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* A facinating spiritual perspective on environmental responsibility

 (Extract and paraphrase from  and )

Eastern tradition has evolved a facinating approach and perspective on the importance of forest protection, water conservation, wildlife preservation, climate change adaptation and waste management. 

 Gyalwang Karmapa in Bodhgaya, India,

Dharamshala: His Eminence the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje is dedicated to environmental protection in the Himalayan region initiated by a network of thirty-six Buddhist monasteries across India, Nepal and Bhutan.

Gyalwang Karmapa underlined the need to work for the environment as a logical extension of our Dharma (wisdom) practice, connecting it to the Mahayana commitment to benefit others, and to live in a way that is consistent with the basic fact of interdependence.

Gyalwang Karmapa urges us to ask themselves whether the beautiful aspirations and prayers many make in the morning are carried out in their actions throughout the day. Often when opportunities arise to work to benefit others, we do not seize them, and if we ask ourselves why this is so, it is usually because we are simply working for our own egocentric concerns. Too often we behave as if others existed for us, and as if the Earth was ours alone to use as we wish,” he added. “Our actions based on such attitudes have had cumulative effects that are devastating for the Earth itself, he said.

We, nevertheless, dominate the planet as if it were ours alone, and we are responsible for virtually all the damage done to it. This attitude is inappropriate as well as damaging given our total dependence on others, and especially on the earth itself, for our well-being and for our very survival. Without the plants that yield oxygen, we would not even be able to draw a single breath, Gyalwang Karmapa said.

Gyalwang Karmapa, points out that we humans have nowhere else to go in the galaxy if we destroy the earth’s natural environment.

“Yet unlike humans, the earth is endlessly forgiving,” he noted.

“When someone commits heinous crimes, such as murder, he is shunned and expelled from human society. Yet however much harm we do to her, the Earth never banishes us. Despite all the damage we have done thus far, she has never given up on us, but continues to yield her resources to us with great generosity. We, therefore, all have a responsibility to consider what practical steps we can do to respond in kind to this great kindness that we receive from the Earth,”  Gyalwang Karmapa said.  24 Dec  2009