SN 56.120 says:

Evameva kho, bhikkhave, appakā te sattā ye tiracchā­na­yoniyā cutā manussesu paccājāyanti atha kho eteva bahutarā sattā ye tiracchā­na­yoniyā cutā niraye paccājāyanti … pe … tiracchā­na­yoniyā paccājāyanti … pe … pettivisaye paccājāyanti … pe ….

Beings (sattā) are few who that leave an animal existence (tiracchānayoniyā) & reappear (paccājāyanti) as humans (manussesu)… those beings are more numerous that reappear in hell…. For what reason? They have not realised the Four Noble Truths.

Ebenso nun auch, ihr Mönche werden nur wenige Wesen, die aus tierischem Schoß abscheiden, unter Menschen wiedergeboren, viel mehr sind es der Wesen, die, aus tierischem Schoß abgeschieden, in der Hölle, in tierischem Schoß, im Gespensterreich wiedergeboren werden, Was ist der Grund dafür? Das Nichtschauen, ihr Mönche, der vier edlen Wahrheiten.

Can animals avoid hell by realising the four noble truths?

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    Sorry but are you asking about literal animals, or about animal-like people?
    – ChrisW
    Jan 17, 2018 at 11:21
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    This question was prompted by the comment under this answer.
    – ChrisW
    Jan 17, 2018 at 11:29
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    In Mahayana, yes & monks are obliged to preach the Dharma to animals so that they receive the karmic impressions necessary to move them to the human realm in the next life. I see this question is tagged pali-canon, so I'm just commenting. As a generality, many ideas that were expanded on in Mahayana & are now marginal or absent in Theravada still have some seed in the pali-canon. Jan 18, 2018 at 15:49
  • * wuff *, got it? Me fears not possible. Whether asking about literal animals, or about animal-like people. Jan 19, 2018 at 0:49

4 Answers 4


NO animals cannot. Because the dont have the ability to think wisely. The cannot realize norble truth because cannot see paramartha sathya..they are in one of four kinds of hells. In order to attain nibbana they have to wait till karma ends and born as human,god or brahma

  • So how do you explain the sutta I posted? Thanks Jan 17, 2018 at 21:07

It's for the sake of those capable, that questions of animals are answered. It's for the sake that animals might gain faith in so far, as to simple observe the Uposatha and trust that better circumstances will follow possible in another, better birth, having build on the strong conditions, given upanissayapaccayena.

In regard of beings, having gained a human existence as far as the gross and merely physical appearance, but having character like an animal, meaning that not having attributes of generosity and no virtue, as to what the Buddha told, it's possible that a merely lost being, nevertheless could gain the path.

That is one reason why Dhamma is not only taught to those sick who are capable to get free of disease, but also to those incapable. And for the sake of those able to get the message, it's right and alowable that those not able are taught as well.

"Now, it is because of the person who will alight on the lawfulness, the rightness of skillful mental qualities if he gets to see the Tathagata and gets to hear the Dhamma & Discipline proclaimed by the Tathagata — but not if he doesn't — that the teaching of the Dhamma has been allowed. And it is because there is this sort of person that the other sorts of persons are to be taught the Dhamma as well [on the chance that they may actually turn out to need and benefit from the teaching]."

So there is nothing wrong in also teaching "animals" under humans. Of course, since it is possible danger and not pleasant, there is no duty in do such and just teach if they show some basic characters of what is called a human being (like respect, patient, generosity, felling obligate, and virtue).

If one, on the other side, desires to get animals become humans, thinking all have such as a Buddha-Nature, he/she is not only a fool, but increases by sacrifies into the desert wrong view and suffering is bound to it naturally, being attached to animals, often just a matter of time to addopt the animals way.

Being joyful and gladen if teaching and listening to * wuff *.

In regard of being born as an animal, even if not just a common animal, but one with certain merits, think on pets, one is incapable to grow into the Dhamma, e.g. realize the four Noble Truth. Such is pointed out in the story of the Naga for example:

Then the Blessed One, with regard to this cause, to this incident, had the Saṅgha of monks assembled and said to the nāga:

“You nāgas are not liable to growth in this Dhamma and discipline. Go, nāga. (Staying) right there[2], observe the uposatha on the fourteenth (or) fifteenth and eighth of the fortnight. Thus you will be freed from the nāga-birth and quickly regain the human state.”

The nāga, (thinking,) “It’s said that I’m not liable to growth in this Dhamma and discipline!” sad and unhappy, shedding tears, let out a shriek and left.

