Monday Morning Greetings 2024 #17 – Dog Bites Monk: Part One

April 22nd, 2024

Dog Bites Monk: Part One


Nothing serious. I just got my robes ripped to shreds and a nibble on my calf and thigh. Maybe a little more than a nibble, but nothing too serious.[1] Anyway, another opportunity to see things through the eyes of śāstra.


Realization One


Somehow, it was a peaceful time, the rare stretch where things seemed to fall in place, or at least no real major life challenges, which usually seem to always plague one, and a little more excitement than usual —some real good programs to look forward to. So just feeling great, and then I opened the door to the luxurious tropical backyard from the guestroom at my friend’s house in Boca Raton on the east coast of Florida. Ruff, ruff, ruff, real loud and vicious—I was attacked by a ferocious large, white half-German Shepherd, half-Labrador Retriever before I even got out the door. My first thought after the adrenaline rush to deal with the task at hand: “There was nothing I could do. It was destiny. Anything can happen at any time. I am not the controller.” And it became clear to me why Śrī Krishna never lets us rest in our comfort zone. My thought process:


It’s subtle, but this is what I witnessed in myself. I saw that if one is not careful when things are going well, one can subtly fortify the general illusion that we are the controller and enjoyer, which fosters the misplaced faith that happiness is based on our ability to conform a world to one’s desires, which is never under one’s control, instead of the proper and soul-nourishing faith of conforming one’s desires to God’s will in service, which is always under one’s control. The dog therefore represented the challenges that destiny brings to dampen the fantasy of attaining happiness now and in the future based on controlling destiny to impel to us to a healthy faith dependent on simply our free will, the choices we make. I think my point will be better understood by sharing one scientific study:[2]


There were two rooms with ten frogs each. One room had a large pot of boiling water and the other had a large pot of just hot water, but not hot enough so the frogs could not go in. After a few days, the rooms were opened and all the frogs in the room with boiling water were alive and all the frogs in the room with hot water were dead. What happened? In the room with boiling water, the frogs who naturally love water went in and immediately jumped out. In the rooms with hot water, the frogs stayed in the water, got dehydrated and died. Similarly, just like the frog in the water that killed them, we get attached to the world to the extent it goes our way, but as it binds us to the bodily concept of life, such attachment ultimately increases our suffering, especially of the unavoidable experiences of death, disease, and old age. And just like the boiling water that prevented the frog from dwelling in something that would kill them, the disturbances that come from destiny detach us from the world of birth and death and impel us to surrender to and serve God, to find real happiness by changing our consciousness rather than simply manipulating the world.


Ruff, ruff, ruff, and that’s what I learned from dog bites monk.


[1] It was my friend’s dog who had just come from a shelter and was being trained. He was familiar with the family but apprehensive of strangers. I was warned, but when I saw my friend outside, I thought I would be safe. The dog was already checked for rabies and was clear, and although I still have two definitive bite marks on my calf and thigh, it was somehow never painful.

[2] I heard this once, but I don’t recall where.


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