Buddha Festival Animal Release took place on Friday, 2nd of July. Masters together with the students celebrated the Buddha festival. The day started with Meditation which was guided by Shifu Yanjun and Shifu Yanshi. Every morning practice starts with Shaolin Buddhist Meditation for about 30 minutes. This morning students had a slightly different schedule due to the festival. When the medication class ended, each student received a blessed monk bracelet.
Morning breakfast was also different. Students received fruits and fruit cake, as well as the regular breakfast which consists of pancakes, eggs, fresh vegetables (cucumber and carrot) and a home made protein drink.
At 9 am, students and Masters went to a big lake to release the animals. This is a Chinese Buddhist practice called Fang Sheng. Students donated money to buy animals which were due to slaughtered. The purpose of this activity is to learn the lesson taught by Buddha – be kind and compassionate to all creatures.
There are merits for liberating lives:
- Unharmed by the disasters of plagues, floods, fires, thieves, accidents.
- Attain longevity and good health.
- Enjoy peace of mind, supreme happiness and abundant wealth.
- Offspring will live in peace and harmony and enjoy happy life.
- Enjoy smooth life.
- Gratitude to other beings and source of joy to the Buddhas.
- Dissolve vengeance and vanquish evil influences and worries.
Shifu Shi Yanyi from the Shaolin Temple, kept a Shaolin Buddhist ceremony for the animal released. In the Chinese Culture there are many stories which demonstrate the positive outcomes for kindness and compassion.
There is a story about a shramanera who practiced under a Sangha. His Master who possessed spiritual power of foreseeing other’s lives, knew that the shramanera had only seven more days to live. He told him to go to visit his parents. He also told him to return the eights day. The Master expected him to die by that time.
After seven days, the shramanera returned and the Master asked him to describe to him his journey. During his journey home the shramanera helped many ants which were stranded by flood waters from the stream. The act of kindness and compassion saved many ants. The shramanera had indeed escaped from the destiny of a short lifespan and lived until the age of eighty.
This story as many more in the Chinese Culture or around the world teach us that is not need to be cruel – life and earth will be a better place if we all learn to live in peace and harmony. In the Academy we teach the students to be kind, to help each other and respect the Masters and everything is given to them. We learn to live in harmony with our environment and be happy with everything we have.
Be happy everyday, smile and be kind! Amituofo!