Dogs and Enlightenment

“Sorry I missed it. I was on the Onefold path at the dog park.” – Dharma Brother Pat

Pat’s response to an email concerning some information I was going to share with the Still Mountain Meditation group. But he did something more important instead.

Dogs carry Zen and Tao. Our job, if there is one, is to learn from them. Something Pat has learned and puts into practice.

Dogs, in relationship to the classic eightfold path, possess an amazingly appropriate and relative: View, Intent, Communiation (speech), Actions, Purpose (Livelihood), Effort, Streaming thoughts (mindfulness) and Attention (Concentration.) So, dogs are pretty good at this eightfold path stuff, much better than I can ever imagine any human could be. (Different sensory equipment, conditioning, and interpretation.)

Of course, as they engage in the Eightfold Path it isn’t quite the same experience as a humans’, so they ignore us. And sometimes, as always when we don’t get our way, it’s annoying. Watching this dog do the Buddha’s work. Doing the Eightfold Path as a single experience, as it’s meant to be done.

There are no “Zen Masters” or Buddhist Teachers that can attain the enlightenment of a dog. (Or any member of our animal family, although that’s another story.)

Pat has described a few times when he felt entirely enmeshed in the Dog Park experience, he became the experience of the weave of life. In my book Pat is an Enlightened Guy, a Stream Entrant for sure.

Listen to your heart’s needs, skip that confusing human Dharma stuff, go to a dog park, and visit the Sangha where Zen and the Middle path breathe.

Another day of opportunity and possibility.

Bryan Wagner

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