Rumtek Monastery hosts the 9th Annual Environmental Conference for Himalayas Buddhist Monasteries and Nunneries
April 2nd, 2018, Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim - His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje spoke from afar, sharing his thoughts via video, with 90 monastic representatives from 34 monasteries and nunneries this morning. He said “I am aware of how hard you have been working on environmental protection for the last nine years and very pleased with the success you have all achieved. Due to the importance of Tibet and the Himalayas as a source of water for billions of people downstream, I appeal to you all to also take up the responsibility of addressing climate change. We should see our actions of preserving nature and protecting the environment not only as ways of minimizing climate change impacts but also as part of our Buddhist practice because everything we do will benefit other sentient beings.”
Khoryug is an association of over 50 Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries spread across the Himalayan region and South India that carry out environmental protection activities. It was established by His Holiness the Karmapa in 2009 and is a non-sectarian community of eco-monasteries and nunneries leading projects ranging from environmental education, reforestation, river clean-up, spring-shed restoration, wildlife protection, and climate change adaptation. The monks and nuns gathered here for the 4-day conference manage environmental projects for their monastic institutions in Bhutan, India, and Nepal. The conference gives them the opportunity to learn more about building climate change resilience, to report back on their ongoing projects, and to discuss and share lessons learned from their previous experiences. The topic of the conference is: Climate Resiliency for Ourselves and Our Communities. The workshop includes training from partners such as ATREE, ECOSS, WWF, and UNDP, and the Science and Tech Department of the Government of Sikkim.
His Holiness has been teaching about climate change for many years. Citing that climate change can seem very overwhelming on a personal level, His Holiness who is a committed environmentalist and vegetarian, suggested that we see our response to climate change as a spiritual one and link it to the development of our inner self. He said, “ultimately, science and technology cannot bring about the needed change in people’s attitude and behavior. We need to combine dharma and science to do so successfully and I pray that Khoryug’s collective activity helps pave such a way forward.”