The Story of Lama Kunzang Dorjee and the Bulls
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In two years, Lama Kunzang Dorjee, 32, who heads the oldest Bhutanese monasery Jangsa Gompa in Kalimpong, India, has saved more than 650 bulls and other similarly ill-fated animals from being killed in slaughter houses.
Lama Kunzang stated that his compassion was kindled when, in late 2000, five bulls which had escaped from a slaughter house in Kalimpong, forced their way into his monastery and refused to leave.
When the five bulls returned to the monastery for the third time the same day, Lama Kunzang gave them water and fresh grass, but they refused to eat.
That moment was a turning point: he had started to save these beings. He bought them for RPS 45,000, built a shed and appointed a caretaker to look after them.
He confronted a similar situation in Mongar, Bhutan last year. Of the 33 bulls being taken for slaughter to Trashigang and Mongar, one walked towards a bystander and refused to leave, as if seeking refuge.
Lama Kunzang, who was then accompanying His Holiness the Je Khenpo, was once again deeply touched by the plight of the bull. Together with His Holiness, who financed the purchase of the bulls, Lama Kunzang negotiated with the butcher, paid and took over the care of all of the bulls.
Two days later, he saved another group of 25 bulls. Since then, people in Kurtoe and Mongar, Bhutan have come forward offering bulls and other cattle which would otherwise be slaughtered.
Some like souls have come forward to donate pastureland, saving him the trouble of finding a place to keep the bulls. Now his more than 650 bulls roam freely in two large tracts of pastureland in Lhuntshe, Bhutan.
Other sympathisers have donated money to help him as his acts of compassion were proving to be too expensive for his monastery to support alone. With their money, he has appointed caretakers to look after the bulls in his pastureland and to cover his operational expenses.
While His Holiness the Je Khenpo has contributed to the salaries of the caretakers of the saved animals, Lama Kunzang has spent over RPS 140,000 purchasing bulls from butchers in the last two years.
“The people are aware of the Buddhist practice known as ‘tshethar,’ (saving and preserving lives) but they did not know how to go about it,” he said.
“The souls of all sentient beings are inter-woven through numerous births and rebirths in the samsaric world,” he said. “We should show all animals gratitude and respect through compassion and sympathy.”
The Buddha has taught that more than carving statues, building monasteries and reading scriptures, saving the life of sentient beings carries the greatest virtue.
Lama Kunzang, who is also in the process of establishing a sanctuary in Thimphu, Bhutan for animals that are going to be slaughtered in and around the capital, also hopes that meat consumption will slowly decrease as more people become aware of tshethar.
Letter from the His Holiness the Je Khenpo in support of the Jangsa Animal Saving Trust.
Letter from the Queen of Bhutan on Lama and Animal Saving.
The Creation of the Jangsa Animal Saving Trust
Lama Kunzang Dorjee, the abbot of Jangsa Gompa in Kalimpong, who became known for saving hundreds of bulls, cows, yaks and goats from the clutches and blades of the butchers is the inspiration and driving force behind the Jangsa Animal Saving Trust, a non-profit organization formed with the sole aim of assisting and promoting the tshethar initiative in Bhutan.
The idea for a trust developed when donations started pouring in from Sikkim, Kalimpong and Bhutan as news about Lama Kunzang's acts of compassion spread in the region.
The idea for a trust developed when donations started pouring in from Sikkim, Kalimpong and Bhutan as news about Lam Kunzang's act of compassion spread in the region.
After the movement reached Thimphu, Bhutan in early March of 2004, contributions rose substantially. In little over two months, the trust had collected about RPS 400,000. Members as well as non-members had contributed generously. One member had even donated a truck.
The Trust intends to put on awareness and sensitization campaigns in the future. They have proposals to print, publish and circulate books, pamphlets, cartoons, comics and make films "on the demerits of eating meat." They even plan to publish vegetarian cook books and distribute them to the public.
