Monday, February 18, 2008

Question of the Week

So that they May Live!

The first lesson of Buddhism is reverence for every living being. Every animal, every leaf, every blade of grass is to be respected, for they all contain the sacred lifeforce.

On Saturday, in continued celebration of Losar, we performed an unusual ceremony. Instead of catching fish and eating them, we bought fish and then released them back into the water. Yes!!!!, we purchased fish at the market and then released them to the sea.

The ceremony was led by Lama Tsultrum and Lama Phuntsok of the Burnaby Buddhist Center. Lama Tsulturm provided us the following message from the Jamgon Kontrul Lodro Thaye to explain the significance and value of participating in a fish release ceremony :

"The most beneficial of all...roots of virtue is the protection

and ransoming of the lives of sentient beings.

Through the blessing of their being offered to the three jewels,
and of their hearing names and dharanis, they will be ultimately
freed from inferior births...

The practitioners themselves will undoubtedly receive benefits,
such as an increased lifespan."

Remember that one of the possible rebirths is in the Animal Realm. By our actions and the way we treat others, we can either achieve positive rebirths in the Upper Realms or negative rebirths in the Lower Realms. One of the Lower Realms is the Animal Realm. In the Animal Realm, we are reborn as animals, and have the ability to understand what is happening, but can never communicate with human beings. Thereby, we live at the mercy of human beings.

The ceremony was pretty cool, when we picked up the fish at the Chinatown fish market, some of the flounder actually looked dead. I tried to poke a couple of them, but they still didn’t move. We went to the park and placed the fish in the water. After a few moments, the flounder sprang to life and then swam away. It was really neat. Its like the fish knew they were back in the Ocean and happily escaped. The last one to wake, came to the surface once, and then slipped back underwater giving us a “fish wave”.

So instead of having a fish catch, we had a fish release. And it felt great!


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