23 May

Celebrate Equality in a Practical Way

In spirituality, we emphasise a lot on the importance of interdependence, which is of course based on the universal law of karma. As human beings, we always think that we are the smartest, we are the most experienced and we have the most right and the top priority when it comes to the ownership of the world and the earth’s resources. There is a saying, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Because we humans feel that we are the absolute owner of the earth, therefore gradually we started to take it for granted and to abuse it, sometimes knowingly, sometimes unconsciously. When we suffer the negative consequences, we normally forget that we planted the seeds of these consequences. So we blame our suffering on everyone else, even on the divine, without having a good reflection on our own deeds, on what we have done.

As you must have heard it millions of times from me, “We are the creator of our own sorrow and our own happiness.” So it’s Better start to be mindful and bring a “karmic mirror” with us all the times, so that before we blame our failures on others, let’s take out this mirror and have a good reflection, “What did I do before, now that I am now suffering?” This analytical understanding will at least help us not to continue make the same mistake or the same decision and encourage us to always be mindful of our intentions, our thoughts and our actions.

Sorry about the long windedness, what I am trying to say is since we consider humans, ourselves, to be more intelligent, we should also try our best to be more understanding and appreciative. Understanding in the sense that we are all sharing the same home, and we should try to respect other beings, to protect the nature and to live in harmony with nature. We want to live safely and happily, without worries, but we are not creating this environment nor the conditions, yet we keep on blaming others for our unhappiness. This doesn’t make sense for any intelligent mind.

Recently in Ladakh, there has been an outcry against stray dogs. The cases of dog bites in Ladakh have increased like nobody’s business. I was informed that about 250-300 million stray dogs roam our planet (4% of world’s population), no country has as many stray dogs as India, stray dogs live in dirty environments, feed on garbage and are highly susceptible to diseases, and estimated 20,000 people in India die every year from rabies infection.

Many people have been crying for help. Will culling the dogs solve the problems? I don’t believe so. It has been proven in other cities and other countries that culling wouldn’t help. So after many discussions with my friends and students and especially with His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche and his team, along with the officials up in Ladakh, we all feel that something more effective needs to be done immediately. So with the help of Live to Love, local government, individuals and groups, YDA under the leadership of His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche has started rescue operations, sterialisation and vaccination, as well as construction of a massive dog shelter within an animal sanctuary.

On 31st May, that is tomorrow, with the ground support of His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche guiding the members of Young Drukpa Association (YDA), we will be witnessing the ground breaking of our Animal Sanctuary in Ladakh, hoping to eventually take care of thousands of animals who are not well taken care of and who have been neglected or abused. The sanctuary will begin with dogs and I believe gradually other kinds of animals will start to stay there. Besides tree planting, this is really my heart project. I have been raising funds for this and have dedicated a large part of the Nang land offered by the Nang people in Ladakh for this purpose. I feel very sorry that I cannot personally attend this program, since I am leaving for the United States in a couple of hours. I look forward to receiving news about it.

His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche and Padma Tashi, President of YDA Ladakh, studying the situation

Lastly, I hope all of you, my friends and students who wish to practise Bodhicitta in the practical sense will join me to support the construction of the animal sanctuary. Afterall, many holy scriptures say that performing good deeds in the holy month of Saga Dawa that commemorates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinirvana will give hundreds of millions of positive karma. For this reason and for the main reason that we are followers of Buddhadharma and practitioners of loving kindness and compassion, let’s all come together and do this together. Live to Love has put together very detail information about this, I urge you to take some time to read about it here: Live to Rescue.

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