After a personal experience of ‘auspicious coincidence’ when five bulls appeared to seek refuge from the slaughterhouse at Jangsa Dechen Choling Monastery in Kalimpong, India, Lama Kunzang Dorjee established Jangsa Animal Saving Trust in 2000. So was Jangsa born.
The founder, Lama Kunzang Dorjee Rinpoche, was born in 1970 into the sacred Nyo lineage of Gyalwang Lhanangpa, is the head Lama of the Jangsa Dechen Choling Monastery in Kalimpong, India. Lama also heads Lhundrup Dechenling Monastery in Eastern Bhutan, and Pema Yoedling Monastery in Southern Bhutan.
The trust was established with the blessing from spiritual patronage of Their Holiness Kyabje Chadral Rinpoche and the 70th Je Khenpo, Trulku Jigme Choeda.
Jangsa, which received National Award of Merit (gold) on the National Day from the His Majesty in 2016, is a non-government organisation engaged in the spiritual practice of Tshethar – ‘saving of animals lives,’ and actively involved in all fields of animal welfare.
The team rescues sick and injured animals, provide medical intervention and care, and maintains animals in shelters, sanctuaries and pasturelands in Bhutan and India. Over 5,270 animals lives were saved in 2016 according to the record maintained by the office in Thimphu and 233 stray dogs were rescued and provided critical care services. These animals include cattle, pigs, goats and birds.
Lama Kunzang Dorjee Rinpoche said Tsethar, as a skillful method, employs the universal and unifying love for animals felt by all that transcends race, culture, religion and all boundaries. “As a spiritual practice, even the Buddha and innumerable enlightened saints from the ages have all expounded Tsethar as a supremely meritorious practice,” Lama said. “Tsethar establishes the powerful conditions for an auspicious national culture in keeping with our hallowed ethos as a sacred Dharmic kingdom.”
The Trust today has a dog shelter in Thimphu, 11 animals’ sanctuaries in eight districts, one fishpond each in Gelephu and in Kalimpong, India. Jangsa animal shelter in Serbithang alone has rescued 8,976 animals, which most were sick dogs.
The trust is entirely run based on the contribution.
Lama Kunzang Dorjee said challenge is an opportunity and with disturbing trends, Jangsa’s philosophy, mission and activities acquire more urgency and relevance.
“Almost all Bhutanese in the present oppose slaughterhouses deeply, and enlightened lamas, leaders and people in past have all vehemently opposed all forms of killing,” Lama said. “So this is a tragic development in our auspicious history as a dharma nation.”
A volunteer can reach the trust through www.jangsaanimalsaving.org and get registered as volunteer.
“Anyone can and must contribute to individually shape our collective destiny. Not everyone can make a financial contribution but everyone can donate time, energy or whatever resources at ones disposal,” Lama said.
Activities under Jangsa
Jangsa rescues animals that are bound for slaughter. The team usually receives calls from people who voluntarily want to release animal on tshethar or volunteers bring the animals on tshethar. When the team gets a call, they facilitate including the transportation.
Maintaining Animal Sanctuaries
The trust today maintains about 600 bulls, 300 yaks, 137 pigs, 23 sheep, 300 goats and 80 dogs across 10 dzongkhags in about 22 sanctuaries with the 17 caretakers to attend to and look after the animals. The animals rescued on tshethar are sheltered in the sanctuaries.
Animal rescue/mobile clinic
With urbanisation and increasing number of vehicles, there are increasing cases of cars running over street dogs and other animals, which according to the team report, results in severe and critical injuries. This is where the Jangsa comes in to save the animals and have mobalised a mobile clinic van that serves the purpose. The van also rescues severely injured and sick animals to veterinary to ensure critical medical treatment and care on time.
The Jangsa receives about five emergency calls in a month, has served more than 300 dogs from severe injuries and about 500 dogs for minor injuries and diseases in the last two and a half years.
Jangsa also takes care of about 90 handicapped dogs at the Serbithang animal shelter on a permanent basis.
Awareness, Advocacy and Promotion
Jangsa advocate vegetarianism in union with the vast view of Bodhicitta as a spiritual path with manifold benefits – to ones consciousness, health, global ecology, world poverty and hunger, climate change and all related interdependent truths.
Over 50,000 people including public servants, teachers and students in 20 districts participated in our ‘Path of peace’ awareness and advocacy campaign.
The trust also has an activity called Jangsem Monday, which is not initiated but supported by Jangsa as one of their mandates to involve all sections of society in upholding their auspicious legacy as a sacred dharma kingdom in these degenerate times, Lama said.
It is to create the environs of active ‘Compassion in Action’ in the Kingdom through the method of universal love for animals to ultimately inculcate the realization of Bodhicitta in all sentient beings.
1. promote compassionate treatment of all sentient beings, care for rescued animals and conduct Tsethar- the spiritual practice of saving lives.
2. Inspire people to treat animals more compassionately.
3. To promote education and learning, thereby fostering an enlightened and happy society in Bhutan.
4. Work with relevant stakeholders towards a stable dog population, healthy and rabies free Bhutan, and all programs related to providence of comprehensive well being to all animals in the Kingdom.
To collectively engage younger generation, communities, private organizations and religious and government institutions in the ethos of ‘Compassion in Action’ and Bodhicitta.
Yangchen C Rinzin