"Actually, there is nothing special about 'new year.' The ideas '2013' and '2014' are but figments of the human imagination [conventional concepts]. Having said that, we can make something good out of it. We can use the [idea of] transition to reconsider our lives and to renew our resolutions. My wish for you all in 2014 is that you will be happier, more joyful, and healthier than ever before, that all your good wishes will be fulfilled. Above all, as human beings, we should understand that one's existence is interconnected with all other sentient beings, and none of us is able to survive, or to live a life, completely independent of relations. As such, we ought to always maintain good relations with other living beings; that is, compassionate and cordial relations. I think this is very important. So I hope all of you can work on this aspect with more effort in the coming year."
Translated by Ratanayano Bhikkhu
I was with my guru, His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, for nine years solid. You would think that after nine years of seeing somebody every day they would become like your buddy. He never did. Because my previous incarnation was his guru he always treated me well, with honor and respect. He never beat me, or shouted at me, he was not ten feet tall, so there was really no reason to be afraid of him. But interacting with him was like being in the presence of a lion. I think this was because of his ever-present awareness. He was like a big, healthy, strong lion that understood me, took care of me and taught me with kindness and compassion. Everything was also very quiet around him even though he had an aviary full of birds, ten little dogs, a huge white dog, Siamese cats and a green peacock from Java. It was just like being in the depths of the ocean. I think this quietness also came from his ever-present, primordial wisdom. It had to have.
(From: 12th Kenting Tai Situpa, “Ground, Path & Fruition”, pp. 269-270)
January 26, 2014
Despite his heavy teaching schedule, the Gyalwang Karmapa slipped away during the lunch break to visit the Cham dancing at the Royal Bhutanese Monastery, Druk Ngawang Thubten Chokling. The monastery is the seat of the Shabdrung of Bhutan, and belongs to the Drukpa Kagyu tradition.
As His Holiness’ car approached, a line of leaping performers danced out to greet him, forming a unique, Bhutanese-style serbang or ceremonial procession to escort his car through the welcome gate into the monastery grounds and to the temple, where the Abbot and senior monks were waiting for him.
Entering the three-storey temple, the Karmapa first lit two butter lamps as offerings on the altar, and prostrated three times. At the request of the Abbot, he then consecrated a new Buddha statue, before sitting down on the throne to receive a kusungthug mandala offering, presented by the abbot and senior monks, accompanied by the mother of the young incarnation of the Shabdrung.
His Holiness’ next duty was to consecrate the special Guru Rinpoche mask which was to be used during the Cham, and, in addition, to consecrate two newly-finished wall paintings, one of the Buddha inside the temple, and one on the entrance wall of the temple, illustrating the Kings of the Four Directions.
Outside, to the left of the temple porch, a special seat had been prepared for him, inside a specially constructed golden cloth pavilion, fringed with green, from where he could watch the Cham. As His Holiness took his place, a dance was already in progress, the Eight Aspects of Guru Rinpoche, and the costumed monk-dancers whirled around the improvised cham ground on the lawn in front of him.
Then the dancers formed a long line to escort the figure of Guru Rinpoche, a monk wearing the Guru Rinpoche mask and heavy brocade robes. As His Holiness looked on he must have been reminded of the occasion little more than two weeks ago when he himself played the part of Guru Rinpoche in the Tsechu Cham at Tergar, walking onto the Monlam stage weighted down by the Guru Rinpoche image and mask. As the procession passed in front of him, His Holiness scattered a blessing of flower petals over the figure of Guru Rinpoche.
Time was up. His Holiness rose and, smiling kindly at the hundreds of onlookers gathered to watch the event, strode to his car, and returned to Tergar to resume his teachings.
January 26, 2014
At 9.30am, during the morning tea break, His Holiness momentarily put aside his teachings on Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation and went outside for a flag-raising ceremony to celebrate Republic Day. Hundreds of nuns, monks, and laypeople crowded after him to watch. And across India, the peoples of the world’s largest democracy celebrated its 65th Republic Day in similar ways.
On the paved path between the gated entrance to the monastery and the main shrine hall, more than a hundred young monks with their teachers lined up in straight lines and stood to attention. Smartly kitted in khaki, Army security stood to attention, presenting arms with their automatic rifles. Indian security police, standing straight and tall, saluted. His Holiness stood and watched respectfully, as Gongkar Rinpoche raised the Indian national flag. Emblazoned with Emperor Ashoka’s 24-spoke chakra wheel in navy blue, the tricolour flag —with saffron, green and white panels— has become the symbol of modern, democratic India.
