DHARAMSHALA: His Eminence the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje inaugurated a five-day Buddhist conference to discuss biodiversity, climate change, and natural disaster preparedness on the World Environment Day in Dharamsala on Tuesday.
Over 60 representatives from 45 monasteries from across the Himalayas and South Asia are attending the conference organised by Rangjung Khoryug Sungkyob Tsokpa (RKST), an association of Buddhist monasteries working to protect the environment of the Himalayan region. Representatives from organisations such as Environmental Education, the Wildlife Trust of India, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Environment and Development Desk from the Central Tibetan Administration, are also present.
Gyalwang Karmapa, who heads the (RKST), said the Tibetan Plateau is not only of great importance to the people of Tibet and the Himalayas but to the entire world since it is the main source of water for many Asian countries.
“We should all try our best to protect the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas and preserve these ecosystems. Preserving the biodiversity and the ecosystems of our region should be like the effortless practice of dharma for us. Our basic motivation to protect the environment should come from the pure desire to benefit all sentient beings on earth,” he said.
Commending Gyalwang Karmapa for his efforts to mobilise public opinion on the environmental protection, Mr Penpa Tsering, speaker of the Tibetan Parliament, urged the Buddhist monasteries to build bridges with everyone in and outside their societies to protect the environment.
Many of the monks and nuns expressed their experiences with drought, flash floods, and earthquakes which have recently occurred in their location. Providing practical training of what to do during a natural disaster and how to be resilient afterwards is of great benefit, they said.
RKST consists of thirty-six monasteries across India, Nepal and Bhutan that are working together to help create an environmental awakening in the Himalayas about the importance of forest protection, water conservation, wildlife preservation, climate change adaptation and waste management.