Each year at the end of the lobster fishing season in this area of Cape Breton, the monastics and residents of Gampo Abbey hold the great Lobster Release, when many caught lobsters are released back into the water. Read on to learn how you can participate.
Release" -- in which captive animals destined to be eaten are, instead,
released back into their native habitats -- is a traditional practice
for Tibetan Buddhists, especially monastics. The most obvious benefits
of the practice are for the sentient beings whose lives are being saved,
but it also serves to strengthen the individual practitioner and the
sangha as a whole, and to establish an important link with the local
environment and culture.
The day after the end of the local
Lobster Fishing Season, a fisherman is compensated for his catch and the
residents of the Abbey board his boat. The lobsters are blessed with
purifying water; a liturgy written by Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche is read;
and finally each person on the boat is encouraged to release a lobster
into the water. People who send donations to support the Lobster Release
sometimes include a request and these prayers and aspirations are also
read aloud at this time.
Gampo Abbey has become a respected part
of Cape Breton and open curiosity has developed around the activities of
the monastery. The annual Lobster Release, while taking root in the
local culture, has served as a powerful means for the residents and
donors of Gampo Abbey to connect with this ancient Bodhisattva activity
of saving the lives of sentient beings.
Each year the Abbey raises funds
to support the Lobster Release. Your tax deductible donation can be sent through the Supporting Gampo Abbey
page on our website (select “Lobster Release” under the Gift
Designation menu) or you can call our finance office at 902-224-1358
(Mon-Fri, 1:30-5:00 pm Atlantic Time). We can provide you with a receipt
Thank you for your support!
In the spirit of the Great Eastern Sun,
Your friends at Gampo Abbey