Question: Is it possible to pray on the behalf of animals, to help them reach Pure Land?
Answer: We cannot straightforwardly ‘pray on the behalf’ of animals to enable them to reach Pure Land, as they have to personally give rise to the Three Provisions of Faith, Aspiration and Practice personally to do so. (Prayers only offer the power of merits, that can faciliate a general good rebirth, while the power of guidance is needed too, to reach Pure Land, as you can see at http://purelanders.com/2013/
It should not be mistaken that animals will not be able to understand our guidance, as the fact that they have come close to humans means they have strong affinity with us. Even though they cannot communicate verbally with us, it is possible that they can understand our intentions. Also, it should not be mistaken that since most animals cannot speak the way we do, they cannot practise Nianfo. When there is guided or support-chanting, it is possible for them to wholeheartedly listen to the name of Amituofo, which is a form of Nianfo too.
For our animal friends, our explanation for offering guidance (that essentially includes how to give rise to the Three Provisions) can be simpler, such as the following –
‘Dear _____, there is a wonderful way to relieve your pain. Please follow my chanting of Amituofo’s name sincerely. Please don’t think about the pain, as the more you think of it, the more painful it will be. The more you sincerely follow Amituofo’s name, the less pain there will be. When you are very sincere, Amituofo will come to bring you to his Pure Land, where there will be no more pain, where there is only happiness. Many animal friends have reached his Pure Land by following his name already. I will join you there later too. Please follow Amituofo’s name in your mind as sincerely as you can now. Amituofo, Amituofo, Amituofo…’
Here is an inspiring case to share, of how one of our Purelander friends practised Nianfo to help her dying dog: http://purelanders.com/2013/