Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Worldwide Live Release for October 21, 2010

Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar has organized the live release of sentient beings all over the world, to be accomplished on October 21, 2010. So far, we have already received commitments from India, Australia, Singapore, Greece, Canada, and several American states.

That's a nice beginning, but it is not enough.

If you enjoy this site -- and I know many of you do, because we have several thousand repeat visitors every day -- then please, please, please....... please participate in this event, even if it only involves one being.

As the above photo of Yangsi Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche illustrates, you do not need elaborate preparations, nor do you need to know elaborate ceremony. Just acquire some critters who are otherwise destined to die, and set them free where they won't be harmed. You can set birds free to the sky or acquatic creatures free to lakes, rivers, or oceans. You can get insects, who would otherwise be used as bait, and set them free in the forest. If you want to chant something while you do this, then recite Om Mani Padme Hum, or the Medicine Buddha mantra.  

No matter who you are, no matter where you are, no matter what --- we are asking you to participate to the best of your ability, on October 21, 2010.

The Benefits of Saving Lives
Chatral Rinpoche

I bow down before the Lama, Buddha Amitayus,

And the bodhisattvas in training.

I shall now in brief describe the benefits

Of freeing animals and ransoming their lives.

To save animals from slaughter or any mortal danger,

With an entirely pure motivation and conduct,

Is without doubt a practice to be taken up

By all followers of the Buddha Shakyamuni.

Many sutras, tantras and commentaries

Describe in detail the advantages it brings,

And countless learned and accomplished masters of India and Tibet

Have stressed the value and importance of benefitting beings.

Even in the basic vehicle one avoids inflicting harm on others,

In the mahayana this is the very training of a bodhisattva,

And in the secret mantra, a principal samaya of the ratna family.

The reasoning behind this is as follows: in this world,

Nothing is as dear to someone as his or her own life,

So no greater crime is there than taking life away,

And no conditioned virtue brings greater merit

Than the act of saving beings and ransoming their lives.

Therefore, should you wish for happiness and good,

Exert yourself in this, the most supreme of paths,

Which is proven through scriptures and through reasoning,

And is free of obstacles and potential dangers.

Consider your own body and with this as an example,

Avoid doing anything that might bring harm to others.

Make every effort not to kill any living creature,

Birds, fish, deer, cattle and even tiny insects,

And strive instead to save their lives,

Offering them protection from every fear.

The benefit of doing so is beyond imagining.

This is the best practice for your own longevity,

And the greatest ritual for the living or deceased.

It is my main practice of benefitting others.

It dispels all external and internal adversity and obstacles,

Effortlessly and spontaneously, it brings favourable conditions,

And, when inspired by the noble mind of bodhichitta and

Completed with dedication and pure aspiration prayers,

It will lead one to complete enlightenment,

And the accomplishment of one’s own and others’ welfare—

Of this you need have no doubts at all!

Those whose minds incline to virtue and acts of merit,

Should prohibit hunting and fishing on their land.

Some birds, in particular, such as geese and cranes,

Are impelled by their karma to migrate

And fly south in autumn, north in spring.

At times, weary from the efforts of their flight,

Or having lost their way, some are forced to land,

Distressed, afraid and anxious; when this happens,

You should not throw stones or shoot at them,

Nor try to kill them or do them any harm,

But protect them so they may easily fly once more.

To offer care and affection to sentient beings

In desperate situations who lack protection

Brings just as much merit as the meditation

On emptiness with compassion as its core—

So it has been said by glorious Lord Atisha.

Lamas, officials, monks, nuns, men and women,

In all the places over which you have control,

Exert every influence and do all within your power

To release animals and ransom their lives,

While encouraging others to do the same.

In all those places where this is done,

Sickness among people and livestock will cease,

Harvests will be plentiful and life will be long.

All will enjoy happiness and wellbeing in abundance,

And at death let go of deluded experience,

Before finding an excellent rebirth within the higher realms.

Ultimately, there is no doubt that this will lead one easily

To find the supreme and perfect state of awakening.

In response to the request of Doctor Dordrak,

Who offered a pure silk scarf and a hundred Nepali rupees,

The one called Chatral Sangye Dorje,

Who strives continuously to ransom lives,

Wrote down spontaneously whatever came to mind.

By the merit of this may all sentient beings

Come to practise enlightened actions!

Mamakoling samanta!

Photo by Matthieu Ricard, translation from Lotsawa House

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6 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

Please make sure that the environment is appropriate for the animals and vice versa.

Anonymous said...

Like Anonymous said above...

It's going to freeze here in a couple of weeks, if not earlier. If I buy some crickets and release them into the woods, they will die very soon. I admit, they would have died soon anyway.

I could release fish, but unfortunately most of the bait species available are not native to this area and might cause problems if released.

Any suggestions?

Willa Keizer said...

How about worms? They are available in fishing/camping/bait stores. I'm talking about regular redworms and night crawlers. That's what I often use to release.

Anonymous said...

Would adopting a pet needing a loving home qualify in this case? Considering approximately 4 million animals held at shelters in the U.S. are euthanized each year (one every eight seconds), it seems to me that any adoption saves lives destined for certain death.

Anonymous said...

@ Willa: some regions, including parts of the US, actually have no native earthworms. Their introduction to these areas has been linked to decline of native ecosystems. If you're in the US, your state DNR would be able to tell you what species are native, if any.

I found out that rosy red minnows, widely sold in pet stores as feeder fish, are a recessive-gene variety of the fathead minnow, which is native to many parts of the US and Canada.

Anonymous said...

A couple of years ago there was a lobster release here. Unfortunately they were Atlantic lobsters and they were released into the Pacific Ocean, imperilling the native lobsters. Keep an eye on that one.