I recently wrote an article describing my allergy problems. To be more specific, I have a Sagittarian dog which I’m completely allergic to.
As far as I’m concerned this is my fate, and there’s not much I can do about it. Getting rid of the dog is not an option – once you’ve made a decision you can’t go back on it, because a living being would suffer.
That seems to be the right ethical approach, that appears to be in accordance with Buddhist principles. Not that I’m a Buddhist, but I believe that in one of the Buddha’s previous incarnations he allowed himself to be eaten by a sick tigress, to ensure her and her cub’s survival.
It was nonetheless suggested to me that I didn’t have to put up with the dog. The dog could settle down with another owner, and be perfectly happy. I’m not an animal psychologist, but I have my doubts.
There is also the question of whether we’re always tied to our commitments. By analogy, I was asked the following:
If a client came to you with his chart, and you saw that under the deceptive influence of Neptune, he married a showgirl, would you tell him he must live up to his commitment?
My reply to this question is twofold. Firstly, I don’t impose my moral code on my clients. Instead I usually focus on the client’s selfish interests.
Secondly, if one really wants to get moral, there’s a question of awareness. If the client already knew that his wife was highly promiscuous, with fleeting affections, then perhaps he has to take responsibility for his decision. If she’d deceived him, and pretended to be someone who she wasn’t, that’s a different matter.
In my case, I knew I was allergic to animals, but I hoped I’d grown out of it. Too bad.
Yet fate has another dimension, that relates to substitution.
It’s possible that my health was destined to be undermined, though the precise ailment was flexible. So if I didn’t live in proximity to a dog, something else would have made me ill, either physically or psychologically.
Also, there’s the possibility that my inconvenience is a small price to pay for making other animate beings happy. Perhaps my wife and son like having a dog. Perhaps without our intervention the dog would have ended up with a terrible owner.
But whichever way I look at it, getting rid of the dog would be wrong, and would almost certainly incur a Karmic cost.
Copyright © 2010 Archie Dunlop
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