PEI

P.E.I. monks buy 600 lbs of lobster to release them into ocean

'Hopefully, we can find a spot where there are no cages waiting for them'

Monks free lobster

P.E.I. monk Venerable Dan releases a lobster off the coast of Wood Islands on Saturday. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

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More than 600 pounds of lucky lobsters were spared the pot Saturday, thanks to compassionate monks on Prince Edward Island.

The monks bought the lobsters from various places around the Island, said Venerable Dan of the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society in Little Sands.

Monks free lobsters

A monk from the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society in Little Sands says a prayer before setting lobsters free Saturday. (Jessica Doria-Brown)

On Saturday, they boarded a fishing boat and released them back into the ocean off the coast of Wood Islands.

"Hopefully, we can find a spot where there are no cages waiting for them," said Dan.

The purpose is to cultivate compassion not just for the lobsters, but for all beings, he said.

Cultivating compassion

Monks free lobsters

Buddhist monks sprinkle purified water on eight crates of lobsters before setting them free on Saturday. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

"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."

Monks free lobsters

Buddhist monks head out to sea to free more than 600 pounds of lobster on Saturday. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Before releasing the lobsters, the monks held a 20-minute ceremony with a prayer and chant to the Buddha of compassion.

Dan said you don't have to have a ceremony or be a Buddhist to practice compassion to be nicer to all the living beings around you and try to think from their point of view.

Monks free lobsters

Buddhist monks prepare to release lobsters back into the ocean on Saturday. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

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"If your loved ones were in this situation, what would they like you to do?" he 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 said Islanders, including fishermen, have supported their cause.

"Fishermen actually found us a better place to release lobster so they won't be captured again," he said.

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