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Canadian Buddhist Monks Buy 600 Pounds of Lobsters from Restaurants, Release Them into the Ocean

A group of Buddhist monks from the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, on Prince Edward Island, recently bought around 600 pounds of live lobsters from various restaurants and released them into the ocean.

600 pounds of lucky lobsters were spared the boiling cooking pot last Saturday when Buddhist monks in Little Sands bought as many of them as they could find around Prince Edward island with the purpose of setting them free. Enlightened Dan, of the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, said the purpose of this unique mission was not to challenge people’s dietary options, but merely to send a message of compassion. “We respect everyone’s dietary choice, so we’re not doing this to convert everybody to be vegetarians or vegans,” he said. This whole purpose for us is to cultivate this compassion toward others. It doesn’t have to be lobsters, it can be worms, flies, any animals, drive slower so we don’t run over little critters on the street.”

Photo: Jessica Doria-Brown / CBC / Twitter

After securing the lobsters and putting them on ice in plastic crates, the monks boarded a fishing boat and headed off the coast of Wood Islands to release them back into the ocean, where they belong. “Hopefully, we can find a spot where there are no cages waiting for them,” Dan told CBC. Before throwing them into the water, the Buddhists held a 20-minute ceremony with a prayer and chant to the Buddha of compassion.

If your loved ones were in this situation, what would they like you to do?” Enlightened Dan said. “To give them a helping hand and put them back to where they feel comfortable and we believe if everybody’s able to do that, it will become a better place, a more harmonic place.” He added that the local community and even the fishermen were very supportive of their actions. In fact, it was the fishermen who helped them find a better spot to release the lobsters, so they wouldn’t be captured again.

Photo: Jessica Doria-Brown / CBC / Twitter

The Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society has been on Prince Edward island for eight years. Every year, Buddhist monks travel here from all around Asia to study in their monastery.