After the young monks had sung the National Anthem and chanted Buddhist prayers for the happiness and well-being of the world and all sentient beings, they enthusiastically waved small national flags. Then everyone returned to their places in the shrine room to enjoy warm spicy milk tea and gooey Indian sweets – ladoo, rasgulla and jelabi
Phayul[Saturday, January 25, 2014 12:18]
|Maneka Gandhi speaks at the launch of medical camp for animals,|
Bodhgaya/Jan. 24, 2014
DHARAMSHALA, January 25 - The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje on Thursday inaugurated a medical camp for animals initiated by The Kagyupa International Monlam Trust at the Kagyu Monlam Pavilion, Tergar Monastery in Bodhgaya. Animal right activist and Indian parliamentarian Smt. Maneka Gandhi attended the inaugural ceremony as the chief guest. Gandhi heads the ‘People for Animals’ organization that she established in 1992.
Smt Gandhi pointed out that this is the first animal health program to be initiated in Bihar. "Throughout history great spiritual beings have come in human form. I believe the Karmapa is among those beings who have come to help us realize ourselves," Gandhi said in her address to the gathering. "If you want to make the world a better place for humans, you have to make it a better place for all beings including animals." Gandhi last year visited Dharamshala where she met with the Karmapa and visited various Tibetan institutes.
The Karmapa expressed hope that the land of Buddha's enlightenment will transform into a space where animals' rights are respected as much as humans. "Bodhgaya is a land which has been a source of wisdom and compassion, and my hope is that it can become a 'mandala' or pure realm where we can especially appreciate the worth of animals," said the Karmapa.
Inspired by the Karmapa, the Kagyupa International Monlam Trust has committed to a multi-year animal health-care project, involving annual camps for treatment of all animals, sterilization of dogs and anti-rabies vaccination. With a nationwide street dog population estimated at 35 million and 20,000 human deaths per year from rabies transmitted by dog bites, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommends dog Animal Birth Control and Anti Rabies programs (ABC-AR) to control rabies in people.
The animal health camp is being initiated this year in support of the Government of India's active promotion of ABC-AR programs, said Kunsang Chungyalpa, press officer for the young head of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. "The WHO’s recent ‘One Health’ guidelines recommend an integrated approach to human health and animal health. This approach is particularly relevant in rural areas such as Bodhgaya where humans and animals live in close proximity and where animals constitute an important economic asset. Animal wellbeing is, therefore, important for rural households and human health," Chungyalpa said.
The Kagyupa International Monlam charitable trust was established in 2004 to support annual prayer gatherings for world peace, and to engage in other charitable activities. Over the years, the prayer gathering has grown both in size and scope, with over 10,000 people now traveling to Bodhgaya annually to engage in prayers for world peace. The trust also organizes medical camps and distributes food and blankets annually to the underprivileged.
The Kagyupa International Monlam Trust’s ten day medical camp for animals until Feb. 2 is jointly funded by Brigitte Bardot Foundation and technically supported by Sikkim Anti-Rabies Animal Health Division, Government of Sikkim and Tibet Charity Animal Care Centre and Dharamshala Animal Rescue organization.
Friday, 24 January 2014 13:32 The Tibet Post International
|The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Inaugurating a medical camp|
at Siddhartha Vihara, Bodhgaya, Bihar State
of India, on January 6, 2014. Photo: TPI
Bodhgaya, 22 January, 2014: - The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee has launched Animal Health Care Programme with Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi as Chief Guest, in Bodhgaya, Bihar State of India.
"For Buddhists, especially Mahayana practitioners, one of our greatest aims is to actually benefit sentient beings. It is important for us to serve and benefit all sentient beings of all groups without bias, without discriminating against who needs help on the basis of whether they are Buddhist or not, whether they are human or not, whether they are the same nationality or not, and so forth," Karmapa Rinpoche said.
For that reason, the Karmapa said, he "hopes and pray that in the future the Kagyu Monlam will do more programs to help the public."
"Following its successful medical camp for the needy held in Bodhgaya, Bihar, the Kagyupa International Monlam Trust is now opening an animal medical camp, as part of the health support offered to the local community," Karmapa Office of Administration said in press statement released on Friday, adding: "The Karmapa Rinpoche will formally inaugurate the animal camp on 24th January 2014, with Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi as chief guest. Member of Parliament Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi is well-known for her deep commitment to animal rights and animal protection."
