You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the somber and empathetic nature of a Buddhist monk. Their Buddhist principles encourage compassion and patience, their humble and calculated mannerisms are a reminder to slow down, and their apparent love for everything helps us reflect and try to instill these values in our own lives. While monks share their teachings verbally much of the time, they also enjoy leading by example.
Just recently, a group of sympathetic monks took it upon themselves to spare 600 pounds of lobsters from death by purchasing them and arranging an ocean release. The monks, from the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Society, bought the lobsters from various locations around the Canadian Prince Edward Islands and gathered them on a fishing boat. The monks then searched for a release location where the lobsters would not be bothered after the release. “Hopefully, we can find a spot where there are no cages waiting for them,” said Venerable Dan from the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Society.
Thankfully, the islanders were supportive of the idea, and even the fishermen in the area were accommodating and helped find a good spot!
Before releasing the lobsters, the monks held a 20-minute ceremony with a prayer and chant to the Buddha of compassion. They also sprinkled purified water on the lobsters.
“This whole purpose for us is to cultivate this compassion toward others. It doesn’t have to be lobsters, it can be worms, flies, any animals, drive slower so we don’t run over little critters on the street,” advised Dan.
Dan and the monks made their mission very clear: “We respect everyone’s dietary choice, so we’re not doing this to convert everybody to be vegetarians or vegans.”
Instead, the monks’ goal was simply to spread compassion. “If your loved ones were in this situation, what would they like you to do?” Dan asked. “To give them a helping hand and put them back to where they feel comfortable and we believe if everybody’s able to do that, it will become a better place, a more harmonic place.”
While some animal lovers may point out that by purchasing the lobsters, the monks ended up supported the very industry that capture the sea creatures, we urge these people to also realize the “investment” of sorts this sweet action was. Many people shut themselves off to the idea of animal welfare because it is too difficult of a topic to discuss. The gore factory farm videos, the long debates, and grandiose displays put on by activists can sometimes be too much for people to handle and they end up tuning out. These monks instead took a different approach. They simply wanted to get people thinking about the living creatures around them – all of them, from the ant crawling on the floor to a lobster in the supermarket, and even to a cow in a field somewhere. The point is simply to bring awareness to the precious lives of these animals. And that’s something the world could always need a little more reminding of.
All Image Source: CBC News