beings bring presence and consciousness. Yes. What kind of consciousness do they bring to that circle? Ah, that is interesting. There is definitely a distinct sense of presence in certain beings. A different lens of perception.

    My mentor, an Inupiaq elder, complained to me when invited to a government meeting to preserve the ancient indigenous healing ways. He said that even it he spoke perfect English, they do not have the minds capable of understanding such subtle concepts. They will take down the words and think they understand but they will not because they are not aware of how connected they are to all that is. They do not know. Maybe they never knew, or maybe they forgot.

    Maybe it is that way with animals and other beings. Our western comprehension of their spirits, their consciousness is dulled somewhat like the government person. There is so much we do not understand. The heart alone connects and is moved in a deep way in such a prayer.

    That is my story. I have personally found this to be a very life giving experience. Unlike a theological argument that positions humans and our egos in such a mighty place. We alone are in the image of God? We alone are capable of consciousness? I have seen the consciousness of animals. The Inuit peoples understand the nature of the give away when an animal offers itself so others might live. The rituals of honoring that animal’s beneficence, and praying for its spirit to be free to return or go on – these are very simple everyday rituals. They cultivate a consciousness of the others’ integrity.

    As I close I have to say to the one who commented on cats and keyboards. I know this experience very well! Thank you for allowing me to post. It is good to “meet” you.

    Barbara Flaherty

  • 27 maj, 2008 12:33 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese

    Dear Barbara,

    Welcome here!

    Thanks for sharing your story - very interesting - it shows us a glimpse of a culture that I have hardly no knowledge about...

    So close to us - and still so far away. Feel free to share more about this!

    However, I do recognize what you write about animals - their special presence.

    I may have the privilege to take care of a little kitten for some weeks soon. Have been warned that he wakes one up by biting in ones nose in the morning, as well as licking on the fingers.

    I think I'll survive that.

    Wonder if he likes to dance on the keyboard as well? A friends' kittens love it. They destroy pretty much everything she writes...

    So if my blog posts look odd during a couple of weeks in the summer - I'll be able to blame it on the kitten... ;-)


    P.S. I moved your blog post here to the posting about animals as it fits better here than where it first ended up.

    If you wish to answer to this - just press the comment link in this posting - that will bring the answer here.

  • 27 maj, 2008 12:37 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese

    To those who are interested in "mu" - I got this link to wikipedia which explains it a bit more:



  • 27 maj, 2008 16:27 sa Anonymous Anonym

    In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition animals do have a Buddha nature,
    all sentient beings have Buddha nature. The Buddha gave his ministry
    many years ago, so where sentience begins is open to question, but
    it does include insects. This life force, potential goes from life
    to life it is not 'owned' like some may see a soul, more like a
    candle lighting a candle a life force which goes on and on.

    The earlier relgions did recognise that may life forms had spirits,
    the trees, water etc in both the Andes and the Himalayas the
    mountains themselves are see almost like spirits, but not like
    Olympus the home of the gods.

    The wonderous teachings of Jesus do not cover souls of animals
    perhaps the Divine was aware we have enough to comprehend and walk
    our own spiritual journey without worrying about the souls of other
    creatures. I do seem to recall we are required at the creation to
    look after the animal kingdom, the term master meaning more about
    caring than abusing these creatures

    All in all if we choose to regard all of creation as having souls,
    just on the off chance, it may be we will act in a manner which
    displays love of creation, breeds peace in our hearts and allows
    this life to be a reflection of the spirit within and our own next
    journey, after this life, may be more beneficial.


  • 06 juni, 2008 02:41 sa Anonymous Anonym

    Please check out:

    1. www.fearnomorezoo.org
    2. http://animalliberty.com

  • 06 juni, 2008 12:11 sa Blogger Charlotte Therese


    Thanks for those links.

    Might be worth having a look at also for those who don't think animals have a soul.


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