Lama Zopa Rinpoche went to a horse sanctuary one day during his stay at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Pomaia, a village in the Tuscan region of Italy. The sanctuary, called Aquila Nera, rescues race horse from being put to death and offers them a safe place to live out their lives.
When Rinpoche visited in late-October, twenty-five horses were living there. Rinpoche visited because he very much wanted to bless the horses. Aquila Nera’s director, Davide Bassi, is a kind of horse whisperer and has a very sympathetic relationship with the sanctuary horses. During Rinpoche’s visit, Davide, using a few quiet words, called the horses to come. They rushed over and encircled Rinpoche.
With piqued ears, the horses listened attentively as Rinpoche recited mantras and texts such as the Three Principal Aspects of the Path and the Heart Sutra. After about a half hour, the horses began to drift away. They were also all blessed with a Padmasambhava relic and Rinpoche’s mantra wheel.
“It was very special day,” said Ven. Holly Ansett, who witnessed the interaction between the horses and Rinpoche. “I was quite moved by it.”
During Rinpoche’s visit to Pomaia in 2014, he went to the sanctuary to bless the horses and offered money for a small stupa that was placed in the sanctuary so that the horses could go around it. They do equine therapy at the sanctuary, and now the horses and therapy clients regularly walk around the stupa.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service.
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