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Monks Buy Hundreds Of Lobsters And Put Them Back In The Ocean

A handful of monks chartered a fishing boat over the weekend and set off from Canada's east coast on an unlikely mission of compassion ... for crustaceans.

The monks, from the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, had spent the days before their expedition in local seafood markets, buying as many lobsters as they could find.

On Saturday, they hauled more than 600 pounds of live lobsters aboard the boat.

The elastic bands that held countless claws in check were carefully removed. The monks recited a brief prayer over their writhing cargo.

And then, the lobsters were dropped back into the sea.

For these monks, it wasn't about making a statement about what people should eat.

Liberating these lobsters sent a much broader message, reminding people to be kind to every living creature - human or dog or crustacean alike.

"This whole purpose for us is to cultivate this compassion toward others," one of the monks, Venerable Dan, told CBC News. "It doesn't have to be lobsters, it can be worms, flies, any animals; drive slower so we don't run over little critters on the street."

Call it Zen and the art of empathy maintenance. Sometimes, we all could use a reminder.

"It's rethinking the way you normally see these creatures," participant Victoria Fan told Reuters. "You're supposed to view them equally. Their happiness is as important as your happiness, their suffering is as important as your suffering."

It wouldn't be the first time we've seen people go to extraordinary lengths for lobsters. In June, a Canadian woman shipped a single supermarket lobster 2,000 miles to return him to the ocean.

These dedicated men and women - and their labor of lobster - remind us that just caring a little bit about the littlest creatures can give us all a world of inspiration.

"We believe if everybody's able to do that," Venerable Dan tells CBC, "it will become a better place, a more harmonic place."