Birds and fish were released
in a traditional Liberating Life Ceremony held on May 10th.
Top: Birds are released as the assembly chants.
Bottom: Bhiksu Heng Ching administers the Three Refuges to the
Recently, fish and birds about to be killed
were purchased from slaughter houses, transported to the ocean
shore, and there set free in a traditional Buddhist ceremony to
liberate living beings. The purchase of the animals and the
participation in the colorful ceremony during which the animals are
freed, are both acts of merit and virtue.
The ceremony is a practical application of
compassion removing the obstacles to pan's innately compassionate
mind. The basic obstruction is the thought and act of killing. When
living beings are purchased and released, the act of killing is not performed.
What is more, liberating living beings
ultimately represents the method for the complete annihilation of
war. The ceremony does not favor war, nor does it oppose war. It
simply shows how to pull out all war by the roots. If one favors
war, one merely increases war. If one opposes war, by this very
opposition one just makes another war. To oppose war is like trying
to cool a pot of boiling soup by blowing on it while the pot hangs
over a raging fire.
What can be done? War can be extinguished
without fighting if we respect the right of living beings to live
and liberate life. War exists only because people like to kill and
do the karma of killing. If everyone stopped killing and instead
liberated life, war would be pulled out by the very roots. To cease
killing is like cooling the soup by turning out the fire under the
pot. Those who participated in this ceremony represented no parties
or sects. The basic principle is man's limitless compassion as
embodied in the Great Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. The principle of
compassion is nothing less than the uniting of nations, families,
men, and one's own mind and nature. An ancient has said,
deeply hoped that the heads of every state will embody the virtue of
heaven and earth's preference for life; put forth good government
and dispense justice; banish quarrelling and dispense with greed;
renounce oneself and rescue people; benefit oneself in benefiting
others; see the universe as one family; see all people as one person."
On Sunday, July 19th, at 2 p.m., the
anniversary of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva's accomplishment of the
way will be celebrated by again liberating living beings. You are
cordially invited to attend and participate in this ceremony, unique
to the Western world. It will be held at Dias Ranch State Park,
located at the intersection of Highway 1 and Panoramic Highway
overlooking Muir Woods in Marin County. The day's events begin at 9
a.m. at the Buddhist Lecture Hall, 125 Waverly Place, San Francisco.
Following a vegetarian meal, the assembly will move to the Dias Ranch.
On Tuesday, July 21st, the traditional date for
the celebration of the Bodhisattva's
accomplishment of the way, ceremonies will again begin at 9 a.m. at
the Buddhist Lecture Hall and a vegetarian luncheon will be served.
We of the Sino-American Buddhist Association
sincerely hope you will be able to join us on the 19th and 21st of
July. R.S.V.P. 397-3675.