Author Topic: Footprints on the Journey: Life Liberation - Khenpo Sodargye  (Read 539 times)

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Footprints on the Journey: Life Liberation - Khenpo Sodargye
« on: January 12, 2016, 05:49:08 pm »

Life Liberation

“Flying by are the years and ever weakening is my body; gone is my prime and looming near is my demise.” This poem by Lucretius of ancient Rome depicts precisely my present state of affairs. I will soon be 40 years old, one of the life stages as defined by Confucius: “At 30, I planted my feet firmly upon the ground. At 40, I no longer suffered from perplexities.” But for an ordinary person, the eradication of karmic obscuration and confused emotions is not an overnight job: “It takes more than one cold day to freeze the river three feet deep.” How many 365-day years can a human have in life? With not too many days left, how can I catch the fleeting time and use it meaningfully? The supreme beings in the past have left numerous teachings; if I can apply even one verse to discipline myself and watch my own mind and actions, it definitely will be beneficial. On this New Year’s Day I had a sudden urge to write down my experiences and feelings every day. It will remind me to treasure our precious human existence that is hard to come by, and it may bring benefit to others and myself. That’s how I have decided to write this diary.

Today is Losar, New Year’s Day on the Tibetan calendar. It is also the second day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, and an intensely festive mood pervades the streets and neighborhoods. Many people put on their most stylish Tang outfits to celebrate, and they go to the marketplace to buy live animals—chickens, ducks, fish, shrimp, birds and so on—as special treats for the New Year. But for these poor animals, this festive period is actually the ultimate doomsday. I resolved to make releasing live beings as my task to commence the New Year.

No sooner had I walked into the marketplace than I was presented with a shocking scene. A young man menacingly grabbed a quail in a cage and mercilessly pulled out its feathers while the bird was still alive. The poor bird twittered painfully, yet its wail was too meek and too brief to affect the butcher in the least. Without any hesitation, he cleared out all of its feathers, exposing fully the quail’s naked pink body. A sharp knife sliced open its body cavity, the internal organs were thrown out, and its head and feet cut off and cast to one side—all this was done in less than a minute. The quail’s body, emptied of its contents, still quivered faintly; its eyes remained open on the discarded head, as if to protest the utterly unfair treatment: “Why? Why?”

I could not bear to behold this scene any longer. Buying up all the remaining quails, 150 in all, I brought them to the Minnan Buddhist Academy and released them into the woods. Reciting the lifesaving sadhana, I prayed silently: May the local people abolish their bad habit and the misconceptions “dragon meat in heaven, quail meat on earth,” and that “by eating quail meat, one will live to be 99 years old.” I also hope I will be able to make more contributions to release live beings in the latter part of my life.

Today is also the first day of the Great Prayer Dharma Festival of Vidyadhara (Vidyadhara Puja) at the academy. Our Choeje (King of Dharma) Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche called from Chengdu to all Sangha members at the academy, advising them to recite mantras diligently and said he himself would do the same practice with others in Chengdu. These words from our revered Guru brought tremendous joy and encouragement to everyone; some could not help starting to cry with tears of gratitude and intense longing.

Due to medical reasons, I was advised to stay away from the snow-capped high plateau and have been to Xiamen, a southern city with a pleasing spring, for more than a month now. As a lonely visitor to a strange city, I can’t help feeling like a rootless wanderer traveling to the far ends of the earth. How fondly do I miss the days at the academy! On impulse, I called my brother there and asked him to place the phone receiver next to the loudspeaker. Soon a melodious chanting came through the receiver, filling my heart with a deep yearning. How I wish that the snow and ice will melt, and that the warm season for blossoms and green leaves will arrive soon. May the beautiful Larung enjoy spring always and the Sangha members no longer suffer from the bitter winter. May they bask in the warm sunlight of spring and be showered with the Dharma nectar!

May such a day arrive soon! Lama chen!


1st of January, Year of RenWu
Feb. 13, 2002

 


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