Shamarpa's speech on ICF
Good Evening Your Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa,
Your Royal Majesty, Queen of Bhutan,
Your Royal Highness of Bhutan,
Thank you for attending our today's Celebration! The Infinite Compassion Foundation, in short ICF, has been inaugurated today. I am very happy for being able to make this important announcement. It is a vital step-forward in my long campaign for some important global issues. The ICF will work for human rights and for the rights of animals as well. As we have reached the 21st century many serious faults and issues have shown up in various religions. For example, I am horrified to see that some religious followers are being persuaded and instructed to kill themselves and others. But there are serious faults in Buddhism as well. Also in our religion there are some bad teachers who regularly support and praise their disciples for acts of violence and other misdeeds. Certain “High Lamas” are mainly devoted to the task of enriching themselves. They devote most of their time to the elimination of their competitors - not only by bribery of police and government officials - but also by means of violence and trickery. If we do not expose these fake lamas, we surely endanger Buddhism itself.
But at the same time we must extend our deep compassion to the followers of these harmful teachers and guide them on to the path of enlightenment. One of the underlying reasons of these problems is the fact that education of good ethics is no longer properly taught and emphasised in today's schools. Nowadays young students receive a more technical education and therefore can no longer understand the great value and importance of ethics for mankind. Consequently young people often appear to fail in their judgement of certain ethical problems.
The ICF will strive to improve this and will stress the need for good ethical education in all academic entities of this world. Another very important issue on my mind are the great pain and the immense sufferings of animals in this world. This issue has to be addressed urgently. I am deeply saddened by the fact that in some parts of this world the rights of animals are persistently denied and violated.
Unfortunately China is no exception. Dogs are deliberately beaten and tortured into rage before they are killed. Inner organs of animals are harvested from alive animals. The skin is ripped off whilst the animals are still alive. Animals are mutilated without putting them to death first. Animals are bound, deliberately crippled and held in torturous conditions. I have heard of a Chinese dish called "Drunken Prawns". Live prawns are put in a glass-container filled with water and wine, then placed on a lit stove and cooked alive as a spectacle for the diners whilst they sizzle in horrific pain until they are dead. This and all similar practices must be eliminated once and for all! We must raise the awareness of mankind to stop all these cruelties towards animals.
A human society which does not properly acknowledge and protect the natural rights of animals is imperfect and contradicts the underlying framework of this planet. I believe that the Earth provides all living beings with equal rights to enjoy her bounty. The Earth is like the mother and all living beings are her children. The elements of a state which require protection and care are threefold: the Earth itself, which means the natural environment human beings and animals. Earth provides the ideal living conditions for all beings without preference or discrimination. She naturally treats all beings equally and provides enough food for all. Therefore the Earth provides a perfect model for the functioning of an ideal government. All laws should be made in the name of, and in the interest of Earth and all her inhabitants, human beings and animals alike. Please keep in mind that the law is an extremely important factor regarding the happiness of all living beings. Therefore I strongly suggest to proclaim the well-being of the Earth and of all her inhabitants, which includes human beings and all animals as well, as the ultimate concern of the law.
Human beings have the duty to look after all other beings on Earth. We must teach the other beings what is right and what is wrong. One of the most fundamental animal-rights is the right to exist, if possible, without suffering. We must care particularly well for those animals which serve humans as a source of food, fibre, entertainment and as pets. At the very least we must provide them with very comfortable conditions during their lives until they are slaughtered. We must make special efforts to minimise and, if possible, to completely eliminate all pain and sufferings of these animals when they are slaughtered.
The ICF will strive to persuade all people, governments and related institutions to eventually teach animal rights in our schools. First of all we have to make mankind aware of the fact that animals have undeniable rights. Secondly we have to help human beings to understand their duty to observe and to uphold these rights. The ICF must continue to work until the animal rights have become enshrined in the basic laws of all countries of this planet.
The ICF will start its work without delay. Our mission of works will probably never end, but still we will never give up! Our work will require a lot of courage, dedication and hard work. But it will also require a lot of financial support to achieve a good, sizeable result. I sincerely hope and pray that we will find all the necessary sponsors and volunteers for our new foundation, the ICF. On the other hand I am actually very confident, because ICF will be serving a natural and just cause for the ultimate benefit for humans and animals alike. It is important to understand that we have to encourage our supporters to help us actively, if possible.
It is wonderful to pray to the Buddha, but it is even better to help another being in distress and need. If we always remember this, the bad Karma of mankind will be greatly reduced. Active help is a wonderful remedy for all our problems.
I am very grateful for His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa to attend our today's inauguration. The new foundation will surely benefit from his many good wishes and compassion. I also highly appreciate that Her Majesty the Queen of Bhutan and the other distinguished members of her royal family came all the way to Hongkong in support of our new project. This is a great honour to me! Thank you very much indeed! I also like to thank all the venerable bikshus and monks who grace our today's meeting with their presence. Their prayers for the success of our new foundation are most welcome! I am happy to see all of you! Last not least I also extend my sincere thanks to all members of the Hongkong Bodhipath Centre for their support to organise this event. May the ICF be always successful and serve its aims until final victory is achieved!
Thank you! (Hongkong february 2009.)