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by Venerable Master Hsing Yun (1927 - , Fo Guang Shan)
English translation: Miao Guang and Zhi Yue

Life-releasing means to espect life, to ensure that sentient beings live without fear, and to give them a safe environment to reside in. The best examples of life-releasing are not to fish at a riverbank, not to torture animals, and not to kill life or harm the environment.

In Buddhism, which emphasizes humanity, life-releasing also includes “releasing people,” which is to give others a way out. Working for the happiness of others by giving faith, joy, hope, and convenience is proactive life-releasing. This also includes when we help others find a way out of difficult situations, provide relief aid, and give others causes and conditions.

There is a saying, “whether sentient or non-sentient, all will attain the Buddha’s wisdom.” Every inanimate object such as a stem of flower, a blade of grass, a table, a chair, or a piece of carpet has life; and should be well preserved and utilized to prolong its lifespan and to give value to it. Such is the Buddhist perspective on life-releasing.

For those who are practicing the act of life-releasing nowadays, they must be careful with whether their actions are in fact causing death.

Who is to speak of the insignificance of animal lives;
They are just the same flesh and bones.
You are urged not to shoot the spring birds,
For the nesting babies await their mother’s return.

── from Bainian Fo Yuan (Buddhist Affinities Across 100 Years)