Enviromental Protection – Gyuto Monastery


The main reason that I am so interested and dedicated to protecting the environment is because it is the basis of life and it transcends politics and religion. The environment is not merely a political or even a religious matter – it is a matter of the survival or non-survival of all living beings who inhabit the earth, including us humans. Environmental degradation has taken place mainly due to the ignorant conduct of the human beings and if we are to improve the situation, we must begin with changing this conduct. I think the key to this is to find ways to change the attitudes and motivations of humans. It is in this regard that Buddhism and other spiritual and religious traditions of the world can play an important role. These traditions have a special focus on providing skilful methods for people to transform their ways of behaving and, most critically, their fundamental outlook toward the world. Buddhism, especially, plays detailed attention to the phenomenon of how the mind works and it lays out in very vast and profound ways an array of methods by which we can transform our attitudes, and migrate destructive and painful emotions. So I think there are definitely some links that can be made in this way between Buddhism and helping the environment. In this spirit, I have been trying to focus on environmental issues over the past few years and raise awareness and work, including convening conferences around this topic. I have also instituted environmental guidelines that several monasteries are following. My hope is that this attention and care for the environment will be internalized within the monasteries and will then expand outwards from them into the communities that surround them, until eventually it touches more and more people in the world. There are so many good organizations in the world, including WWF, that are devoted to environmental and wildlife protection. Since you have the knowledge and the latest science, it is very important for us to learn from you, and for you to help keep us informed on what we need to know in relation to the environment. And, on our side, I think that we leaders and members of spiritual communities should work together with you, to help educate the broader public about the environment, and inform them on what they can do and how they can help. I think this is very important. If all of us, both environmental organizations and spiritual communities, work together and help each other to protect the environment, I am confident that there will be a great benefit that arises from this and great results. So please give this some consideration. I thank you.