How to Help Animals Harmed by Gardening

How to Help Animals Harmed by Gardening

Date of Advice:
December 2017
Date Posted:
March 2021

This letter was written to a student who was working in the garden at a Dharma center and was concerned about the worms, insects and other animals harmed by planting the flowers. The student asked what they could do for the animals.

My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
How are you? I’m very sorry that for a long time I did not get to write to you. First of all, I am so happy you are there for me, Lama Yeshe, His Holiness and that you are there to serve the Buddhadharma and ultimately sentient beings, not leaving out even one ant or one maggot or fish or even one lice, and you are serving the people there and making everybody happy. You asked me a question when I was there, about what to do when you are working with flowers and the animals die.

You are right, when we look at flowers, they look so beautiful, and it’s like they exist from their own side, like they are real, in ordinary language. We don’t see that sentient beings suffer so much for that garden, so many sentient beings get killed for that. Only through so much suffering did it come to look so nice. It came from so much suffering, creating negative karma, killing, hot and cold, etc.

When I make offerings at the centers, to the guru, the buddhas, the deities—water offerings and other kinds of offerings—then the merits are dedicated for sentient beings. That is what we try to do, as much as we can.

If worms are cut or killed, you can pray like this: “Due to the past, present and future merits collected by me and the three times merits collected by countless buddhas and bodhisattvas, may this worm be free from the lower realm sufferings immediately and be reborn in the pure lands, where this sentient being can become enlightened quickly. Or at least, may it receive a perfect human rebirth, meet the Mahayana teachings and find a perfectly qualified Mahayana guru, revealing the unmistaken path to enlightenment.” If you pray like this, when you dedicate your own and all the buddhas’ and bodhisattvas’ merits, it becomes very powerful. It’s like when you collect one dollar from a trillion people, you get a trillion dollars, and then you get a lot of money to do big projects.

You can recite the Lotus Pinnacle of Amoghapasha mantra.

OM PADMO USHNISHA VIMALE HUM PHAT

Recite this a few times, then blow over the animal which was killed or injured. It’s very good to do that for worms which were killed or injured.

The other mantra is OM MANI PADME HUM. If you have done the blessing of the speech at the end of the Method to Transform, it’s like having recited tens of thousands or even tens of millions of mantras. It’s so helpful! Whether you have a commitment or not, if you recite these mantras every day it becomes so beneficial for yourself and sentient beings.

This is what I have been teaching and introducing in many centers: lamrim motivation, then blessing the speech and blessing the mala. The new title is The Method to Transform a Suffering Life into Happiness (Including Enlightenment). It is not called Daily Meditation anymore, because I don’t want people to think, “I don’t need to do any more prayers because I have already done my daily meditation.” It is not to stop people from doing more prayers.

If possible, of course you put the animals back where they belong. And if possible, put them into the boxes, even the injured ones, and take them around the stupa. I have designed two boxes; one is called wisdom and one is called method. So if you have the insects inside the house, you can scoop them up and they go inside the boxes, underneath the Stainless Pinnacle mantra and then they will have already purified countless eons of negative karma. Also, on top of the box is the Namgyalma mantra. It’s called Liberation Box, Protection Tool for a Fortunate Rebirth.

Then you carry the insects around the stupa. This will purify unbelievable negative karma collected from beginningless lives and they will collect the cause for enlightenment each second. Inside the stupa are so many tsa tsas and holy objects, therefore going around the stupa we collect so many causes for enlightenment.

The other thing is, I have seen small stupas there at the center, inside the rooms. So you can take one of those outside when you work with the flowers and take the worms or insects at least around that, if it is difficult to go around the big stupa. You can do that many times, not only once. Do it a hundred, thirty or twenty times. Take them around the base, not on top of the stupa. And you can recite the short Namgyalma mantra:

OM BHRUM SVAHA OM AMRITA AYUR DADE SVAHA

After reciting this mantra, the breath is so blessed, then you must blow on the animals to purify their negative karma.

If a fully ordained monk breaks all four root vows—sexual intercourse, stealing valuable things belonging to others, killing a human being and lying about having realizations one does not have—then that monk is reborn in hell. But if someone were to recite this mantra for that monk who broke the four root vows and was born in hell, he would immediately be liberated and would be reborn in the higher rebirths. This mantra is so powerful.

Also, we can light incense, then recite the mantra and let the smoke get into our clothes. Then we go to the person who asked for our help, and our help will be successful—that is what is said. So it is a very powerful mantra with many benefits.

Of course, OM MANI PADME HUM is the most powerful one, purifying negative karma collected from beginning less lifetimes. Reciting it, even without bodhicitta, we collect more merits than there are drops of water in the ocean, or more than all the sand grains in the Pacific Ocean, and especially, we generate compassion toward all sentient beings. That is why my mother, even though she could not read the alphabet, had one hundred times more compassion than me, who can read the texts and talk about compassion! This mantra is the quickest way to be born in a pure land and achieve enlightenment.

Regarding the Namgyalma mantra, if we are wearing a Namgyalma mantra protection amulet, it always purifies us, so when we die, we don’t get reborn in the lower realms. If we have it in our house, then mosquitoes, dogs, cats, and even guests, although they don’t know, are purified. So everybody from the house does not get reborn in the lower realms. The sentient beings who are touched by the shadow of the house, even their negative karma and obscurations are purified.

If the mantra is on a mountain, anybody who climbs the mountain or touches the mountain, their negative karma gets purified and when they die they have a higher rebirth. If the mantra is in the car, it becomes a holy object and all the insects and so forth get purified. When we drive a car, so many sentient beings (insects etc.,) are killed, but if we have the Namgyalma mantra in the car, they get purified. Of course, if you see an animal, do not drive over it!

If you come across someone who dies, put the Namgyalma mantra on their body, even for a little while, then their negative karma and obscurations are purified and they get a higher rebirth. When you do your practice, such as reciting OM MANI PADME HUM and Medicine Buddha mantras, think of the worms who got killed, maybe write it down so that you don’t forget them, then dedicate for them, so that your practice is done with bodhicitta. Then dedicate for them to achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible and to never get reborn in the lower realms.

Thank you very much for everything.

With much love and prayers ...