Yesterday night, while taking a stroll near the river, we saw a man catch a ‘tortoise’. I went up to him to inform him that there is a sign that fishing is prohibited & asked him to release it back into the river. He explained to us that it was a turtle and can be a good tonic brew. He then got on his bicycle and rode away. We thought that was the end of it and that he was going home triumphantly with his catch. Unable to do anything else, we walked away.
However, with lots of unease, we decided to walk further down to find the man. We wanted to try and convince the man to release the tortoise. Alas, we found the same man trying to catch some more tortoise! I urged him to release it back to the river and yet, he insist that it was a turtle. He then got on his bicycle and rode away. My daughter could not stand it anymore as the tortoises would be killed so she called the number on the signboard nearby. She spoke to the officer and let them know of the situation that happened. The person on the phone answered that he would let the person in charge of the area know and to step up security. As the man had already took off, sending officers down might not be able to solve anything.
My daughter was distraught thinking that she could have done more, like blocking the man from escaping until help arrived. However, the man could have easily overpowered and hurt us. So what more could we have done?
Suggestions on how we could handle the situation better knowing sentient beings lives would be taken while the man seems to go scot free?
Thank you @SharonLim for the sharing.
I have also observed myself getting affected and in some cases even angry when I feel that my advice is not heeded - happens most often with my immediate family members.
I would be thinking to myself that these people whom I am trying to help are committing bad karma, harming themselves and others.
After calming myself, I also wonder how I could have done things differently to get a different outcome (that I would have preferred).
I am thus grateful that similar questions were discussed in my Lamrim class.
My 班长 then had shared that in most cases, our abilities to convince others to take on virtuous action may be limited. Or the person that we are helping may be too immersed in his own afflictions.
I also reflected that many of the sages of past had their advice ignored and their good intentions scorned.
So what more I with my limited practice.
This helped me to look at the people that I had tried to help with a bit more understanding and compassion.
What I could then do is to further my studies and gather more merits. Maybe in time, my abilities will grow and I will be better able to convince and help others.
Going through the situation again, I would ask myself a few questions:
- Am I trying to help the tortoise/turtle only? Or am I trying to help the man that is about to cause harm to another sentient being?
- Am I being filled with some righteous anger because the man is clearing flouting the law or am I aware of my own mental state when trying to do good?
- Am I being compassionate about the man or I am wishing that he will be caught and punished?
- Am I fixated on seeing the outcome or am I working on the cause (因)?