An Expression of Compassion
Animal liberation is an expression of compassion for other living beings that cannot protect themselves. Due to wrong view and ignorance, human beings have been using animals for food, entertainment, sport, medical research and games. Many animals have been killed and tortured to fulfill these needs. It has become such a norm that many people do not feel there is anything wrong with it. In fact, in some cultures, people believe that animals exist to serve the needs of human beings.
It is important to correct this wrong view and create mass awareness that inflicting pain on other living beings just to serve our needs cannot be the right thing to do. This is especially so when there are so many other alternatives available. Living beings other than human beings can feel pain and suffering too.
From a Buddhist point of view, although animal liberation does prolong the life of animals, that alone does not ultimately help them. Therefore, the Buddhist way of animal liberation incorporates circumambulating the animals around holy objects and blessing them with mantras and prayers before releasing them. This is to create causes for their good rebirth and happiness in their future lives and to plant the seeds of enlightenment in them.
I would like to share with you an article by Daily Mail Reporter on a group of Tibetan Buddhists from Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies in Medford, Massachusetts which is a town just outside of Boston. This group recently released 534 very expensive live lobsters into the Atlantic Sea. I really rejoice to know that there are people whose compassion extends to beings that are totally helpless and cannot reward or thank them in return in any way. This is truly compassion in action or helping someone without any agenda to receive. I hope you will be inspired by them too.
That’s some pricey karma! Group of Tibetan Buddhists buy 534 live lobsters and free them off a boat in the Atlantic
By Daily Mail Reporter | Last updated at 11:48 PM on 4th August 2011
Instead of plunging headfirst to their death in a pot of boiling water, 534 live lobsters escaped the dinner plate and belly flopped to freedom into the dark waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
A group of Tibetan Buddhists flanked the sides of a whale-watching boat at dusk on Wednesday, sprayed the lobsters with blessed water, clipped the bands binding their dangerous claws and gently released them one by one into the deep water below.
The 30 Buddhists of all ages trekked to the North Shore beach community known for its massive lobster hauls to purchase 600 pounds of lobster from a seafood wholesaler and save the critters from imminent death.
Lobster goes for about $11 a pound. The lobster liberation was scheduled specifically for Aug. 3, which is Wheel Turning Day on this year’s Tibetan lunar calendar, the anniversary of the first sermon Buddha taught. On this holiday, the merit for positive actions is multiplied many times.
‘Even if they get captured again, they’ve had a longer life,’ said Wendy Cook, a yoga instructor and former director at the Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies in Medford, Mass., a town just north of Boston.
If not for the liberation, ‘you know they are going to be shipped to restaurants and headed to the boiling pot,’ she said. Buddhists from the Kurukulla Center typically liberate masses of the expensive seafood a couple times each year.
Cook led a ceremony ahead of the liberation that included prayers, mantras and walking the 13 boxes of lobsters in circles around a display of blessed objects. These important steps develop a karmic connection for the animals’ future lifetimes and help ease future suffering, she said.
Among those setting the lobsters free was Vikrant Bhasin, a chef from Cambridge, Mass., who called the life-giving experience ‘beautiful.’ Bhasin no longer cooks live shellfish.
Monk Geshe Tenley, Kurukulla Center’s resident teacher, who was wearing a saffron robe, was the first to release a lobster from the deck of the whale watching boat that had cruised out nearly a mile offshore, past a maze of lobster traps. He was born in Tibet in 1969 and escaped to India in 1989, where he began his monk training.
In India, Geshe Tenley said, cows, sheep and even goats are purchased and saved from slaughter. But here in New England, saving the lobsters and extending their lives — even if just for an hour — is most practical and a real way the group can make a difference in the lobsters’ existence and their own.
Victoria Fan, a graduate student from Cambridge, was participating in her first lobster liberation. ‘It’s rethinking the way you normally see these creatures,’ she said of the ceremony that took place steps away from a sign advertising lobster dinners for just $15.99. ‘You’re supposed to view them equally. Their happiness is as important as your happiness, their suffering is as important as your suffering,’ Fan said.
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