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Mud Crabs 'Saved' for Dalai Lama

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 02/02/03; February 3, 2002.]

The Australian
February 03, 2002.

Seventy-one mud crabs bound for the boiling pot have enjoyed a reprieve and been released in the Brisbane River in a mercy mission for the ailing Dalai Lama.

Sunshine Coast Buddhist Thubten Kungha said she spent $1,588 at a seafood shop buying the crabs, as the practice of liberating animals was a common Buddhist healing exercise of prayer for sick people.

And it may just have worked, for the Tibetan spiritual leader was released from hospital yesterday after recovering from his bowel infection.

"The main point is to save life. In our past lives we killed many animals and humans. That's why we get sick now," Kungha said.

"This is like an antidote to negative actions we've done in our past lives. It counteracts what makes you sick.

"Negative karma needs to be purified."

The group, from the Chenrezig Institute For Wisdom Culture, heard its supreme leader was admitted to hospital and joined a worldwide effort last Saturday, which saw 407,000 live animals liberated.

The money was raised through donations, with the bulk paid by an ill Buddhist monk.

Kungha said she would have preferred to release sandworms as their size and cost meant "hundreds and hundreds of minds" could be freed.

"But there was a shortage of sandworms. I telephoned everywhere but there were no sandworms to be found anywhere. It was because of the weather I think," Kungha said.

"It's better to liberate big animals, like chickens or cows or sheep, but there is the problem of looking after them afterward."

So muddies it was.

In an hour-long ceremony involving prayers, sacred objects and water, the crustaceans were allowed to scuttle back into the mangroves.

"They looked very happy when we let them go, to be running into the water to be free and not put in the boiling pot," Kungha said.

"It's a good feeling."


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