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Apart from receiving Dharma teachings, doing meditation, and practicing mindfulness and kindness, some of the students have also taken the opportunity to circumambulate the animals from the Animal Liberation Sanctuary, Nepal around Geshe Lama Konchog’s beautiful stupa in the gardens of the monastery (continued...).


Rinpoche blessing Kalarupa

1) Rinpoche blesses Kalarupa the goat.

2) Kopan November course students circumambulate the goats around Geshe Lama Konchog's stupa.



Kopan Meditation Course and the Animals

December, 2010

These fortunate animals have been rescued from death by Lama Zopa Rinpoche and some of the Geshes from Kopan. After breakfast, with the sun breaking through the mist of the Kathmandu valley, several students lead 16 goats and 2 sheep around the stupa whilst reciting the Chenrezig and Medicine Buddha mantra. On some days the animals are quite stubborn and will not get up the stairs to the stupa, needing to be coaxed quite firmly. At other times several of them will race up. But once at the stupa itself, they generally all behave very well and go around and around. One group, however, decided it was better to run. So goats were charging around after one another whilst students were desperately trying to keep up. It was quite a sight! The animals are taken in groups of six to make it more manageable. But some of the cheekier goats, seeing that some of their mates are going out of the compound, decide they want to come along, push past the gate and take themselves around the stupa! The more the merrier!

Jigme at stupa

On 4 December, Kyabje Thubten Zopa Rinpoche arrived at Kopan amidst much fanfare and a long stream of pilgrims, Western students, monks and nuns, and several goats. Although all of the animals at the Sanctuary have already been blessed, it was decided that several of them should represent them all and greet Rinpoche. Kalarupa, Lobsang, and Tashi were the lucky ones led by Pemba, the caretaker, Tania Duratovic, Animal Liberation Sanctuary Project Coodinator, and course participant Anna Calao from Essential Education. It was a bit of an anxious wait with the goats straining to get at all the beautiful flowers and bushes. Since they were being so patient, we let them have a little nibble where we thought any pruning by goats wouldn’t be noticed. Upon hearing that Rinpoche had arrived, we positioned our 4-legged friends close to the stairs to the gompa where Rinpoche would ascend. Kalarupa was very curious as to what was actually inside the gompa and we had to move him off the stairs several times.

Rinpoche gives blessing

Rinpoche finally made it to us along with Khen Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup, abbot of Kopan monastery. He stopped first at Tashi, who Tania was holding in her arms since he is quite small and Rinpoche would then have to bend down (and also because he is a bit cheeky so best to keep him close!). Rinpoche gently lifted an ear of each goat and spent considerable time on each animal saying many, many mantras and prayers directly in their ear. It was very moving to see the care and compassion that Rinpoche was showing (as always) towards these fellow sentient beings on four legs. It was surprising how calm and still the goats were considering the crowd of people tightly surrounding them and the loud Tibetan horns and cymbals playing right by them. They could obviously sense that Rinpoche is a special being and only wanted to benefit them.

Afterwards they happily trotted off, back around the stupa, down the stairs, and back to their friends with just the odd nibble along the way. And life at the Sanctuary continues as usual.

Learn more about the Animal Liberation Sanctuary, Nepal.



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