Each year at the end of the lobster season, the monastic and lay community of Gampo Abbey, with the financial support of many donors around the world, purchase the last catch of lobsters from one of the Pleasant Bay lobster fisherman and release the caught lobsters back into the water.
Note: In 2013, the Lobster Release will take place on July 4.
"Life Release" — in which captive animals destined to be eaten are, instead, released back into their native habitats — is a traditional practice for Tibetan Buddhists, especially monastics. The most obvious benefits of the practice are for the sentient beings whose lives are being saved, but it also serves to strengthen the individual practitioner and the sangha as a whole, and to establish an important link with the local environment and culture.
Gampo Abbey has become a respected part of Cape Breton and open curiosity has developed around the activities of the monastery. The annual Lobster Release, while taking root in the local culture, has served as a powerful means for the residents and donors of Gampo Abbey to connect with this ancient Bodhisattva activity of saving the lives of sentient beings. Each year the Abbey raises funds to support the Lobster Release.
You can support our annual Lobster Release by making a tax-deductible donation through the Supporting Gampo Abbey page (select "Lobster Release Fund" under the Gift Designation menu) or you can call our finance office at 902-224-1358 (Mon-Fri, 1:30-5:00 pm Atlantic Time). We can provide you with a receipt upon request.
Lobster Release 2012
On June 30, 2012, after the lobster traps had been removed for the season, Abbey residents and friends from the local sangha in Cape Breton traveled by boat out into the Gulf of St Lawrence to below the cliffs at Gampo Abbey to release the lobsters.
As in years past, the Abbey lobster release took place from Captain Mark Timmons whale watching boat. We boarded the boat in the Pleasant Bay harbour about 8 km (5 miles) from the Abbey.
Boarding the boat in beautiful Pleasant Bay harbour
Heading out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence
Approaching our spot below the cliff where Gampo Abbey and
the Söpa Chöling retreat center are perched
At our spot
We read The Essence of
and Joy: A Method for the Saving of Lives,
by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye prior to releasing the
We have more than 200 pounds of lobsters, approximately 100 live lobster to release
The lobsters are released back into the water
Captain Mark Timmons describes life on the Gulf