Since I am Catholic, I only very recently had the chance to know something about Buddhism because of an illness which brought me to one center. I have cancer.
I am almost sure you will not read my message since I am just a small ant in your great and important world made by people and animals who suffer so much. My pain is nothing if compared to that of all those men, women and children killed and injured. I pray for them and hope something changes, so that politicians start to feel compassion and fight for the respect of all these souls.
Despite my humble and irrelevant position, my heart pushed me to write you a few words. I want to be the smaller one among all of the people who ask for your blessing and support, but to be present and let you know that I think of you and your teachings. It would be a marvelous gift to receive some personal rules to follow—meditation guidelines, animal saving and protection, vows or personal sacrifices—which might definitely solve my cancer problem.
My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
Thank you very, very much for your kind letter. I understand your situation.
As His Holiness the Dalai Lama advises all the time, all the major religions in the world are the same in essence—to not harm others and to benefit others. First to not harm and second to benefit. These two advices include the entire teachings that the Buddha has revealed. Then because of the different levels of intelligence of sentient beings, the Buddha revealed the Lesser Vehicle teachings, the Great Vehicle teachings and the Mahayana Sutra teachings on tantra, which is the quick path to enlightenment or buddhahood—the total cessation of obscurations, both gross and subtle, and the completion of realizations. That is the meaning of buddhahood, which is a Sanskrit word.
There is a very extensive explanation of the mind [in Buddhism], especially the mind, the basis and path, and the goal, buddhahood, the Buddha’s holy body and holy mind, or you can say enlightened being.
Regarding your health, I checked, and it seems according to my observation that you need to liberate animals. What came out in my observation is for you to liberate thirty thousand animals. They need to be animals that would otherwise be killed.
If you think about people who are going to be killed—if that many people were to be killed then you would help to free them, but that would be much more difficult, so it is easier to liberate animals. The animals that you liberate can be big or small ones, even insects that people buy to feed other animals, like crickets and mice that are given to snakes, or the ones that people feed to their pets, or crickets or worms that are used as fishing bait.
You can buy the animals from the market and liberate them like that. You might be surprised that a Taiwanese monk many years ago liberated eight million fish and cows. Now it may be much more; it could be more than 100 million lives he has liberated. The Taiwanese government wondered if there was something wrong with his mind as he had liberated so many. They came to check him but of course there was nothing wrong.
At our FPMT center in Singapore, Amitabha Buddhist Centre, there is one army commander who is a student there, Fred, who has been liberating animals. He is the main leader at the center doing this, but many center members join in and they have now liberated well over 200 million animals—frogs and mostly fish and sea animals. They put them in a tank filled with water on the back of a truck, then they drive the truck around the center as there are so many holy objects at the center, so many statues, stupas and scriptures. All the sea animals are carried by the truck and go around the center that is full of these holy objects. This is to purify them, to create the cause of buddhahood, enlightenment.
When you liberate the animals you need to also take them around holy objects. You can make an altar, then take the insects and animals around that, even though they don’t know, but by the power of the object, it creates the cause of enlightenment.
Normally your motivation has to be holy Dharma and not worldly dharma. If your motivation is holy Dharma then all the actions of your body, speech and mind become holy Dharma. If done with bodhicitta—the most precious thought to achieve enlightenment—then every single action of your body, speech and mind becomes the cause of buddhahood, and brings happiness in this life and future lives, liberation from samsara and ultimate happiness forever, the blissful state of peace forever, then the highest happiness, buddhahood, the total cessation of obscurations and completion of realizations.
By taking all these fish around the holy objects—even though they don’t have holy Dharma motivation and are being carried around by people—due to the power of the holy objects, the buddha statues, scriptures and stupas, the action becomes holy Dharma and it purifies the mind. It purifies the negative karma collected from beginningless rebirths. Each action of going around the holy objects becomes the cause of buddhahood, the cause of achieving all the happiness, liberation from samsara forever, as well as temporary happiness. All the future lives’ happiness and the happiness of this life is created by the power of the holy objects.
So all the animals that are going to be liberated—the small animals, shell animals—we put them in different containers depending on the different type of animal and then carry them around the holy objects. If some are dying or close to dying, they do not get reborn in the lower realms—in the hell realms or as hungry ghosts or animals. Instead they get a higher rebirth as a happy transmigratory being, such as a deva, a human being or in a pure land.
We do the prayers and recite the mantras, everybody recites them, so it can be the Medicine Buddha mantra, the Compassion Buddha mantra and so forth, then we blow in the bucket of water. After reciting the mantra, our breath is blessed. Then we sprinkle the blessed water on the different sea animals and we pour the blessed water into the tanks with the fish and so forth.
The third thing we do is recite prayers and mantras out loud, so that those animals which can hear, like birds, can hear that. For those that can’t hear the mantras, by putting the blessed water on them, it purifies their mind and causes a higher rebirth. For anyone else who hears the prayers and mantras, it leaves positive imprints to get a higher rebirth and to achieve realizations up to enlightenment, buddhahood.
You don’t have to be scared that it is too expensive, for example in Hong Kong many years ago I liberated crickets in plastic bags, so there were one thousand crickets in each bag. First I took them around the statues, stupas and scriptures, and I think I had the Buddha’s relics at that time. I took them around the holy objects and each time it created the cause of enlightenment for all those one thousand crickets. If you buy worms and insects it is very cheap and easy, and slowly you can liberate up to thirty thousand.
In Nepal I buy goats. Kopan Monastery is on top of the mountain and down below is a Nepalese man who had a shop and every day he had four or five goats tied up by the shop that he would kill and give the meat to several restaurants. When I drove down, I would pass the goats and whenever possible I would buy them. We have a nunnery down below the mountain and they keep the goats there for seven days, because the goats come from India and are often sick, so for the first seven days they are kept separately.
