release, or "tsethar" in Tibetan, is a Buddhist practice
of saving lives within both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist tradition.
By buying animals who are destined to be killed and releasing them
in their native environments, life release puts compassion into
action. Unfortunately, most of the time we hardly realize that as
human beings we have this precious opportunity.
Although every life is precious, the process of living inevitably
causes us to take the lives of other living beings. We cannot completely
prevent this situation because as long as we walk, breathe, eat,
and so forth, we cause the deaths of many creatures. However we
can cultivate mindfulness, and try to reduce taking lives to the
best of our ability. We can also offer a gift of life and protection
through the practice of Life Release. No matter what our lifestyle
is, we can do this practice. It benefits those who offer the gift
of life as well as those who receive it. And regardless of the religion
we practice, its results will be strengthened if the practice is
conducted with an aspiration that all beings without exception enjoy
happiness and a life free from any harm.
In Buddhism the practice has two aspects: 1. The act of saving lives,
2. The blessing of the prayers that accompany life release. Specific
practice instructions can be found at Kagyu.org,
source of the above text. For more information on tsethar, please
see also the page on Chatral