We are kept updated by Lama Kunzang Dorjee Rinpoche, as he, like us, was a remote attender at the conference which formulated A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion in 2007, organised by Best Friends in the United States.
The Greatest Compassionate One – The Buddha – taught that saving the lives of all beings is the most beneficial of all relative good actions. According to Mahayana Buddhism, all sentient beings were at one time our parents. This belief is based on and linked to the cycle of births and rebirths in this Samsaric world. Therein lies the basis to treat all beings with compassion and sympathy. This is the basis of Tsethar – the Buddhist act of saving and preserving animal lives.
Lama Kunzang Dorjee Rinpoche is following the path set out by H.H. Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche in the practice of tsethar (saving lives by buying animals who otherwise would be killed) by setting up the Jangsa Animal Saving Trust and trying to save many ill-fated animals from being killed in slaughter houses. Lama Kunzang buys animals and either frees them into relatively safe rivers and lakes, or keeps them on private protected lands. He has also saved many street dogs in Bhutan, and has dog shelters and a clinic for dogs.
This trust was established after a personal experience where Lama Kunzang Dorjee came into contact with five bulls who had come to seek refuge in the monastery where he lived. After escaping the slaughterhouse, these bulls came directly to Lama Kunzang Dorjee’s monastery to seek refuge and refused to leave.
His Holiness Trulku Jigme Choeda, the Je Khenpo of Bhutan and H.H. Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche have kindly supported these endeavours. We hope that all people will be inspired to join and support the noble cause of Tsethar – to save the lives of innocent animals.
Presently, the trust maintains about 600 bulls, 40 yaks, 137 pigs, 23 sheep, 2 goats and 9 ducks in the eastern and northern regions of the Kingdom of Bhutan. There are also 10 goats, 2 buffaloes and 2 pigs cared for in a village near Kalimpong in the hills of West Bengal, India. A further 58 bulls have found a home in Siliguri, India. Finally, at the monastery in Kalimpong, 4 bulls and a cow have also found refuge from being slaughtered.
Lama Kunzang is building a Temple at his Gelephu Monastery especially devoted to the practice and study of the tantric deity, Vajrakilaya. Vajrakilaya is a powerful practice for attaining Enlightenment, and in overcoming the afflictions such as anger, delusion, jealousy, pride and passion. It is also effective in pacifying social conflicts and disturbances.
We bring fortunate news: Lama Kunzang Rinpoche has opened a new center in Hong Kong.
Besides overseeing his several monasteries in India and Bhutan, Lama Kunzang Dorjee Rinpoche has travelled internationally, giving Buddhist teachings and blessings, and raising interest in animal saving. In 2007, he undertook a tour for this purpose in the USA and Europe, and he made links with other animal saving groups. In 2009, he 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. Lama Kunzang is also happy on request to make up and consecrate sacred vases (including specially blessed ingredients and mantras from Bhutan) to please the naga spirits, which can help to bring prosperity and environmental balance.
JAST’s Stray Dog Program in Bhutan
JAST began to organize daily feeding programs from the beginning of the pounding of the dogs by the Municipality. It led a concerted campaign to close the dog pounds and advocated the humane approach of sterilization and release. For almost two years, JAST carried out a feeding and cleaning campaign for more than 1000 dogs, till the closure of the pound.
As of now, the CNVR campaign is brought to Bhutan by Humane Society International (HIS) and the establishment of our shelter in Serbithang has proved to be the best remedy in controlling the growth of dog populations in Bhutan and has stopped the impounding of dogs by the governments; this has indirectly prevented the sufferings of many dogs in our country, though many died due to inhumane treatment in the dog pound before the JAST takeover on 18th April 2009.
The current Dog Shelter at Serbithang has been successfully functioning in its mission to help dogs by providing them food and a home as a primary dog shelter serving the capital city, Thimphu. The newly created clinic will serve to treat sick and injured dogs brought to the shelter; they will be given proper veterinary attention and taken care of in the shelter until they are healthy enough to be released from where they came.
Currently there is no full-time vet; we are helped by HSI and veterinary hospitals and other private veterinarians. We hope Vets Beyond Borders (VBB) will help us, since they had agreed to help in training us how to run the shelter as we are not experienced in medical aspects.
Finally, we are planning to inaugurate our shelter in mid-September of 2010 in the presence of all our donors and well-wishers.
Please consider contributing your time, your love, and your prayers to Lama Kunzang as he works to help as many beings as possible.
May all beings be free and happy.
Jangsa Animal Saving Trust
Lama Kunzang Dorjee Rinpoche says: “The souls of all sentient beings are inter-woven through numerous births and rebirths in the samsaric world.”
“We should show all animals gratitude and respect through compassion and sympathy.”
The Buddha has taught that more than carving statues, building monasteries and reading scriptures, saving the life of sentient beings carries the greatest virtue.
Lama Kunzang, who is also in the process of establishing a sanctuary in Thimphu, Bhutan for animals who are going to be slaughtered in and around the capital, also hopes that meat consumption will slowly decrease as more people become aware of tshethar…
The Trust intends to put on awareness and sensitization campaigns in the future. They have proposals to print, publish and circulate books, pamphlets, cartoons, comics and make films “on the demerits of eating meat.” They even plan to publish vegetarian cook books and distribute them to the public.
“Bhutanese have the habit of saying ‘we can’t cook without meat’,” an active founding member of the trust said. “We want to show and tell people that it is possible to cook meals without meat and to enjoy them. Researches and studies have also shown that meat is not necessarily the best or the healthiest food.”
The abbot stated that the Jangsa Trust did not intend to criticize or censure those who ate meat.