"Inspired by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, the Kagyupa International Monlam Trust has committed to a multi-year animal health-care project, involving annual camps for treatment of all animals, sterilization of dogs and anti-rabies vaccination. With a nationwide street dog population estimated at 35 million dogs and 20,000 human deaths per year from rabies transmitted by dog bites, the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommends dog Animal Birth Control and Anti Rabies programs (ABC-AR) to control rabies in people," the Karmapa Office of Administration told The Tibet Post International.
According to the press release, the animal health camp is being initiated this year in support of the Government of India's active promotion of ABC-AR programs. "The WHO's recent 'One Health' guidelines recommend an integrated approach to human health and animal health. This approach is particularly relevant in rural areas such as Bodhgaya where humans and animals live in close proximity and where animals constitute an important economic asset. Animal wellbeing is, therefore, important for rural households and human health," it added.
Karmapa Office said that "the Kagyupa International Monlam charitable trust was established in 2004 to support annual prayer gatherings for world peace, and to engage in other charitable activities. Over the years, the prayer gathering has grown both in size and scope, with over 10,000 people now traveling to Bodhgaya annually to engage in prayers for world peace. The trust also organizes medical camps and distributes food and blankets annually to the underprivileged."
The press release also stated that "the animal health project will be formally inaugurated on 24th January 2014, at 11 a.m. at the Kagyu Monlam Pavilion, at Tergar Monastery in Bodhgaya. His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, will grace the event along with Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, who heads the 'People for Animals' organization that she established in 1992 and which is the largest animal welfare organization in India. "
The Kagyupa International Monlam Trust's medical camp for animals will take place from 22nd January 2013 to 2nd February 2014 with funding support from Brigitte Bardot Foundation and technical support from Sikkim Anti-Rabies Animal Health Division, Government of Sikkim and Tibet Charity Animal Care Centre and Dharamshala Animal Rescue organization.
A Mandala That Brings Happiness and Benefit to Animals: Inauguration of Extended Veterinarian Camp Programme in Bodhgaya
January 24, 2014
Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi was Chief Guest at the inauguration of this new initiative by Kagyupa International Monlam Trust aimed at alleviating the suffering of animals in Gaya District, Bihar, and thereby improving the health of the local human population too. Mrs. Gandhi has been a long-standing member of the Parliament serving as a minister in four Governments, and is renowned for her love and care for animals. During her political career she has worked to pass important legislation, including specific measures to protect the environment, to promote social welfare and to protect the rights of animals. She helped set up new institutions such as the National Zoo Authority and the Animal Welfare Board of India. She also runs her own animal sanctuary in the heart of New Delhi, named in honour of her late husband, Sanjay Gandhi. This sanctuary, established in 1983, is the largest of its kind in Asia and cares for 3000 animals at any one time.
The ceremony opened with a speech by Dr Catherine Schuetze, the veterinarian overseeing the project. Dr Schuetze spoke first of interconnectedness, a primary Buddhist concept, and how it was evidenced in the relationship between animal health and human welfare. Secondly, at the heart of Buddhism is compassion for all sentient beings, as expressed in the prayer “May all beings be happy”. This wish included animals. She reminded people that the great Mahatma Gandhi-ji supported caring for and protecting animals, and the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje had proved himself to be a strong advocate for protecting animals and the environment. She explained how a two-week camp was seen as insufficient. Hence, the decision had been reached to extend the project. In future, the veterinarian camp will be held annually in Bodhgaya. The camp was not limited to the ABC-AR programme, but included an outpatients department; out-reach programmes where the vets visited local panchayats; and an education programme aimed specifically at children to teach them how to avoid being bitten by dogs and how to prevent rabies. [Full text of Dr Schuetze’s speech]
Next at the podium was His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. When the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, His Holiness explained, “he realized that all sentient beings have the same value and their lives are all the same in worth”. This compassion for all sentient beings, moreover, could be seen as having its roots in “the ancient wisdom and compassion of India”. It was His Holiness’ great hope that the veterinarian camp would become
“a mandala or pure realm for bringing benefit and happiness to animals”.
“Humans have often treated animals badly. I have the great hope that we can decrease that, and that an understanding that animals are members of our family in this world can spread everywhere, “he concluded.[English translation of Gyalwang Karmapa’s speech]
Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi spoke of the occasion as “history in the making”. Expressing her deep respect for His Holiness, she said, “Every so many years one spiritual being in the form of a human comes to change history, to make religion more centred, to bring it to its original path, and I believe that Karmapa is amongst those beings who has come to help us realize ourselves.”
