Many of us have pets, work with animals and care about their end of life. We asked the following two questions:
1. How can we help a dying animal?
2. How can we help an animal that has died?
These two questions have been answered by Ringu Tulku, and Lama Tenkyab from Mindrolling monastery:
Ringu Tulku’s response:
« Generally there’s nothing separate, you don’t need to make any separation or any difference for what you do when you do when a human being dies or an animal dies from a Buddhist point of view.
So you can do anything or everything you do for a human being.
Also you can recite the names of Buddhas. Recite any mantras like Amitabha, vajrasattva, Chenrezig, Tara.
All these kind of mantras you can say.
You can also give blessed medicine to the animal before it dies or whatever you can do. »
Lama Tenkyab’s response :
« I think there’s no difference when you do puja for dog, creature, animal even the human being. These are all the same. There’s no particular practice/prayer for the dog, creature, animal, insect.
When you do prayers it’s the same for every being.
Even a small insect has consciousness,there’s no difference, only the body. Some have big bodies, some have small bodies.
Otherwise all creatures, animals, everyone needs happiness, nobody wants to suffer
There’s no particular prayer/puja for dog, creature, small insect, human being as everyone has Buddha nature. That’s what I’m thinking:-) (chuckles).»
Khenpo Rangdol’s response:
“The first question is: How can we help a dying animal.
If you know some prayers like Chenrezig, Tara, Amitabha etc you can chant these.
If you don’t know these prayers then you can just make wishes.
You can make lots of wishes like, ‘May this animal die very peacefully, without having big problems, and big difficulties.’
So making wishing prayers is very important.
If you are a Buddhist devotee you can put a little bit of these precious, blessed pills in the animal’s mouth to connect with the dharma. This is because the animal doesn’t know anything about the dharma. Wish for them to have a good rebirth in the next life as a human being or other being.
Make lots of prayers for this and share, and care, and love this dying animal.
The second question is, how to help an animal once it has died.
OK, and what practice do we do? So when the animal has already died, it’s good to recite the prayer ‘The King of Prayers’, an aspiration prayer which is one of the most powerful texts. Not only this prayer, but also Buddha Amitabha’s Pureland, Chenrezig prayers etc.
There are a number of wishing prayers as well as your own.
It would be good to offer some butter lamps, either in front of the dead animal, or at your home. Also anywhere, it doesn’t matter.
If you have some good connections with monks and nuns you can request them to say prayers for your lovely dead animal. That would be very useful.
At the same time you can make your own wishing prayers, offer butterlamps (tea lights/candles).
This is a practice that can be done.”
See The Question of Euthanasia in Animals.