Following series of medical interventions, Dorji decided to seek spiritual way out when his daughter continued to suffer from an illness.
He approached a Buddhist master. Of several initiatives prescribed, Dorji was asked to carry out a tsethar, which literally translated to “releasing a life”.
Upon getting in touch with one of the animal saving organisations, Dorji was given different rates for rescue of different animals. He picked a goat that cost Nu 3,000. Next day, Dorji was sent a picture of the goat and was told that he saved the goat from near slaughter. The feeling, he said, was more than gratifying.
The power of tsethar is such. Life release, as termed, is a traditional Buddhist practice of saving beings headed for early, unnatural death. The practice helps in cultivating non-violence and compassion, a core theme of Buddhism.
Like Dorji, many embrace tsethar when situations arise, like illness, or during auspicious days. Animals, destined to be killed, are directly bought from slaughter houses or fishermen and released into natural settings.
According to a practitioner, the concept revolved around the fact that in recognising that every life is precious, the practice of life release encouraged one to reduce harming beings, how much ever possible.
A Centre for Bhutan Studies paper states that in a broad sense, tsethar encompassed saving every life form, including vegetation. It was considered virtuous to protect environment that was favourable for living beings to thrive.
It is said the noble action not only expunge the sufferings of the animals saved but also helps one gain merit that benefits this life and beyond. People often practice tsethar with aspirations to avert factors that cut short ones longevity.
As for Dorji, in weaving tsethar practice in his daily habit, a practitioner advised him that it would be ideal to turn vegetarian. In doing so, he said even if he could not go out and save animals from being killed, he could do his part of avoiding intentional harming.
Today, Dorji is in his third year of vegetarianism and his daughter is living a healthy life.
Picture: Dilgo Yangsi performing tsethar, Internet sourced