(Mv.I.63.5) Then the Blessed One addressed the monks, “Monks, there are two conditions for a male nāga’s reverting to his own state: when he engages in intercourse with a female of his own species, and when he falls asleep with his guard down. These are the two conditions for a male nāga’s reverting to his own state.”

“Monks, an animal, if unaccepted, is not to be given Acceptance. If accepted, he is to be expelled.”

As with animals, human can also be observed of what kind they actually are in cases of being involved on consuming sensuallity and in times the lose sati. Even if normaly human appearance, then, they show their animal nature, not possible to hide.

Maybe you know you self of the cases when there is no disguise grasable.

Althought it seems to be a nice live, living like a pet next kind and generouse people, there is really not much worthy and special in it, think on the many pets in human or animal body dewlling on Dhamma places and in monasteries. If they are able to observe the Uposatha anyway, good. But in now way one is smart in putting ones best fruits from ones garden as sacrify for them, yet worthy of the needed to maintain live as all beings.

If one had the luck to become a pet and then, not seeing the nurishing hand, bites it, shows no gratitude, is even pride to has become a pet under others, for such a being, surely, a talk on Dhamma should be not directed (intended for such a pet), since others might be really hurt, capable to get hurt, if feeding a sick dog with mange.

Rowf! Rowf! Rowf!

I once saw a dog who couldn't eat all the rice I had given it, so he lay down and kept watch over the rice right there. He was so full he couldn't eat any more, but he still lay keeping watch right there. He would drift off and get drowsy, and then suddenly glance over at the food that was left. If any other dog came to eat, no matter how big or how small, he'd growl at it. If chickens came to eat the rice, he'd bark: Rowf! Rowf! Rowf! His stomach was ready to burst, but he couldn't let anyone else eat. He was stingy and selfish.

People can be the same way. If they don't know the Dhamma, if they have no sense of their duties to their superiors and inferiors, if their minds are overcome by the defilements of greed, anger, and delusion, then even when they have lots of wealth they're stingy and selfish. They don't know how to share it. They have a hard time even giving donations to poor children or old people who have nothing to eat. I've thought about this and it's struck me how much they're like common animals. They don't have the virtues of human beings at all. The Buddha called them manussa-tiracchano: human-common-animals. That's the way they are because they lack good will, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity.

And what is meant by mange


The Buddha said, "Monks, did you see the jackal running around here in the evening? Did you see him? Standing still it suffered. Running around it suffered. Sitting down it suffered. Lying down it suffered. Going into the hollow of a tree, it suffered. Going into a cave, it felt ill at ease. It suffered because it thought, 'Standing here isn't good. Sitting isn't good. Lying down isn't good. This bush isn't good. This tree hollow isn't good. This cave isn't good.' So it kept running all the time. Actually, that jackal has mange. Its discomfort doesn't come from the bush or the tree hollow or the cave, from sitting, standing, or lying down. It comes from the mange."

E.g: wrong view, biting around for becoming and for or to gain a pack, a pride.

As one might see the animals around, their pain, even if pets, one should not only develope much metta an karuna with them, but also reflext:

Why it important to value Conditions?, practicing mudita and sharing ones merits, how ever tiny they are.

May the worthy ones and those following gain the first share of this food here, may also their attended be able to still their hunger on it, and may all the rest be able to still the hunger of those not so gifted yet. E.g. the food proper for humans is dedicated for humans, the food contained proper for animals, may be chewed on by the animals to provide them what they prever to eat on.

Since it is a matter of upanissayapaccayena of what personality, food, one prefers and not easy that food conductive for right view will be taken, by those having maybe a human body but have already or previous fallen into grace:


When we give rise to right view in our hearts, we can be at ease wherever we are. It's because we still have wrong views, still hold onto ideas that are poisonous, that we're not at ease. Holding on in this way is like being a maggot. Where it lives is filthy; its food is filthy. Its food isn't fit to be food — but it seems fitting to the maggot. Try taking a stick and flicking it out of the excrement where it's feeding, and see what happens. It'll wiggle and wriggle, eager to get back to the pile of excrement where it was before. Only then does it feel right.

It's the same with you monks and novices (people dwelling on places wher Dhamma is taught). You still have wrong views. Teachers come and advise you on how to have right view, but it doesn't feel right to you. You keep running back to your pile of excrement. Right view doesn't feel right because you're used to your old pile of excrement. As long as the maggot doesn't see the filth in where it's living, it can't escape. It's the same with us. As long as we don't see the drawbacks of those things, we can't escape from them. They make it difficult to practice.