We have an animal sanctuary in Nepal where we had fifty goats at one time. We put them there together and we not only give them food and shelter but also we have stupas in the sanctuary and the goats go around the holy objects. We built the stupa and they go around it each day and also we play mantras for them. We made a special mantra blessing wheel filled with special mantras, that you put on the goat’s head. It is meant to be done every day but I am not sure if they actually do this. When the mantra touches the goat’s head it purifies so many eons of negative karma, more than two billion and forty million eons of negative karma.
Maybe two years ago this man stopped killing the goats, because his wife got sick and died suddenly. I don’t know the details, but after that he stopped killing the goats. I didn’t get to explain to him about not killing the goats, but because his wife got sick and died then he decided to stop killing the goats. After that I did stop and speak to him, on the road near his house. I talked to him about karma—how by killing sentient beings, due to karma, you are born and then killed for five hundred lifetimes. That was the basic thing. I am sure it depends on the karma, how heavy and how long you suffer. By killing one sentient being you have to be born in hell and experience suffering for one eon.
I spoke a little bit to him about this and I thanked him for stopping the slaughter of the goats. I gave him a crystal mala to go around the famous stupa called Boudha Stupa, to purify past negative karma. I told him to recite the Buddha’s name mantra and I gave him a present of some scarves. I did talk to him and told him it was very good that he had stopped killing the goats. It was only after he stopped killing the goats that I found out that his wife had died and had unbelievable suffering. He must have thought that killing goats is not a happy thing to do in the life.
Prior to that the driver from the nunnery was the one who many times picked up the goats when I bought them, so he had spoken to that man and had requested him many times to not kill goats. The man had replied that because he had killed the goats then he had been able to build his house. The driver wasn’t able to say anything back, even though he had the general belief in not harming others, but because he doesn’t know logic, why killing is bad, he wasn’t able to reply. But the man had worked it out himself—he killed the goats then his wife got sick, so [he realized] it must be karmic experience.
From the karma of killing, if it is not purified then we are reborn in the lower realms, but even though we are not there yet, at the death time there can be an unbelievably fearful experience. I wondered if it might have been something to do with that, why he stopped killing after his wife died. I have given him some money and presents to thank him for stopping killing.
If you are near Institut Lama Tzong Khapa you can ask some of the old students to show you how to do animal liberation. Also there is a book, Liberating Animals.
You don’t have to liberate thirty thousand animals at one time, it can be done slowly.
I did have the experience in earlier times. One Canadian lady who sold fashion dresses got cancer. She was interested in Buddhism and had been around the centers, but was not really doing practices yet. After she got cancer and requested advice, I told her to liberate many animals, so she bought many chickens and asked someone to look after them. She also did the practice of eight Mahayana precepts and one other mantra. After she did this for some time she recovered from cancer, it become quite well-known and many people in Canada wanted to interview her. But she didn’t know how to explain it because it was all very new to her. She wanted me to help with the interview, but I couldn’t go to Canada.
I think maybe the main thing that helped her was liberating the animals and also keeping the eight Mahayana precepts, which means keeping an ethical life and not making a mess of her life, living in pure morality, so that helped. After some time the cancer came back. Her life had become undisciplined, so she tried to discipline herself by keeping precepts again and she got better for so many years. I don’t know where she is now.
Several people through meditation, using different techniques, were able to recover from cancer and they got better. There are people I know and those I don’t know, that I haven’t heard yet.
You do need to liberate animals that are in danger of being killed. That kind of thing is practical, because it causes a long life and happiness to others. That karmic action of benefiting others is the cause of a long and heathy life, and the result is happiness. From the good karma, the virtuous karma or action, what you have done for others causes a long life, and not only a long life in this life, but a long life for five hundred lifetimes. It’s unbelievable, unbelievable, so in the future you can go to enlightenment, buddhahood—the total cessation of obscurations and completion of realizations—for sentient beings. It’s unbelievable, so good.
This is regarding yourself, the benefit that you get now, but generally speaking if you stop harming others then that causes you to not receive harm from others and as result others don’t receive harm. Then numberless sentient beings don’t receive harm from you, directly or indirectly, so it has incredible benefits. If you benefit others, then you receive happiness from others. Of course you are not the only one. Others are numberless, so they receive happiness from you; the numberless sentient beings receive happiness, directly and indirectly. That’s general, all the talks made into one and summarized like this.
There is one mantra to recite for healing; many famous healers became famous because of being able to heal so well and they recited this mantra. It is called Vajra Armor and it is very good if you can recite it. Please try reciting the mantra.
This is my advice to you. Please write back to me, whatever you want to say.
I know your family is Catholic, as you said, but now, like this, maybe there are different ways to get help when it is needed, by reciting mantras and these things that I advised, like liberating animals, which is a very practical thing and also an incredible practice. Of course in the world people help others and because of that so many people want to help that person in return. The more that person is able to help, the more and more others help that person, so it is like that. It is a logical thing.
What I am saying is that reciting the mantra and following the advice I have given, it is like this, it is the medicine. You can go to different restaurants, like Hindu or Muslim, to taste the food. If you like the food then it doesn’t matter which country it is from. If you like the food, you enjoy it. Similarly, what I am advising is like medicine, so when you are sick then you need to do whatever benefits you, that is the medicine you take. Also the clothing that you wear, whichever country it is from, whichever clothing you like then you wear and enjoy it, so like that. There is no problem this way, no problem, you just enjoy life.
I understand a little bit your heart, you have a very good heart, a very kind heart. You are very kind to others. Thank you very much.
With much love and prayers ...