Animal World
The Shining World Compassion Award: A Righteous Rabbit Rescue      
Everywhere in the world, we can observe and be touched by acts of kindness. People from all walks of life, faiths, and cultures extend themselves beyond the call of duty to help others unconditionally. Through their noble deeds, humanity as a whole is elevated.

To commend virtuous actions and encourage more people to be inspired by their examples, Supreme Master Ching Hai has lovingly created a series of awards, including the Shining World Leadership Award, Shining World Compassion Award, Shining World Hero and Heroine Awards, Shining World Honesty Award, Shining World Protection Award, Shining World Intelligence Award, and Shining World Inventor Award, to recognize some of the most exemplary, generous, caring, and courageous people who walk amongst us.

Today on our program, we’ll celebrate a marvelous act of love done for a rabbit by a kindly gentleman from Ireland. But first, a bit about rabbits. Did you know that rabbits are very special beings?

Previously on Supreme Master Television, we featured a story on Häschen, a rabbit in Germany who is cared for by one of our Association members. Through Austrian telepathic animal communicator Elisabeth Berger, Häschen conveyed several messages to the world on behalf of all rabbits. Here are some of Häschen’s messages:

“We nudge their hands with our noses and let them stroke us. Somebody who shows kindness to only one rabbit will be loved by all rabbits. The rabbits will protect the gardens of such humans and will always make sure there is enough food left for them. At night the rabbits also watch over the sleeping humans, so that no harm befalls them. They protect especially small sleeping children.”

“Rabbits empathize with humans that are sad and try to cheer them up. But many humans feel no pity at all for all these suffering rabbits. Rabbits can’t understand why they behave like that and they are afraid of such humans.”

“Rabbits can’t understand how humans can eat them. With each bite they consume so much suffering. And other animals can smell that they have eaten death and are no longer friendly towards them.”

“A human who feeds rabbits won’t go hungry for several lifetimes. Humans who heal a rabbit will find their own diseases alleviated. Humans who stroke rabbits and treat them kindly will for several lifetimes always have a person who loves them.”

As the guest of honor at “The Greenest Heroes Gala” held in Cancún, Mexico on December 5, 2010, Supreme Master Ching Hai shared insights on the blessings animals bring to our lives, including rabbits.

If you raise them in your yard, he or she will bless you spiritual points. For example, today you earn only 100 spiritual points by something, he will give you 5 more, or 10 more, to add on top, every day like that, can you imagine? A chicken even, so small and helpless, blesses you 2-6%, 6% or 10%, because you give them vegan, then they have more power to bless you. A rabbit, from 4-6%. The more merits you have, the multiplied of the blessing from the animals and angels and deities and saints and sages and spiritual practitioners.

John Byrne is from Dublin, Ireland. Though he is homeless, he compassionately cares for many animals, including his beloved rabbit friend Barney. One day Mr. Byrne was sitting on O’Connell Bridge which crosses the River Liffey.

I was sitting in the middle there where the writing is on the bridge. And a big gang came up, took my rabbit, walked down a little bit, and threw him. I looked in and I saw him swimming so I jumped feet first.

I swam over towards him. I grabbed him. I brought him back, waited for the fire brigade men to come in the boat to collect me. They brought me back over to the steps over here. I came up the steps and went back around to where my dog was, and she was sitting there waiting for me to come.

My rabbit, Barney, he swam towards me. He must have known I loved him, and he swam towards me. And I love him. I wasn’t going to leave him there. He’s my baby. And I’ll always look after my babies. I have two dogs, two rabbits, four hamsters. They're all my babies. I tell everybody they’re my babies. I have to look after them.

How did you learn how to swim?

I'd done a life-saving course. I knew what to do. I knew how to handle myself in the water. Didn’t panic, just took everything easy. If it wasn’t for that course, I wouldn’t be able to swim. I was grateful I learned and I was able to save my baby. My little Barney.

Something happened a few years before that as well, where you saved somebody else. What happened that time?

