On 10 October, a Buddhist animal blessing ceremony was held in Moscow by Dzogchen teacher Sangngak Tenzin Rinpoche. RIA Novosti reported that the ceremony was organized by the Fund for Humanitarian and Responsibility for Animals (Ганден Тендар Линг), the foundation Koshka Vetra (Ганден Тендар Линг), and the Buddhist center Сохраним Тибет. The event was open to not only all Buddhists, but also all animal lovers.
Born in 1970 in Tibet, Rinpoche has studied and practiced Buddhism extensively with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Penor Rinpoche (1932–2009). He also received an oral transmission of Rongzom Mahapandita’s Khabum from Khenchen Pema Sherab and received training and guidance under the great Dzogchen master Mewa Khenchen Thupten Ozer (1928–2000).
The ceremony was held in downtown Moscow, in the Tverskoy district at the Amber Plaza building. According to the organizers, the animal blessing ceremony continues a precedent established by the late Lama Zopa Rinpoche (1946–2023), who himself was an animal lover and held animal blessing ceremonies twice in Moscow, and once in the autonomous, Buddhist-majority republic of Kalmykia. The most recent ceremony he held before his Parinirvana was 30 September 2019, in the Russian capital.
The day opened with Sangnak Rinpoche first giving some Dharma words about love and compassion for animals. Then he conducted several prayers dedicated to the attendees’ pets, before personally blessing them for a long and happy life and ideal rebirths for the future. Finally, the pet owners, the overwhelming majority of whom were cat and dog owners, circumambulated the Buddhist altar with 21 laps made for the health and well-being of the pets. “The purpose of holding such a ceremony is to give peace and rest to animals, to fill their lives with meaning, so that sooner or later they may attain complete awakening and supreme happiness,” he said. (Facebook)
The Dharma words offered by Rinpoche at the beginning were ones of compassion and encouragement. “I greet you and all our beloved four-legged friends. There are so many animals that are deprived of warm and loving care. Many cats and dogs live abandoned or homeless. They truly need care, affection. I am very pleased that in Russia, thanks to the efforts of the late Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the tradition of such an animal blessing ceremony has begun. Animals are those who need our help and protection,” Rinpoche said at the beginning of the ceremony. (Facebook)
“He noted that for practicing Buddhists, the species of the one that needs help has never mattered. It is axiomatic in the Dharmic tradition that Buddhists should benefit all living beings, “the number of which equals infinite space,” he emphasized, referencing the bodhisattva vow. (Facebook)
“We, as humans, have a multitude of possibilities, and we must be a support for all living things on the planet. If we are cruel, we will incur the disapproval of the Buddhas and the bodhisattvas, who are always compassionate towards all beings. When we care for the defenseless, those who cannot stand for themselves, it brings joy to all the Buddhas and the bodhisattvas. Buddhas and bodhisattvas only seek one thing: that there is less suffering in this world,” added Rinpoche. (Facebook)
He stressed that Buddhism has always taught the doctrine of rebirth and past lives. There is an infinite multitude of beings that “were once our parents,” he said. (Facebook) He said that we should cultivate an attitude of concern and compassion that the ones who were the closest people to us have been reborn in the bodies of various animals. That is why we must strive to treat every being the best way we can.
“In my past life, I myself have been many times in the body of an animal: in the body of a cat, a dog, or other sentient beings. Let all those who need care and affection find them, and I will contribute to this,” said Rinpoche. (Facebook) He thanked the attendees for loving their pets, caring for them, and considering them as their important family members. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Lama Sangnak Rinpoche read prayers and mantras together with those present for the event.
Ганден Тендар Линг (Facebook)
Кошка ветра (Facebook)
Сохраним Тибет (Facebook)
Фоторепортаж. День помощи животным с ламой Сопой Ринпоче – 2019 (Сохраним Тибет)
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