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近日,有人在宁波永丰桥上念念有词,“放生”矿泉水,旁边还摆放着贡品,有关此事的视频和照片一经网络传播,立刻引发热议。 This is the news report.

What does 放生矿泉水 mean?

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放生 (verb) is a religious practice where you buy captured animals and release them to their natural habitat. It's believed to bring good luck to a person.

Here "放生矿泉水" is apparently an extension of this practice, where one releases not animals but bottled spring water, presumably on the basis that spring water is also "captured" from the natural habitat, and to "release" it is to simply pour it into rivers.

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  • Very interesting! By this logic, he shall release all cooked food too. :)
    – r13
    Oct 10, 2023 at 17:06
  • Haha, isn't the etymology of 海: 氵 returning to the mother of all waters 每? Freedom for all bottled water!
    – Pedroski
    Oct 11, 2023 at 6:03
  • 放生 is not necessarily religious in nature. I've heard of tourists buying up street vendors selling live animals to release them.
    – Nelson
    Oct 11, 2023 at 8:56
  • It is essentially a practice in Buddhism. It is a religious practice if you consider Buddhism a religion. It is due to the belief, "Saving one life is better than building a seven-level Pagoda." (救人一命胜造七级浮屠) The usual animals to "release" are tortoise, birds, fish. I've done these "releasing" myself. It is a way of gaining "Merit" for one's salvation. The tourists who do it are Buddhists, especially when they visit a Buddhist temple, and vendors take the opportunity to cash in on this Buddhist Belief by selling the animals in the vicinity of the temples. Releasing mineral water is new to me. Oct 11, 2023 at 12:52
  • @r13 Do you mean the toilet visits they make every day? That's ridiculous. Oct 11, 2023 at 13:43
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it's kind of irony in Chinese. Buddhists believe that 放生, releasing animals back into the wild, is a good thing. But in fact, most people just throw bought animals into everywhere they think it's “wild”, which had been caused disasters to the local environment. So some people suggested they could 放生 drinking water(矿泉水), instead of letting Brazilian turtles destroy all native species in the pond.

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  • Yes, I've seen silly people releasing tortoises into urban / polluted drains. It is more a question of bad / irresponsible conduct, rather than a negative reflection on the practice itself. We must understand that this practice did not start recently. It was practiced for centuries, and in days past when there were no large urban cities, like now, it was more practical to do it in one's village agricultural environment. Now one would need to travel some distance to seek out a suitable "natural" environment. I would say that if it is too troublesome, don't do it. No merit is gained by laziness. Oct 11, 2023 at 13:58
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I've searched the news.

It said that the incects in that bottle of water should be saved. Not releasing the water itself.

(一群人将矿泉水瓶里的液体倒入海中,声称这是一种“放生”行为,而矿泉水中所含的“虫子”需要被“挽救”。 A group of people poured liquid from mineral water bottles into the sea, claiming that this was an act of "release" and that the "bugs" contained in the mineral water needed to be "saved".)

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Yes, releasing animals is a thing in China, but releasing bottled water is just people being dumb. You can think of it as a parody of releasing wild animals. Haha.

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