It was a girl over here, going to jump on top of something over here, over the steps. And I talked her way over. You might say I saved her life too. She was going to jump. I just talked her way over, brought her back down to safety.

The Ireland-based non-profit group the Animal Rights Action Network presented Mr. Byrne with the “Compassionate Citizen Award” for his rescue of Barney. And for this same act of unconditional love, Supreme Master Ching Hai honored John Byrne with the Shining World Compassion Award.

The heart-shaped Award plaque he received has the following inscription. In Recognition of Compassionate & Courageous Love Nobly Risking Your Own Wellbeing To Ensure the Safety of Your Precious Friend Marvelous Mr. Barney Rabbit.

Along with the Award, Supreme Master Ching Hai also sent Mr. Byrne a warm letter of gratitude and admiration.

Dear Mr. Byrne, How very pleased and gratified we are of this delightful opportunity to present you the Shining World Compassion Award. This Award is presented in recognition of the loving nobility of your heart and mind, your selfless compassion and your brilliant example of kindness, which has charmed and warmed the hearts of everyone.

Your beloved pet rabbit, Barney was cruelly thrown into the cold waters of the River Liffey from the O'Connell Bridge by a passerby. However, you immediately jumped into the river after Barney to save him. In doing this noble deed, you instantly transformed the negative into a great positive. A crowd gathered on the bridge to watch your heroism, and the fire department was called to help you get out of the river.

Very quickly, the news media heard of your daring rescue of Barney, and the result was wonderful. A great wave of admiration for you, of concern for animal welfare, and of concern for the plight of homeless people washed over Ireland. This wave was full of positivity, of love and caring, and is a remarkable tribute to the greatness of your soul, because how many people have the power to turn a terrible negativity into something so beautifully positive? You have this power, John Byrne, and that is why you are honored.

For your selfless demonstration of the intrinsic value of every being by risking your safety to save a helpless rabbit, and for inspiring your country in such a lovely way, we hereby applaud you and celebrate the compassionate, brave and noble deeds of Mr. John Byrne. With Great Honor, Love and Blessings, Supreme Master Ching Hai

In addition, John Byrne received a gift of US$4,000 from Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Master Ching Hai, thank you very much. This means a lot to me and my animals. I’m very happy and grateful to have this reward. And from me and my animals, thank you very much.

Mr. Byrne was also given presents by Supreme Master Ching Hai, including her #1 international bestselling books “The Birds in My Life” and “The Noble Wilds,” as well as some tasty vegan snacks. John Byrne has the following thoughts for our viewers regarding taking on the big responsibility of caring for an animal companion.

If you’re going to get an animal, they’re going to change your life. Think twice before you get something, before you get an animal. Don’t get them because they’re going change your life, if you’re not going to look after them. Think twice before you get an animal. I always say that to everybody. An animal’s going to change your life completely, in a happiness way. They keep you happy. All you want is the love, that’s all you want. You get back many things. You get back happiness, love. That’s all you want out of this is love, happiness.

Supreme Master Ching Hai has spoken many times about the kind of selfless sacrifice that brings us back into connection with the Divine love within, as during a February 2009 gathering of our Association members in France.

Whenever any chance or any circumstance or any time you feel that you're ready to die for somebody else – that is when you’ve got it. You’ve got the total of it. Even you sacrifice yourself, you don't mind your life, for your kids, for your wife, your mother, your father, even your dog. At that moment, you're in total connection with your love.

Love is like that. It doesn't have to be, like a demonstration of tears or hugs or letters or longwinded sentences or big poetry. It doesn't have to be. Just know it in your heart that you're willing to lay down your life even, if necessary, for anyone. If your heart is like that, know that you're in charge of yourself, that you really are in that love, and you did not lose anything of it and you are just great.

Once again we salute you, John Byrne for your loving protection of our animal friends. May Barney have a long, happy life in your gentle company. Sweet viewers, we thank you for joining us today on this edition of the Shining World Award series. May we all be forever blessed with the guidance of the Divine.

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