World Animal Day
How will you celebrate World Animal Day this year?
World Animal Day is on the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, who is Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment, and it is celebrated all over the world on October 4th.
Buddhists strive to extend their compassion to all living beings, both human and animal. Like us, animals have the capacity to feel pain, fear, love and kindness. Many Buddhist centres are holding special pet blessing events at this time. Kyabje Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche encourages people to do this. He says:
"The purpose of this is to bring peace to the animals and to make their lives meaningful, so that sooner or later they can be fully awakened and achieve highest happiness." [2a]
How will you celebrate World Animal Day?
World Animal Day can be celebrated in many ways. Some examples are:
- pledge to be vegetarian, or better still vegan, for the day. If you a really want to make a difference, pledge to abstain from eating animals for several months, or years, or life and dedicate the lives saved to the long lives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kyabje Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, and your Gurus
- recite some prayers and mantras and strongly dedicate the merit to animals (see Dedications)
- recite prayers and mantras to the animals and insects at your house and in your neighbourhood
- visit an animal shelter, farm or zoo and recite prayers and mantras to the animals there. This is particularly important for animals in shelters as many of them are likely to be ‘euthanized’
- do a Medicine Buddha puja at home, with friends, or better yet, at your Dharma centre and dedicate to animals
- recite the ‘Golden Light Sutra’ and dedicate for the removal of obstacles to obtaining the perfect land for Rinpoche’s Animal Liberation Sanctuary in Nepal
- recite the King of Prayers for all those animals around the world being killed for food, entertainment, sport, fashion etc
- donate to an animal charity such as Maitri (see Links) or the Animal Liberation Sanctuary, Nepal
- with Bodhicitta motivation, recite powerful mantras such as Medicine Buddha, Mitrugpa, Chenrezig and blow into a bottle of water which you can then gently spray insects with to bless them or spray into your pet’s water bowl
- go to a wharf or beach or river and do some prayers/mantras and blow into the water to bless all the living beings who come into contact with the water
- at your centre, conduct an animal liberation practice by rescuing animals about to be killed and performing the animal liberation practice as recommended by Lama Zopa Rinpoche (available from www.fpmt.org)
- at your centre, conduct an animal blessing (see ‘How to Hold an Animal Blessing Event’)
- you could also host or join an inter-faith animal blessing.
These are just a few examples of suggestions to do for World Animal Day. Many places hold animal themed activities throughout the week, for example, at schools.
Rejoice and Dedicate!
Remember that people all around the world are doing extra practices to help animals on this day. Rinpoche always stresses the vast benefits of rejoicing in your own and others’ virtue. And dedicate the huuuuge amount of merit that has been generated.
Please let us know of any event that you do so we can share your news with others and they can rejoice also.