Vegetarian Buddhists Sought For Release Of Non-Native Species
Somehow the idea of a New York sect of Amitabha Buddhists releasing imported eels frogs and turtles into New Jersey's Passaic River, a body of water already beset with a host of problems, doesn't match up with a 'do no harm' stereotype we westerners may have of Buddhist beliefs, nor with the words of wisdom on their home page. As a result, we'll put this one in the file labeled Outcome Of Good intentions With Lack Of Knowledge.
"Members from a New York sect of Amitabha Buddhists -- devout vegetarians who believe in the sanctity of all living creatures -- said Sunday they had purchased the creatures in New York's Chinatown for the purpose of setting them free. Ann Chin, a member of the group, said on Sunday they chose the Passaic River because it was the nearest body of freshwater to New York City, where the eels, frogs and turtles they let go had the best chance of surviving and realizing their full karmic potential."
"Amitabha, also known as the Pure Land Study of Buddhism, is heavily focused on cause and effect, and the cycle of transmigration."
We're sure that the sea lamprey (pictured above, as it would be in nature, sucking blood), a freshwater ecosystem-destroying marine eel that was introduced to the Great Lakes some time ago, has already reached its full Karmic potential, nearly extirpating the native Lake Trout and putting several other native species at risk. Who knows what other China Town market goodies might be one day accidentally unleashed to find their "karmic potential."
A similar risk of unintended damage accrues from those who, tired of their aquatic pets, release them into the wild, or from fishermen who dump unused live bait in a lake.
Importing live, non-native and invasive species from overseas has negative karma: a huge carbon emissions footprint per kg., plus added risk of destroying an ecosystem. That's a potential we don't need expressed by anyone. It is the consequence of unawareness. No different than denying the science of climate change.
UPDATE: Please see important comment below from Venerable Wuling, Advisor, Amitabha Pureland, where we are advised that the home page for Amitabha is based in Australia and not associated with the subject of this post.