She then developed the theme that all forms of life are deeply connected with delightful images of a little ant yawning when she wakes up and a mouse laughing when it’s tickled. However, she introduced a new perspective by reminding people that if they believed in reincarnation, they had a vested interest in protecting animals and improving their living conditions. “I have been a tree, I have been a donkey, I have been a dog, I have been a horse, I have been a snail, I’ve been a fish,” she proclaimed. Who knew what they might be next life? So, looking after the welfare of animals was a form of enlightened self-interest. But more than that, it was self-evident that the welfare and happiness of animals was intrinsically linked with the welfare of humans. “We need to understand we are them, they are us,“ she declared. “I believe that if we are going to make the world a better place for humans, then we have to make it a better place for every living being.” Enthusiastic applause confirmed that her audience supported her views. [Full text of Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi’s speech]
The next speaker was one of the veterinarians, Dr Thinley, from the SARAH programme in Sikkim, who gave an overview of this programme, its scientific and ethical bases, and its success. Speaking from the heart, he admonished everyone, “Animals have been associated with and benefited humankind for thousands of years. We are very selfish indeed. We forget that these speechless creatures have served human kind without expecting anything in return and we don’t really care for their welfare and wellness.” [Full text of Dr Thinlay’s speech]
Finally, Lama Chodrak, CEO of the Kagyupa International Monlam Trust spoke briefly, thanking everybody for their support and appreciation of this new venture in Bodhgaya.
The Chief Guest and His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, accompanied by Guest-of-Honour Sri. Namzey Dorjee, secretary of the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee, and other VIPs then trudged across the field, now much drier than the muddy morass left by heavy rain a few days ago, to the tented area of the Animal Camp, where they were able to meet the vets and para-vets, and watch them in action.
Other VIP guests at the event included Shyamdeo Paswan, Member of the Legislative Assembly, Prem Kumar, former minister and present Member of the Legislative Assembly of Gaya, and HariManjhi, Member of Parliament.
January 24, 2014
A very good morning to one and all! Respected Your Holiness, Madam Maneka Ji, istinguished guests, ladies and gentleman:
At the outset, let me have a privilege to extend my sincere gratitude to the organising committee for having given me a chance to deliver a talk on animal welfare, the importance of animals and an holistic approach towards the prevention and control of rabies and the stray dog population, including the various initiatives of the Sikkim Govt. on this aspect. The Sikkim Govt. is the only government division in the whole of India to implement a holistic, long-term and sustainable animal welfare and public health initiative. This kind of activity embodies the basic Buddhist principles of loving kindness and compassion.
Where such a programme is being organized is an historic moment for Bihar and the whole of India. It is an apt moment for this holy place where real Buddhism and the teachings of the Buddha will be practiced in a real sense by alleviating the pain and suffering of animals.
We believe that people and animals are intrinsically linked and seek to be an advocate for the relief of the suffering and distress of animals, thereby improving the welfare of animals and humans alike.
Based on human moral values and ethics, if people start caring, loving and showing compassionate feelings to all sentient beings, whether human beings or animals, then we will have a positive mind, positive attitude and positive thinking. Once we have that feeling then the overall human situation will improve as people become more peaceful and progressive. Peace and tranquillity will prevail, and these are the cornerstones of state development and progress. The various human poisons under Buddhism such as desire, anger etc will be sublimated due to the feeling of loving kindness and compassion.
I will talk briefly about the importance of animals:
Animals have been associated with and benefited humankind for thousands of years. We are very selfish indeed. We forget that these speechless creatures have served human kind without expecting anything in return and we don’t really care for their welfare and wellness.
Especially the street-dogs and cats. Both of these are vital components of the ecosystem, helping to maintain a proper ecological balance. They guard the streets against predatory wildlife such as wild-boar and bear and thus minimise human-wildlife conflict. They control the numbers of rats, mice and other vermin which can spread diseases to humans. Dogs also provide great service to us in the police, army and in medical therapy. They can also be valuable, beloved pets. We do not really appreciate their contribution and importance to society. We always think that we are superior and do not bother to think of their wellbeing and welfare.
- A cow is the biggest asset for a marginalised farmer
- · The importance of wild-life
What Does SARAH Do?
