My first experience of a releasing-life ceremony was in Taiwan. A group of us that included several other monks and a number of Taiwanese Buddhists and their families purchased some locally caught fish at a wharf-side market, loaded them into the hold of a boat and headed out towards the open sea. The fish were offered consecrated pills that had been dissolved in water and auspicious aspirations were made on their behalf; finally, the fish were returned to the sea and the merit was dedicated to the well-being of all sentient beings
It was very gratifying to watch the fish slip over the side of the boat and quickly swim away. That night before going to sleep I recalled the day’s events, and imagined the fish that would otherwise have been chopped into pieces on the kitchen table or fried in hot oil now swimming peacefully in the cool water under the moonlight. This beautiful image inspired me to lead many more expeditions to purchase and release fish, and also to research the practice in greater depth.
This short book is the result of my studies. I hope that it will not only encourage people to engage in releasing life, but also to do so in a way that is both sensitive to the animals’ needs and ecologically sound.
Shenphen Zangpo (Stephen Powell),
Taipei. Summer 2004,
Table Of Contents:
List of Illustrations
Foreword by Karma Chagme Rinpoche VII
Compassion & Bodhichitta
How to release
Appendix I: The Twelve Links of Dependent Arising
Appendix 2: Training in Bodhichitta
Appendix 3: The Six Perfections
Appendix 4: The Four Seals of Buddhism
Supplement by Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche