Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Releasing Life (放生)
On Sunday morning, I was running by the Hung Hom Pier when a small crowd piqued my curiosity. It appeared to be a nun leading several people in prayer on the water front. There were also several big buckets around them. I suspected they were Buddhists doing a “Releasing Life” ceremony.
A peek at the contents of the buckets confirmed my suspicion. There were fish, crabs and scallops in those buckets. It is a compassionate and commendable act to save lives. But this particular situation did not look very promising. Some of the fish did not seem to be in good shape - some were doing “back-strokes”, floating upside down, already. They might not survive even if they were released into the water. None of the fish, crabs and scallops were from the area, and the quality of the water in the Victoria Harbour is notoriously bad - it is very doubtful that the fish and shellfish would survive in the harbour. And then, ironically, there were all those people fishing on the water front, only meters away from the release site.
Surely there are other ways to do a good deed?