LOVING KINDESS /
The Priests, Nuns, Monks will be performing blessings of each animal. The blessings bring good health, physical and mental healing and long life to these animals/pets. The blessing is being mediated and prayers are being given also for the benefit of the animal in its relationship with its human partners.
Visitors will experience a great variety of animals, including horses, goats, cats, iguana, and dogs. The blessings, conducted by resident Catholic Priest, Nuns, and Tibetan monks, focus on the teachings that are rooted in compassion. The ceremony will begin with a prayer to generate immeasurable love, generosity, and compassion for all beings;
May ALL beings have happiness and the causes of happiness,
May AL beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
The Animal Blessing will include prayers for the protection, health, long life, and future path to liberation for the animals.
Loving-kindness is one of the Four Immeasurables taught by the Buddha.
The other three are sympathetic joy, equanimity (equal spread of feelings) and compassion. Loving-kindness means you want all beings to be well and happy. Not just people you know and like, but all beings - including strangers, people that annoy you, even animals:
MAY ALL SENTIENT BEINGS HAVE THE HAPPINESS AND THE CAUSE OF HAPPINESS;
MAY ALL BE FREED FROM SORROW AND THE CAUSE OF SORROW;
MAY ALL NEVER BE SEPARATED FROM THE BLISS THAT IS SORROWLESS;
MAY ALL LIVE IN EQUANIMITY, FREE FROM ATTACHMENT AND AVERSION.
We should try to make animals well and happy. Animals are just like human beings because they also suffer pain and sadness.
Before going to bed, we should generate loving-kindness for all beings. If we always do this, we will be happy and peaceful.
The Elephant Nalagiri
Devadatta was one of the Buddha's disciples and also his cousin. He therefore expected to become the future leader among the monks. To his surprise, the Buddha treated him like everyone else. This made him so angry that he plotted to harm the Buddha.
In the village, there was an elephant known to be a man-killer. Her name was Nalagiri. One day, Devadatta gave Nalagiri some alcohol to make her go wild. He then drove the elephant onto the path where the Buddha was walking. As soon as Nalagiri caught sight of the Buddha, she rushed towards him in a mad fury. People scattered in fright in all directions. They shouted, "Mad elephant! Run for your lives!"
To everyone's surprise, the Buddha faced Nalagiri calmly as he raised his hand to touch her. The huge creature felt the power of the Buddha's loving-kindness and readily went on her knees in front of him, as if bowing humbly. So we can see that loving-kindness can turn hostility into respect.
ANIMALS IN BUDDHISM
Animals have always been regarded in Buddhist thought as sentient beings. Furthermore, animals possess Buddha nature (according to the Mahāyāna school) and therefore potential for enlightenment. Moreover, the doctrine of rebirth held that any human could be reborn as animal, and any animal could be reborn as a human. An animal might be a reborn dead relative, and anybody who looked far enough back through their series of lives might come to believe every animal to be a distant relative. The Buddha expounded that sentient beings currently living in the animal realm have been our mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, children, friends in past rebirths. One could not, therefore, make a hard distinction between moral rules applicable to animals and those applicable to humans; ultimately humans and animals were part of a single family. They are all interconnected.
In cosmological terms, the animals were believed to inhabit a distinct "world", separated from humans not by space but by state of mind. This world was called Tiryagyoni in Sanskrit, Tiracchānayoni in Pāli. Rebirth as an animal was considered to be one of the unhappy rebirths, usually involving more than human suffering. Buddhist commentarial texts depict many sufferings associated with the animal world: even where no human beings are present, they are attacked and eaten by other animals or live in fear of it, they endure extreme changes of environment throughout the year, and they have no security of habitation. Those that live among humans are often slaughtered for their bodies, or taken and forced to work with many beatings until they are slaughtered at the end of their lives. On top of this, they suffer from ignorance, not knowing or understanding with any clarity what is happening to them and unable to do much about it, acting primarily on instinct.
The Chinese scholar Tiantai taught the principle of the Mutual Possession of the Ten Worlds. This meant that all living beings have buddha-nature 'in their present form'. In the 'Devadatta chapter of the Lotus Sutra the Dragon King's Daughter attains Buddhahood in her present form, thus opening the way for both women and animals to attain Buddhahood.
RELEASE OF ANIMALS
In East Asian Buddhism and particularly in Tibet and China, the release of animals, particularly birds or fish, into their natural environment became an important way of demonstrating Buddhist pity. In Tibetan Buddhism it is known as Tsethar; whilst in China it was known as 放生 (Fàngshēng). This practice is based on a passage in the Mahāyāna Sūtra of Brahma's Net (Ch: Fanwang Jing), which states that "...all the beings in the six paths of existence are my parents. If I should kill and eat them, it is the same as killing my own parents. ... Since to be reborn into one existence after another is the permanent and unalterable law, we should teach people to release sentient beings." In the later Ming dynasty, societies "for releasing life" were created, which built ponds in which to release fish that were redeemed from fishermen for this purpose. They also bought other animals which were sold in the markets and released them.
It is increasingly recognized that animal release has the potential for negative environmental impacts, including as a pathway for the introduction of invasive species into non-native environments. This may lead to biodiversity loss over time. Further, some animals are captured for the explicit purpose of being released.
The Animal Blessing will include prayers for the protection, health, long life, and future path to liberation for the animals
"As far as how Jewish tradition, and the Torah in general speak of God's love for animals, there is a rabbinic concept of "tzaar baalei chaim" - literally the woe/pain of living things" - roughly rendered as concern for cruelty to animals, but runs deeper than that. The principle is that animals experience pain and suffering, and although are not equivalent to human lives, they must still be dealt with caringly and thoughtfully.
"One of the most obvious traditions that reflects this is that of kosher slaughtering - that while it is permissible to eat meat, the animal must be slaughtered in a fashion that is as painless as possible - so one swift motion, with a blade that must be inspected and found free of nicks and cuts. One of the less obvious is the prohibition of plowing one's field with two different animals, specifically, an ox and an ass (Deuteronomy 22:10), although the rabbis enlarge the boundaries greatly and generalize the principle to the mixing of any kinds of natural animal products. The reason most commonly understood is that they work at different paces, and either the ox would be slowed down and frustrated by the ass, or more likely, the ass would get hurt by the ox's strength and size." — Rabbi Howard L. Jaffe