Tibetan Buddhist Center will bless animals of all sizes

The Tibetan Buddhist Center for Universal Peace (Do Ngak Kunphen Ling — DNKL), which recently co-hosted the Dalai Lama’s visit to Connecticut, will host an Animal Blessing under the spiritual direction of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa on Saturday, May 18, from 1:30 to 3 (rain date is Sunday, May 19) on the former Maurice Pate Estate (first UNICEF executive director), 30 Putnam Park Road.

People of all faiths are invited to join the Animal Blessing.  Throughout the nation and world, animal blessings are observed by animal lovers of all beliefs, nationalities and backgrounds in churches, temples and synagogues.

The guest speaker, Dr. Lucy H. Spelman, returns to her Connecticut roots to share this special occasion. Dr. Spelman grew up in West Redding on an old dairy farm with a menagerie of animals. She is a veterinarian board-certified in zoological medicine — one of 150 in the world. Her patients have included giant pandas in China, Asian elephants in Burma, giant river otters in Guyana, and mountain gorillas in Rwanda. She has worked as a zoo vet, zoo director (Smithsonian National Zoological Park), wildlife vet (Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project), and media consultant (Animal Planet.) She is also a writer and educator with a keen interest in exploring new ways to use the arts to communicate and interpret the idea that “the health of everything is connected.”

Dr. Spelman currently teaches biology to art and design students at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, and treats a variety of patients as the exotics specialist at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in East Greenwich, R.I.  She also serves on two nonprofit boards: the Karanambu Trust in Guyana, South America, and the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island.

In 2008, Dr. Spelman published her first work, The Rhino with Glue-on Shoes, a collection of 28 short stories; her contribution gives the book its name. In October 2012, she published her second book in collaboration with the National Geographic Children’s Book Division, a new edition of The National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia.

Visitors to the Animal Blessing will see a great variety of animals, including horses, goats, guinea pigs, and dogs. The blessings, conducted by the resident Tibetan Buddhist monks, focus on the teachings of Buddha, which are rooted in compassion. In this light, Tibetan Buddhist prayers will be distributed for the attendees to read along with the Tibetan monks. The ceremony will begin with a prayer to generate immeasurable love, generosity and compassion for all beings.

The Animal Blessing will include prayers for the protection, health, long life, and future path to liberation for the animals. Join the blessing and activities for the whole family, including games, crafts, petting zoo, drawing for animal grooming, CDs, books, toys, and gift certificates.

For more information, go online to dnkldharma.org.

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