An what is right view?

'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world (rebirth). There is mother & father (those going ahead, one has obligation to). There are spontaneously reborn beings (Gods, Devas, Yakkhas, hungry ghosts...); there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves. (Those knowing from seeing, having done the work, not just talk)'

Since the questioner asked for "seeing here and now the truth", even he him self might be not capable, again to be seen by the wise:

While i decided to select your answer as the best due to the effort, i does not sound like Dhamma to me, which is a honored & respected refuge that is visible here & now, immediately effective, inviting inspection, verified by the wise. – Dhammadhatu

'* wuff * , rowf in english. Got it now? That might give the answer for you visible here and now, @Dhammadhatu Seen? – Samana Johann

"Paraloka" means "other world" rather than "next world"; like when drug takers believe they are having fun but end up in the other world of hell. – Dhammadhatu

Sure, for animal para, others, beyound, is still far and not easy to see, since "next" appears for them as the same. Mudita that you can chew and feed on the bones. – Samana Johann

What do you think: can Dhamma be realiced by animals? Easy or nearly to no way for humans having gained an animal state? Visible right here and now.

enter image description here

(42) Others will be lacking in mindfulness; we shall be established in mindfulness here — thus effacement can be done.

(43) Others will be without wisdom; we shall be endowed with wisdom — thus effacement can be done.

(44) Others will misapprehend according to their individual views, hold on to them tenaciously and not easily discard them;[18] we shall not misapprehend according to individual views nor hold on to them tenaciously, but shall discard them with ease — thus effacement can be done.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial use or other lower wordily gains by ways of exchange or trade]

  • While i decided to select your answer as the best due to the effort, i does not sound like Dhamma to me, which is a honored & respected refuge that is visible here & now, immediately effective, inviting inspection, verified by the wise. Jan 19, 2018 at 4:44
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    "Paraloka" means "other world" rather than "next world"; like when drug takers believe they are having fun but end up in the other world of hell. Jan 19, 2018 at 4:46
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    * wuff * , rowf in english. Got it now? That might give the answer for you visible here and now, @Dhammadhatu Seen? Jan 19, 2018 at 4:46
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    Sure, for animal para, others, beyound, is still far and not easy to see, since "next" appears for them as the same. Mudita that you can chew and feed on the bones. Jan 19, 2018 at 4:48
  • "Paraloka" means "other world" rather than "next world". There is no excuse for misrepresenting what the Buddha taught using a false translation. Jan 19, 2018 at 4:52

So as to attain Nibbana the Buddha has prescribed a process of skill development called Bodhipaskshiya dharma, in short eight fold path which can be practiced only by a human not even an ordinary god, then how can an animal attain Nibbana? Animal can do a few thing as far as human brain is concerned. Animal is full of ignorance he has cognitive skill also.


This cartoon video (about Angulimala) made for children shows an animal realising the four noble truths. The video is in Khmer language for our members who understand Khmer. Obviously, the video series about the life of the Buddha was made with the advice of wise & knowledgeable bhikkhus.

enter image description here

The video shows Angulimala with a fierce almost-inhuman face (like a mountain lion, a predator, with sunken cheeks) chasing the Buddha ... and his face changes to look more human, softer, when he's tamed by the Buddha's words.

According to this video, Angulimala changes from an animal-like state to a more human state.

  • I'm not sure this is a very useful answer. What are you saying here, I'm not clear at all?
    – Andriy Volkov
    Jan 21, 2018 at 16:02
  • No no, wait. Don't go all flames yet. I'm saying I'm not clear what this video implies since I can't watch it. Can you elaborate? I sense sarcasm, but I'm not sure I get it.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Jan 21, 2018 at 23:30
  • If I get it right, you're saying animals can't think, therefore the sutta must be understood metaphorically. And you hoped to help people realize that by asking this "question" which is not really a question, right?
    – Andriy Volkov
    Jan 21, 2018 at 23:36
  • I added a synopsis of the video.
    – ChrisW
    Jan 22, 2018 at 0:16
  • No. My answer is completely irrelevant to the nature of the question. My answer is merely a guess or suggestion. Where as the sutta is a sutta, which we have a duty to try to understand. Regards Jan 22, 2018 at 10:21

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