Senseless killing at Phajoding

Phajoding is a place of peace for everyone and also for the wild animals. All the sentient beings are welcome here. Many wild animals often come nearby the temples and especially many types of birds come to visit us since we used to feed them.

The wild birds who often come to visit the monks

This peace and trust amongst the birds has sadly recently been broken here at Phajoding.

A few days ago, while some monks were collecting firewood in the nearby forest, they saw some hunting string hanging from the trees, which is used to trap and kill the wild birds.

The monks trekking into the forest to destroy the hunting string

On hearing this news, Chimi Dorji and I immediately deployed many monks into the forest to destroy the hunting string but sadly they found one Himalaya Monal bird (a type of pheasant) already dead hanging upside down from the tree. One visitor who works at the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) told me that the Himalayan Monal bird is becoming rare even in Bhutan and that hunters believe that the meat from this bird is a kind of medicine.

The dead Himalayan Monal bird

The good news is that a blood pheasant was saved since luckily only her legs got entangled in the string so we could save her precious life.

The lucky blood pheasant

Instead of coming to Phajoding with knives and string to kill the birds, how wonderful would it be if the hunters came carrying rice or other food to feed the birds? Imagine how happy we would feel if some stranger gave us food when we have been many days without food?

Everywhere around the world many animals are being killed for meat, fur, medicine, feathers and skin. As you read this blog many innocent sentient beings are suffering cruel and horrible deaths.

From the Buddhist point of view, we believe that we have been reincarnating on this earth since limitless time. Each time we had a mother who cared for us so in this way we can see that all the sentient beings must have been our mother at some point during our numberless previous lives. Then, how can we even think of harming our mother beings?

Also, all the sentient beings, even a small insect, is just the same like us – looking for happiness all the time and trying to avoid suffering. So it’s a great shame to kill innocent animals in order to make us happy. That’s why Buddha said: “if you can’t help them its ok, but don’t harm them”.

We get angry easily just like a snake rears it head to others even when we hear that someone is criticizing us but it doesn’t make any sense that we don’t even care when we harm and kill other innocent animals who did no wrong to us. If we can’t endure the pain of even a small thorn in our finger or foot, why is it that we are able to put a very sharp hook into a fish’s mouth without feeling the suffering that we cause? When goats, yaks and cows and many other animals are no longer useful to us for milk, butter or cheese because they are too old, we kill them. How cruel is this act given that throughout their life they provided us with food so we could be happy then we betray them and kill them swiftly. I have personally seen yaks and cows cry just before they are going to be killed when I was a young boy in the village… it is so horrible to watch.

All our friends, please lets try to avoid harming other animals even a small insect that are just like us – wanting happiness and seeking to avoid suffering. In this light we should all try and reduce our intake of meat. Do we really need to eat meat to survive?

Namgay Tenzin

Descending day (Lhabab Duechen)

Today we are celebrating Buddha’s descending day (Lhabab Duechen) that happens on the 22nd day of the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar. 7 days after Lord Buddha was born his mother passed away and after his enlightenment at age of 35 he realized that his mother was born in Tushita heaven (the realm of divas), which is still part of Samsara (the cycle of birth, death and rebirth). He went there to teach his mother when he was 41 years old so she could break free from Samsara because he wanted to repay her kindness towards him. Today is the day when he came back to earth from visiting his mother. On this day all effects of our actions, positive and negative, are multiplied millions and millions of times. So friends, please do virtuous things and be kind to each other.

This day makes us think of the kindness of our mother. It teaches us how to show gratitude towards our mother because whether our mother is nice or bad, imagine how much our mother took care of us when we were young.

Our mother was concerned with us even when we were in her womb.

We were cleaned and washed by her many times.

We were fed milk from our mothers’ breast for many months.

We were carried nine months in our mothers’ womb and many years on her back or in her arms.

We were rocked to sleep when we were crying by our mother.

Our mother cared so much for us and we should repay this kindness in whatever way.

If we thank others even for a cup of tea; why do we not thank our mother who did such things for us?

So, if our current mother is helpful and deserves our gratitude logically why do we not feel this way to all the sentient beings, who have been our mothers in our limitless past lives.

If all the sentient beings had been our mothers, why don’t we care about others even when we see, hear, experience others sufferings personally.

If all the mother beings are suffering there is no point to be happy just by ones self if these mothers have cared for us numberless times when we were a young baby in many life times.

So today I hope that we have at least been able to think about the kindness of our mother and treat all sentient beings as if they are our mothers.

Thank you,

Namgay Tenzin