In Thailand, Many Buddhist People like to practice Metta by Freeing (releasing) Animals and save them from Certain Death, as a Buddhist Practice to Reduce Bad Karma, and Increase Future Good Fortunes. There is a special Prayer in Pali for this, when releasing them, to Make Merit with Metta (Practice of Compassion).
As one releases the fish into the water, birds into the air or animals loose onto the land, and frees them, one performs the Incantation of a Pali Kata as part of Thai Buddhist Tradition. It is Usual to light 16 sticks of Incense
Chant Maha Namasakara 3 times first (Namo Tassa)
Then chant the following Kata 3 Times before, or when you are releasing the animals
Turtles and Terrapins
Many people prefer to release terrapins, but do not know that if they put them in the river or where there are waves, and strong currents, then they are putting them to death. They need still water, with bits of rock or land where they can rest on. So if you wish to release terrapins, please make yourself aware of their necessary conditions needed for surviving in their natural habitat, this also applies to any animal you will release into freedom
Kata Ploi Sadt (Kata For freeing Animals)
Kajchaewa Kho Dtawang Na Ruu Bpo Ma Dtang Amidt-Dtaa Bpuna Akka Haesung Tugkho Hi Sutto Hi Bpumaa Samaa Ka Mo At Sa Sa Nang Po Cha Bpudt Dtaa Nang Kajchaaya Sukhaaya Nirandtarang
คัจเฉวะโข ตะวัง ตะระมา นะรูโปมาตังอะมิตตา ปูนะ อัคคะเหสุง ทุกโข หิ ลุทโท หิ ปุมา สะมาคะโม อัทสะ สะนัง โภขะปุตานังคัจฉา สุขายะ นิรันตะรัง
Then think of the four Mother Natures, Mae Toranii (earth) Mae Konkaa (Ganga – Water), Mae Pra Plerng (Fire) and Mae Pra Paay (Air), and Imagine that all illnesses and evil influences and bad luck and any unwanted things should be dissolved back to their source into the four elements from which all things come.
Piti Ploi Sadt Tao Aayu
‘Tao Aayu’ means ‘same as your own age’. The phrase ‘Piti Ploi Sadt Tao Aayu, means ‘Ceremony to release as many animals as your own age’.
This means that if you are, let’s say 35 years old, then you should release about 36 animals in one month to remove your Bad Karma, summing up to one more life than the number of years you have lived. This extends your Lifespan.
Reduces dangers and illnesses and ill fate – if you buy the animals you will be releasing, it is forbidden to bargain for reduced price. It is important that you really have Metta (warm wishes) in your heart when you release the animals, not just say the Kata. Enlightenment comes with Self Transformation – Self Transformation is precisely working with oneself to change one’s own heart, be learning to see things as they really are, instead of how we want them to be, and then, learning to accept them for what they are. If we can do this, then we will stop suffering so much when things are not how we expect or wish them to be. The practice of releasing animals perhaps has, or perhaps has not any good things that come back to you simply because of the deed.
That is a matter of faith or belief, which Buddha did not necessarily teach to rely on. The true good things which come back to us is, when our hearts turn towards the light, and begin aiming for auspicious goals and paths that are in line with the goals of the Dhamma, and the angels, and Devas, then ‘The Devas will help Us’, for we are Helping Our Self first by our own efforts.
Helping One self does not mean to put One self First before Others, rather means that when one is able to admit ones mistakes and faults to oneself, then one is able to learn and change, which is what will make the Devas assist You, from what they see inside your heart when you practice (or pretend to practice). The Devas love to help those who try hard and make an effort, or aim for the Dhamma, and this is part of the key to success, to begin with looking what is inside our own hearts and minds, and practice inside the heart, as well as outside of it in the ‘Real World’.
This is the True meaning of Helping One Self, to give oneself a chance to become a better person, by examining what is and is not good within our own heart. If we have good things in our hearts when we release the animals, instead of just doing it out of fear of Karma or retribution, or out of hoping to win the lottery, then we get good things out of the act of kindness. An act of Kindness is only Kindness if Mercy is present in your heart during the act.
There is no merit or self transformation in the release of animals with the wish to get rich in the heart as you release the animals. You must have true Metta in your heart. If you do not develop Metta, or try to make the right thoughts and intentions when freeing the animals, then nothing will have really changed for you, but of course, for the animals, something good has happened. If you had Metta in your heart at the time of release, then you get Merits from it, and the Transformation as a reward on the path to self Perfection. The Devas see what is in our hearts, and they are around us always, and they help those who make an effort to see further than their own needs, and who protects the Dhamma, the Devas Protect that Person.
Ten Blessings from freeing Animals
- Evade War and Weaponry (Stabbed or Shot)
- Lucky Blessings will begin to arrive, and Metta Mahaniyom Power will increase
- Good Health, no Illnesses, and Long Life
- Your Children will be Polite and Kind, and will grow up to be a Child to be Proud of.
- Receive Celestial Guardians; The Devas admire you when you show kindness saving lives, and rush to your assistance, and bless you.
- Animals of the same kind you saved will feel friendly towards you and notice your Merits, never harm you and protect you.
- No Bad Fate or Disasters will befall you, and people will be helpful towards you always.
- Releasing Animals helps to lend a hand in improving National Human situations such as crime and drug addiction, and helps to try to tip the scales to reduce such problems, and protects your family from such Dangers.
- The animal that was freed will be lucky to be reborn as a Human again in the next life
- When you Die, you will be reborn in a Celestial Realm (Heaven) – he who refrains from Killing, and frees lots of Anmimals to save lives, are reborn in the Jadtumaha Rachiga Heaven
Most Thai Buddhists do not go much deeper than this in their practice, but in fact, if you wish to go into detail, there are even folk beliefs as to which type of fish or animal brings which type of blessing. The Black catfish will make any enemies who try to harm you lose the battle. Pla Tapian (Cyprinidae – Carp Fish) will bring great wealth and treasures. The ‘Pla Hmor’ (Doctor fish) is said to keep Illness away, the snake head fish brings great Status and Wealth, The Thai river perch brings treasures and money, and so on.
Normally the name of the fish or animal in Thai will suggest the type of Blessing related to the freeing of that particular animal or fish. Birds, Buffaloes, Terrapins and Fish are all common types of bestiary for freeing. We believe that such attention to detail and assimilated meanings with the names of the animals is more a Folk Belief than anything else (albeit one which could be true for all we know!). We do not feel that such defined details are necessary to perform an act of Merit, and that it is Human Greed which pays attention to looking after One’s Self and do something for profit, not Merit. We believe that it doesn’t really matter so much what kind of animal you help, more that, you do it with true Metta in your heart. To directly go and choose a particular kind of animal with the specific intention of gaining riches or other specific gains before the act of merit has even been made, takes any possible Merit straight out of the act and makes it a worthless act, for no purity or Metta was in the heart when the animals were chosen, and the wrong reasons were also present. In such cases, it doesn’t matter whether it is good to free an animal, if we do it the same way some warmongering politician takes a baby and kisses it for the camera for Self-Marketing reasons, false reason.
Magic and Spiritual Blessings are something that we strongly believe in, and have our own experience of it to be convinced that it is real, but it is important to understand truly what Merit Making means, and the heart has much to do with it, not just the Ceremonial Act. Don’t Take Our word for it though, Make Your Own Decisions based on what makes sense to You with the Practice of Freeing Animals and Developing Metta as a way of Increasing Merit.