What is the best way to celebrate a birthday? Often we want to give our family members or loved ones a special surprise on this day. What can we do to make this special day even more special? When we google it, we will find all kinds of answers and ideas. One answer I found: The best way to celebrate your birthday is to do something new each year. And this suggestion I am about to share with all of you is something many people have never done – hosting a fish release in celebration of your own birthday.
What is so special about releasing fish or any captive animals to celebrate a birthday? All living beings are equal. When we set them free, it is as if they are reborn again. They are given another chance to live as a result of our kind deed. Celebrating a birthday is as celebrating many birthdays for all the lives we have just saved. We accumulate countless merits from saving lives. It is said that the merits from saving lives will prolong our life and improve our health. There are numerous miracle stories in which people get ill and later on their health is dramatically improved after releasing many captive animals.
Other than celebrating our own birthday, we can also release captive animals in honor of someone we highly respect. Every year in August, we release captive marine animals in celebration of the holy birthdays of Fomu佛母 and Jinba Dharma King金巴法王. This year we released lives on August 8 at San Rafael, CA. Ruo Hui Dharma Master, the Abbess of Hua Zang Si in San Francisco, together with the monastics conducted the fish release. It was nice to see everyone there again with the same mind of saving living beings in pain and fear, and setting them all free back to the ocean. When I held the bucket of water with a couple of big crabs in it, I chanted the Six-Character Great Bright Mantra of Guan Yin Bodhisattvas. Wishing them all the best, I then poured the water and crabs back to the ocean. It was a quick hello and goodbye. I wish them a safe and sound journey back home.
May all living beings be treated equally because we all have the Buddha nature in us. All of us have the same chance to live happily, practice, and eventually become an enlightened one.
May the merits from today bring comfort and hope to those in pain impacted by the pandemic and all the natural disasters.
May the fearlessness of Guan Yin Bodhisattva bring us the courage, and never ever will we give up on our practice to become a better person and make the world a better place.
May all living beings have the karmic condition to embrace the teachings of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III and His grace.
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