Buddhists Free Lobsters Off Gloucester, Lobstermen Recapture Them

GLOUCESTER (CBS) – Do you believe in Karma? Some local lobstermen were either the beneficiaries of good Karma or they were testing Karma’s hands.

Last week, 534 lobsters got a second chance at life, thanks to a group of Tibetan Buddhists. But that freedom turned out to be short-lived.

The group purchased the lobsters from a local seafood wholesaler, took them out on a whale-watching boat, blessed the crustaceans and set them free.

WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez reports

They chose the Tibetan holiday Wheel Turning Day, a day where Karma for positive actions is multiplied many times over.

Wendy Cook, a yoga instructor and former director at the Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies in Medford was on the expedition.

She told WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez that it wouldn’t even matter if the lobsters were recaptured.

“Even if they get captured again, they’ve had a longer life,” she said.

The blog Good Morning Gloucester says the crew of the Gloucester-based Degelyse benefited from that good deed.

They received the coordinates of where the lobsters were released, then went out “and caught exactly 534 lobsters, the precise number the monks released” the next day.

The crew “would like to personally thank the Buddhist Monks who released (the) lobsters,” the blog post read.

“Thank you and come again next year Mr. Buddhist monks, we would like to invite you back again and again to purchase our lobsters and ‘restock the pond.’”

The blogger, who was not a crew member, did clarify an obvious fact to WBZ-TV; the likelihood that the fishermen caught the same lobsters that were released is little to none. He also noted that the crew spends long grueling days and weeks at a time on the high seas and that their tongue-in-cheek video was an attempt to have a little fun and pass the time.

The video, posted on YouTube, was met with mixed emotions.

In a Facebook post by members of the Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies, the fishermen were referred to as “acting out of delusion, ignorance and self-cherishing, and creating heavy negative karma in the process.”

However, in a post on YouTube from a person claiming to be one of the organizers of the lobster liberation event, argued that the lobstermen were the beneficiaries of the lobsters’ good karma.

“This is the lobster’s karma, and it is all the more reason to rejoice in the positive imprints we were able to offer them.”

WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez contributed to this report

  • adarc

    Enviromentally, this is a very stupid thing to do. While it may indeed have allowed some lobsters to escape. There is no guarantee that the lobsters they released were from the area they were released into. Which means they also could have released disease and parasites that are not currently a problem in the release area. Seriously, if you want help animals, at least bother to get the help of a biologist.

  • dms

    Lobster liberation? What a bunch of wackos.

  • Tsultrim_D

    To be clear on the Kurukulla Center quote pulled from Facebook… As Buddhists, we believe that all of us are acting out of ignorance, delusions and self-cherishing minds, at least most of the time. To say the fishermen are acting out of these minds is not an insult or a judgment, just a reflection on how we understand reality. Anytime any one of us acts in a way that has a negative intention, be it mean spirited, confused, or anything like this, it is from such a negative or confused mind. No judgment, we are all doing the best we can do…

  • http://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/ Joey C

    I’ll take responsibility

    I was wrong to assume that because I predominantly write our hyperlocal blog for our Cape Ann residents that people would understand how preposterous the notion that you could have time to move all the lobster gear even if they knew where the lobsters were released and to set it and for those lobsters which were probably miles away from that location would ever get caught.

    I was obviously wrong and people did not understand with the outlandishness of it all that it was a joke.

    It’s on me.

    What I am happy for is that the releasing of the lobster story which would have been a simple story largely forgotten by now has gotten huge legs and all the positives of Buddhism are highlighted. For that I am grateful.

    For those of you who would like to learn more about Chokhor Duchen click to find out.

  • was hungry

    this wouldn’t work with a ham salad sandwich

  • Ed Dracut

    This is too funny.


    If these monks really wanted to do some good wih their “karma” there are a lot of hungry kids and people all over Abetter idea would be to donate the food to a shelter or food kitchen
    It’s not religion to throw away food desperate people could use and even thank (GOD BUDDHA MOHAMMED OR ANY DEITY FOR)

    • urdumb

      Too bad crankyturd but not everyone thinks that is food

  • Ed Finlay

    Must have been expensive. Whatever spins your prayer wheel..

  • fred

    i heard a similar story that happened afew years ago – a PETA type preson took it upon themself to purchase and release some lobsters but she forgot to remove the rubber bands so they probably all starved to death.

  • Randy

    Well isn’t that special……….. those lobsters were given a “second chance” at life.

    Sorry to all the hungry kiddies maybe someday you’ll be blessed too!!

  • jaygee

    Wendy Cook is still happy because the lobsters got to live longer. Wendy, what can a lobster do with an extra day or two before it’s eaten? What’s next for these world changers, perhaps a trip to Cedar Junction where they can make a hole in the wall and let 500 convicts loose. These people need a check-up from the neck up.

    • Kodi98

      Why do you care? Did the release of these lobsters have any affect on your life? Releasing convicts and lobsters are two very different things and making that comparison shows your ignorance. What can you do with an extra day or two, have six extra meals and post 20 ignorant comments? I say we just drop you in the boiling water now.

  • teremist

    I am willing to adopt as many lobsters as the monks feel moved to send me. Just let me know when, so I can fire up the grill.

  • http://seriouslyguys.com/2011/08/10/turn-around-is-fair-play/ Turn-around IS fair play | SeriouslyGuys

    […] A group of lobstermen (they’re human, not a horrific half arthropod, half man hybrid) then cau… […]

  • kittypenny

    So many rude people and their comments…sit behind your computer hiding, slinging negative comments and its you who I feel sorry for. Why arent you going out and doing something you believe in instead of mocking other peoples beliefs.

  • Sandpeep

    Actually I was involved in a study of “Ghost traps” – those traps that are lost but continue to harvest lobsters – when the captured lobster dies, another lobster goes in there to eat him, and the cycle continues. One thing that came up is there is a certain pobulation that just refused to go into a trap (always enough lobsters left free to reproduce, so, combined with a minimum size limit, it’s almost impossible to overfish lobsters (and crabs for the same reason) So there’s a good chance that if that particulr lobster went into a trap once, it will again.

  • Rosie

    This is the kind of stuff Rick James must of been thinking about when he wrote “Super Freak”

  • http://www.chileunderground.com/2011/09/27/a-salmagundi-of-savory-silliness/ A Salmagundi of Savory Silliness | Chile Underground

    […] From time to time, Tibetan Buddhists inadvertently support the seafood industry with campaigns of "liberation" of living beings. In August, a Buddhist group purchased 534 lobsters from a Gloucester, Mass., wholesaler, sprayed them with holy water, clipped off their claw bindings, and released them into the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, the lobsters were almost certainly re-caught by Gloucester lobstermen… […]

  • http://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/southern-california-inshore-islands-fishing-reports/500759-mdr-bait-buddhist-2.html#post3158118 MDR Bait and Buddhist - Page 2

    […] […]

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