For the most part, dogs in the USA have it made: They don’t have to work. They don’t have to worry about rent or taxes, They don’t have to worry about feeding their kids. So if I had to choose, heck, maybe being reborn as a dog would be better than being reborn as a human in my next life. Heck, nowadays even calling someone a “dawg” is considered a compliment.
But anyone can tell you, much of the world treats dogs horribly. I use to live in Pakistan where Muslims hated dogs. Calling someone a “dog” is a deep insult in Islam. It is not uncommon in Pakistan for people to throw rocks at dogs. I saw diseased, malnourished, maimed dogs wander around towns all over Pakistan. They run for cover every time some bends over in fear that another stone would come whistling toward their heads. I even saw dogs get attacked with knifes and then wander about with a bloody dangling ear looking for food.
So it may not seem that being reborn a dog is such a good idea given the risk of being born in a Muslim country. But even suffering dogs seem to suffer very differently than we humans do. I am sure you noticed something I have: dogs don’t pity themselves like we do. You see 3-legged dogs hop around like nothing happened. They wag their tails and play around just like other dogs. Even the dog with the dangling bloody ear acted like almost nothing happened. It seems like a dog can find happiness much easier than us humans. It seems that they don’t have half the self-pity that we human carry around. So it seems like hoping to be reborn a dog might not be as bad as you imagine even if I were reborn in Pakistan. [BTW, I love much about that country — just not they way they treat dogs and women. Well and a few other classical Muslim things.]
So is it possible to have a Dog Brain when we face suffering? I have recently been reading about Dzogchen (a stream of Buddhism). Dzogchen idealizes the “non-dualistic” state. Dzogchen looks at dualistic thinking like it is a curse. Maybe that is what a dog doesn’t have — maybe they don’t have a sense of self that allow self-pity. So maybe these Buddhist are trying to shut down the parts of their human brains that make them human and returning to being a simpler mammal like a dog. Well I am sure that is not a 100% true (smile), because I know Buddhists manage to keep the parts of the brain that enjoys all the wonders of the world. And I doubt that dogs feel the wonder and awe that we do. So maybe Buddhist are having their cake (a dog’s lack of self-pity) and eating it too (human awe).
That may sound derogatory and sacrilegious to Buddhists but maybe that is because all of us carry about a little Muslim in us that looks down at dogs. Just as my earlier post asked the reader to see the beauty of the apparently sacrilegious phrase, “life is a game“, so today I am wondering if it is possible for readers to pause their dualistic mind long enough to see why desiring a dog brain may not be half bad?
Question to Readers: Why do you think dogs can act fairly normal with injuries that would cause major depression many of us? Have you seen this?