SARAH works in animal welfare, public health and wildlife conservation. It primarily performs animal birth control surgeries, systematic rabies vaccinations of dogs and cats, and provides care and treatment to sick and injured animals. By performing these activities, we feel that Sikkim becomes a better place to live in.
On Animal Welfare activities:
We are making people aware of various rules and laws relating to animal welfare. We advocate people not to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on these voiceless creatures. They have an equal right to live and are an important part of our complex ecosystem. We all should know how to co-exist together.
Avoiding inflicting pain and suffering on animals is the right thing to do. But there are also other benefits. Teaching children to care and love animals teaches a good moral value. Minimising the pain and suffering of animals in food production, ensures better productivity, and good quality food. Good quality food leads to better nutrition, which leads to better public health.
On Public Health initiatives:
As we know Rabies is a disease of antiquity and one of the most lethal and gruesome disease. It is mostly transmitted from dogs to people. It creates a huge financial burden. The World Health Organisation endorses the ABC-AR approach.
The Importance of “One World one Heath Approach”
There is a concept of One World One Health – the health of people, animals, and the environment is closely inter-related. Until we have Environmental and Animal health, we can’t have good public health.
The Importance of various Animal Welfare laws and Animal Birth Control- Anti-Rabies
I would like to express on behalf of the this Animal Medical Camp sincere gratitude to Kagyupa Monlam International Trust and the main sponsor- Brigitte Bardot Fondation- for making this programme a successful.
Let us live in harmony with all of nature. Mother Nature is so bountiful and kind. There is a place for everyone. But there is no place for cruelty and violence.
January 24, 2014
Respected Your Holiness Karmapa, Rinpoches and people who’ve come from all over the world for His Holiness’s teachings, I’m happy to come here because I know I can see history in the making. Every so many years one spiritual being in the form of a human comes to change history, to make religion more centred, to bring it to its original path and I believe that Karmapa is amongst those beings who has come to help us realize ourselves.
When an ant sleeps at night it makes a little pillow and it sleeps like this. When she gets up in the morning, the first thing she does is yawn and……..if you tickle a mouse it will also do hee hee hee.
When an elephant dies, the other elephants come for four days and they mourn that dead elephant. We also have a four day ceremony. You take any animal, when a dog’s babies are run over in front of the mother, she cries and cries and cries.
There is no difference, the soul, the atman, the essence is the same. But we who believe in incarnation, I do not love animals, I love myself, and I see myself in every animal, and I feel scared [because] we are due for incarnation all the time. I have been a tree, I have been a donkey, I have been a dog, I have been a horse, I have been a snail, I’ve been a fish. Who knows what I will be next time, so why do I not make preparation for my next time? And that is the only reason why I work for animals, because I am the animal, I am the tree, I am the air.
How do you talk to God and say, “Help me!” when you are the eaten yourself? Any animal you eat is a form of cannibalism, because there is nothing different. The cells are the same, everything is the same. Therefore, cannibalism is one of the reasons for all our diseases. We need to understand we are them, they are us. I believe that if we are going to make the world a better place for humans, then we have to make it a better place for every living being.
And that is why I am so happy that we have His Holiness the Karmapa, who has changed the Kagyu thought, who has turned many thousands and thousands of people vegetarian.
Bodhgaya has been the centre of so much enlightening thought. Till today there has been no animal welfare provided for in Bihar because nobody thought about it, but today we are thinking about it.
Today we have the ex-Urban Development Minister, the Health Minister, the local Mayoress, the MLA.
We have so many. We have the spokesman of the Chief Minister, we have so many wonderful people who have come here. I hope that today’s camp, which is going to be of a long duration, is the beginning of all animal welfare in Bihar. I will certainly work towards it and I hope that all of you [will too].
[India is] an ancient culture, an ancient civilization,
I wish the camp all well.
I would like to thank Catherine for introducing me to His Holiness and changing my life, and, hopefully, through us changing so many other lives. And I would like to thank Gangkar Rinpoche, whose guest I was in Chauntra, and all the other Rinpoches, and enlightened souls who are here
January 24, 2014
As all of you know, over 2500 years ago, the Buddha awoke to perfect enlightenment here in Bodh Gaya and after he awoke to enlightenment he realized that all sentient beings have the same value and their lives are all the same in worth. And so, in that way, he made the aspiration that there may be happiness and love and well-being for all animals; we all need to strive to bring this about.
