GALLERY   Animal release – saving the lives of sentient beings
Sogan Rinpoche directs fish release into the Ganges at Varanasi in 2012
Ven. Sogan Rinpoche directs a release of fish into the Ganges River at Varanasi, India during April of 2012. More about that event here >>
AN IMPORTANT BUDDHIST PRACTICE
Sparing the lives of beings who are about to be killed
Below: photos of 2009, 2010 animal releases
For additional animal release ceremonies:
  • 2016 – Birds and fowl release, Tibet. Click here >>
  • 2015 – Cow and oxen release, Bhutan. Click here >>
  • 2014 – Cow and oxen release, Bhutan. Click here >>
  • 2013 – Fish release, Haridwar, India. Click here >>
  • 2012 – Fish release, Varanasi, India. Click here >>
PHOTOS: 2009 in San Francisco and 2010 in Varanasi
Sogan Rinpoche in San Francisco, 2012
Lake Merced, SF
On the solstice – June, 21, 2009 – and during Saga Dawa, the sacred month when we commemorate the birth, enlightenment and pari-nirvana of Lord Buddha, TOC sponsored an animal release at Lake Merced in San Francisco. Native species like pigeons, ducks, pheasants and turtles had all been purchased earlier in the day from butcher shops where they awaited imminent slaughter.
Instead, they were blessed by Rinpoche, other lamas and practitioners and then freed into the wild.

The photos below include images from San Francisco and also Varanasi, India where on May 27, 2010, in honor of the Buddhist holy day of Sagadawa, over 2,000 live fish were freed into the Ganges River. Varanasi is a colorful, ancient city with a long history as a religious center for Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.
San Francisco
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Lake Merced in San Francisco on June 21, 2009: TOC sponsored a release of animals who had been destined for slaughter in Chinatown butcher shops
Transported to the site in cardboard boxes, the birds included pigeons, ducks, geese and pheasants, – all local species
Rinpoche, other lamas and practitioners offered prayers and then the birds were set free
At first, some of the former captives were a little confused by their new freedom
Varanasi
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The fish market in Varanasi
Porters carried the crates to the shore of the Ganges River
A boat was hired and loaded with over 2,000 fish
In moments, this rescued fish will be swimming freely in the Ganges