Sunday, October 14, 2012

Buddhism and Helping Animals

In the words of Lama Kunzang; “The souls of all sentient beings are inter-woven through numerous births and rebirths in this samsaric world. We should show all animals, gratitude and respect through compassion and sympathy.” In other words it means that as a rationale human beings, we should know that animals are our relatives and best friends and that they are not our food! 

Lama Kunzang has done a lot in saving the lives of those innocent animals. He is by far the embodiment of Buddha himself. I am deeply touched by his deeds. From saving cows, bulls and stray dogs, he has now made his presence in saving the lives of Yaks! 

As a person who grew up with yaks, I have a personal love for those animals. Through my experience, I know that yaks are emotional sensitive and intelligent animals. Like any other animals they do not deserve  to be killed for food  (at least). We were a poor family then. But we never killed any yaks for our livelihood! Sometimes my family survived on just one milking yak and we did very well! But for now lets keep this topic for another post. 

The fact of the matter is, now with no meat coming from India, I think our yak herders are taking the advantage of these lucrative meat business. Brutal and inhuman killing of animals is taking place in our Buddhist country. Therefore, for the love of our friends, -animals; lets extend our helping hand to Jangsa animal saving trust. By this I am not urging any one to make a hefty donations to the trust. Each one of us can make a difference if we can at least reduce our meat consumption. I would not even force someone to become veg over night, but please read the excerpt that I took form Jangsa Animal Saving Trust page. This Lama inspired me to my heart. Just see what it can do for you.

Lama Kunzang Dorjee
Lama Kunzang Dorjee heads the oldest Buthanese monastery, Jangsa Gompa in Kalimpong, India.* He also heads two monasteries in Kurteo Lhuentse , Eastern Bhutan , and one in Gelephu in Southern Bhutan. Decidedly vegetarian and tsethar practitioner (practise of saving lives), Lama Kunzang Dorje set up the Jangsa Animal Saving Trust and saved more than 650 bulls and other similarly ill-fated animals from being killed in slaughter houses by buying them.

Lama Kunzang Dorjee was born in the Nyo lineage of Gyalwa Lhanangpa. At the age of 13, he began studying under his father, Lama Pema Longdrol** and Kyabje Tashi Tsering, also known as Somdrang Rinpoche. He received guidance in the preliminary practices for three years following the Phowa, Bardo and Samadhi practices. At the age of 19, he met H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche who had come to Tashigang, Bhutan, to give the Empowerment of Rinchen Terzod.

Photo Courtesy: JAST
Lama Kunzang Dorjee started education in a modern Roman Catholic school, St. Augustine school in Kalimpong, but at the age of 14, he joined H.H. Kyabje Dodrupchen Rinpoche's monastery in Gangtok that follows the Nyingthig lineage of Nyingma School. This change was his own decision, which his father was happy to support. As both his parents were disciples of H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche, Lama-la received the Empowerment and transmission of the Great Terton Dudjom Lingpa and H.H. Dudjom Rinpoches's Sungbum before he joined the monastry in Gangtok where he stayed for 13 years receiving the empowerments of Kama, Terma, Yabshi, Jigling Tsapoe etc and various other Trilung from H.H. Kyabje Dodrupchen Rinpoche. He also studied some Sutra teachings and Tantra teachings from Venerable Lopon Thekchog and Khenpo Tsundru Singye of the same monastery and from Lama Gyalwang Nima and Khenpo Dazer. His monk ordination and many teachings he took from Khen Rinpoche Mewa Thukten.

Lama Pema Longdrol, gave him many teachings and transmissions, including the detailed instructions on the tantric deity of Vajrakilaya. Lama Kunzang Dorje has been blessed to receive Dzogchen and other teachings from Kyabje Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. From Kyabje Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche he received Dzongchen teachings and Kagyur transmission. Lama Kunzang Dorjee has been blessed to get some teachings from Kyabje Dungse Rinpoche as well. He did his three-year retreat at Helembu, Nepal, under the guidance of H.H. Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche. Lama-la is following the path set by H.H. Chatral Rinpoche in the practice of "tsethar" (saving lives by buying animals who otherwise would be killed).

Saving cows and stray dogs, Lama Kunzang Dorj stated that his compassion was kindled when, in late 2000, five bulls which had escaped from a slaughter house in Kalimpong, forced their way into his monastery and refused to leave. When the five bulls returned to the monastery for the third time the same day, Lama Kunzang Dorjee gave them water and fresh grass, but they refused to eat. That moment was a turning point: he had started to save these beings. He bought them for Rs. 45,000, built a shed and appointed a caretaker to look after them. Lama-la, who is also in the process of establishing a sanctuary in Thimphu, Bhutan for animals that are going to be slaughtered in and around the capital, also hopes that meat consumption will slowly decrease as more people become aware of tsethar. 

In 2008 together with the Bhutanese Royal Society for Protection and Care of Animals (RSPCA) lama-la started a project to save stray dogs. In 2009, he has visited England , where he contributed to a university project on tantric longevity rituals, and also visited South-east Asia, as well as Hong Kong , where he is starting a Buddhist centre.

Long Live Lama Kunzang and Long live all the JAST members.

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