Now, this is something which came from the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha, but we can also say that this is the ancient wisdom and compassion of India, so here now we are following in those footsteps in establishing this animal medical camp here. This is one small thing that we are doing for their sake, and I am very happy that we are taking this opportunity. So I would also like to thank all of the workers at this camp.
As you all know, Bodhgaya is the sacred place where the Bhagavan Buddha awoke to enlightenment, and has become a source of wisdom and compassion. I have the hope that in this day it may become a mandala or pure realm for bringing benefit and happiness to animals.
There are many local dignitaries and officials who have come here today, and I would like to ask you as well to take up this call. In particular, Maneka Gandhi has taken a great interest in animal welfare. I have been to see her shelter for animal protection, and she has done wonderful work there. I hope that this work can spread all over India, and that we can respect the lives and freedom of animals.
Humans have often treated animals badly. I have the great hope that we can decrease that, and that an understanding that animals are members of our family in this world can spread everywhere.
January 24, 2014
Thank you. It is an honour to be here and to be involved in the Kagyu Monlam animal health program. On behalf of the veterinary team I would like to thank His Holiness for the opportunity he has given us to carry out this animal health program.
There are strong connections between Buddhism and veterinary public health. The first is the Buddhist principle of interdependence. Amongst health care professionals, there is a growing awareness of the interconnectedness of animal and human health. 75% of global emerging diseases of concern are zoonotic, that is, they are spread between animals and humans. TB and rabies are good examples of this. The World Health Organisation promotes a “One Health” approach to its own programs- improving human and animal health are equally necessary to tackle community health problems. Without providing adequate health care and vaccination to the animal populations, you cannot control the disease in the human populations. Therefore the program we are inaugurating today is equally for the benefit of the people in this community as it is for the animals.
The second connection between Buddhism and programs like this is compassion for all sentient beings. May they all equally be free from suffering. His Holiness has spoken on this many times and is a strong advocate of a vegetarian lifestyle, free from violence towards those sentient beings. Mahatma Gandhi also said A nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals. There are a vast number of Indian animal welfare organisations and work being done throughout India. This is due to Indians great compassion for animals as evidenced by the vast numbers of vegetarians. India is therefore a great nation. Mrs Gandhi has been championing that cause for such a long time and has made the most significant impact on animal welfare and rights of anyone, anywhere. She is always there to help anybody who is working for animals, big or small, rich or poor, despite their religion, caste or socio-economic status. We applaud her for that and thank her heartily for gracing us with her presence today.
His Holiness is also a strong advocate for animals and the environment. It is therefore very fitting that the Kagyu Monlam’s social work program be extended to include Animal Health Camps. We recognise that while a single two-week camp will help many individual animals, it will not improve the overall health and welfare situation for animals of Bodhgaya in the long term. Therefore today is the inauguration of a long-term project where the veterinary team will return each Kagyu Monlam for several years and continue the work started this week.
The program has several arms. The first and most technical is the surgical desexing and anti-rabies vaccination program. This is the only humane way to control the roaming dog population and rabies deaths in animal and humans. Health benefits for the whole community come through reducing dog numbers and the incidence of dog bites and rabies infections. It also allows the veterinarians to treat other health problems like skin disease, cancers, wounds and fractures. Research studies have shown that in areas where these programs are carried out, there are significant improvements to the animal health and also a reduction in the numbers of dog bites and rabies deaths in humans. It is therefore a very important part of this initiative and will build onto the significant achievements already made by the local NGO MAITRI who have been carrying on this work for many years now.
The second wing of the Kagyu Monlam program is the out patients clinic where every animal, large or small, is treated and given free medicine. So far we have seen many buffalo, cows, goats, dogs and other animals brought in for urgent treatment. This will soon extend to an outreach program and the vets will travel from panchayat to panchayat dispensing medicines and advice in equal measure.
The third wing is community education about animal diseases, welfare and the compassionate and responsible care of animals under their care. For example, we will be teaching children how to avoid being bitten by dogs, and what steps to take to prevent rabies in the case of a dog bite injury. Children are the ones most at risk from rabies through dog bites and so this is lifesaving training.
This is a brief overview of the programs aims and objectives. The team of dedicated volunteer animal health care professionals from Sikkim and Dharamsala include vets, vet-aides cum dog-catchers and kennel hands. Many monks are also chipping in to lend a hand and have proven to be quite good at catching dogs and also are very kind with them. The team will be returning each Kagyu Monlam for the next few years and we hope you will come and visit again. Thank you.