The Buddhist view is that those who come into our lives, aren’t here by chance. They are with us because of a previously created cause.
Perhaps they are drawn to us, or another family member or even where we live. Some kind of connection, previously established, has given rise to the current effect of them being with us.
Most of us are oblivious to what that original cause may have been. It may have been created in the very distant past, during a previous lifetime. And the kind of relationship we had with the person or pet we currently share our life with may also have been different.
This is part of the reason why we are encouraged to treat animals with all due respect: they may have been our mother, our lover, our best friend, in a previous lifetime.
The way we are together now is not only a result of a previously created cause. In the way we interact we are creating the causes for future results.
Another reason to practice love and compassion: we are setting up our own experience of reality in the future.
I’ve heard of people who’ve had a strong sense that their pet is a being with whom they’ve had a previous connection. A cat, for example, who has come back to the family as a cat once again.
Sometimes this intuition is supported by particular evidence of similarities in behaviour or other quirks.
Humans may also come back as animals. Animals as humans. If we allow ourselves an open mind on the permutations, we recognise just how limitless the possibilities are. And, therefore, how important the close bonds we share with other beings in our lives, at any one moment.
I am currently writing a book about animals and spirituality from a Buddhist perspective. I look forward to sharing much more with you on this intriguing subject when the book is published next year.
Right now I am actively interested in any personal experiences and anecdotes blog readers may like to offer, in the area of pets and reincarnation, which you’d be happy for me to include in the book.
Interesting stories of animal spirituality and human-pet interactions would also be great! Feel free to share your story in the comment section below.
Sincere thanks to author David Michie (whose books include The Dalai Lama’s Cat, The Art of Purring, as well as the non-fiction bestsellers Buddhism for Busy People and Hurry Up and Meditate) for giving permission to Starts at 60 to share this blog. If you would like to read more of David’s blogs, click here.