May all beings have free physical lives
for freely furthering their spiritual lives.
Buy animals that are definitely going to be slaughtered and keep them in large containers. The animals can be large or small; larger animals experience more suffering when killed. Be careful of the relationship between the animals to ensure that you do not place together an animal and its natural predator. Place the containers close to the point of release and keep them shaded from the hot sun. The place for releasing the animals should be safe from natural predators, and you should not release animals that are prey and predator at the same place.
Be mindful of the condition of the animals you are liberating. For those that might not survive long, it is best to bless a bucket of water before going to the place where the animals will be released. When you arrive at the place of release, carry the animals around the altar as many times as possible at the very beginning, before the chanting of prayers and mantras, in case some of the animals die. Some of the fish might die because if are piled up on top of each other and cannot breathe. If the circumambulations are done immediately, even if some of the animals die before release, they will have purified negative karma and created many causes of enlightenment, liberation from samsara, and good rebirth. If the circumambulations have been done, you don’t need to feel so much regret if some of the animals die while you are reciting mantras, blessing the water, or doing the prayers.
Generate the motivation, recite a few mantras and blow on the animals or sprinkle them with blessed water. Then quickly release the ones that are having difficulties. You can recite more mantras and prayers before liberating the animals that are in good condition. It is important to check the condition of the animals because otherwise the weak animals may die before thy can be released. Be careful not to cause any additional harm to the animals.
Ultimate Healing: The Power of Compassion
by Lama Zopa Rinpoche