"Bhutanese have the habit of saying ‘we can't cook without meat'," an active founding member of the trust said. "We want to show and tell people that it is possible to cook meals without meat and to enjoy them. Researches and studies have also shown that meat is not necessarily the best or the healthiest food." The abbot stated that the Jangsa Trust did not intend to criticize or censure those who ate meat.
About Lama Kunzang Dorjee Rinpoche
Lama Kunzang Dorjee Rinpoche is the Head Lama of the Jangsa Dechen Choling Monastery in Kalimpong , India. He also heads two monasteries in Kurteo Lhuentse , Eastern Bhutan , and one in Gelephu in Southern Bhutan. Born in 1970 into the sacred Nyo lineage, Rinpoche's father, Lama Pema Longdrol, was a lineage holder and a heart disciple of H.H. Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche, the Head of the Nyingma School. Lama Kunzang Dorjee Rinpoche is a cousin of H.H. the Je Khenpo, who is the Head of the Southern Drukpa School and Head Lama of Bhutan.
Lama Kunzang Dorjee Rinpoche holds the spiritual lineages of the Dudjom Tersar and of the Longchen Nyingthig traditions. He speaks and teaches in excellent English. From his first days, he received the blessings of many great lamas and as a boy, he received many important empowerments and transmissions from H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche in person. Rinpoche's father, Lama Pema Longdrol, gave him many teachings and transmissions, including the detailed instructions on the tantric deity of Vajrakilaya. He has been blessed to receive Dzogchen and other teachings from Kyabje Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche and from H.H. Kyabje Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche.
At the age of 14, Lama Kunzang joined H.H. Kyabje Dodrupchen Rinpoche's monastery in Gangtok, where he studied and trained in meditation for 13 years. He received all the transmissions for the Nyingma School 's sacred texts. As well as studying with the monastery's renowned scholars and meditation masters, he also had personal instruction and guidance from H..H. Kyabje Dodrupchen Rinpoche himself. Lama Kunzang Dorjee Rinpoche then completed the three year retreat under the guidance of H.H. Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche.
Besides overseeing his monasteries in India and Bhutan , Lama Kunzang Dorjee Rinpoche has travelled internationally, giving Buddhist teachings and blessings, and raising interest in animal saving. In 2007, he undertook a tour for this purpose in the USA and Europe , and he made links with other animal saving groups. In 2009, he has visited England , where he contributed to a university project on tantric longevity rituals, and also visited South-east Asia, as well as Hong Kong , where he is working on starting a Buddhist centre. Lama Kunzang is also happy on request to make up and consecrate sacred vases (including specially blessed ingredients and mantras from Bhutan ) to please the naga spirits, which can help to bring prosperity and environmental balance.
Lama Kunzang Dorjee Rinpoche's Projects for Enlightened Living
The Jangsa Animal Saving Trust
Lama Kunzang is following the path set out by H.H. Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche in the practice of "tsethar" (saving lives by buying animals which otherwise would be killed) by setting up the Jangsa Animal Saving Trust and trying to save many ill-fated animals from being killed in slaughter houses. Lama Kunzang buys animals and either frees them into relatively safe rivers and lakes, or keeps them on private protected lands. He has also saved many street dogs in Bhutan , and has dog shelters and a clinic for dogs.
The Vajrakilaya Temple
Lama Kunzang is building a Temple at his Gelephu Monastery especially devoted to the practice and study of the tantric deity, Vajrakilaya. Vajrakilaya is a powerful practice for attaining Enlightenment, and in overcoming the afflictions such as anger, delusion, jealousy, pride and passion. It is also effective in pacifying social conflicts and disturbances.
The Meditator Yogis
Lama Kunzang runs a three year retreat centre for the higher training of his experienced monk meditators. He would like to raise sponsorship for the yogi lamas who have graduated from the long retreat, so that they can do further meditation retreats in the Buddhist holy places, thus contributing to enlightened awareness in the world
Consecration of Buddha Jigchop in Chamgang, Bhutan
Photos of Projects in BHUTAN
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