Karmapa says the issue of Tibet’s environment is not political (Tibetan Review)

(TibetanReview.net, Nov14, 2013)  The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, one of Tibet’s foremost religious leaders and the head of the Karma Kagyu school within the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, has said Nov 11-12 that the issue of Tibet transcends politics and concerns the interest not only of its neighbouring countries but also all of Asia and possibly the rest of the world when it comes to talking about the environment. "The fact that China has control of Tibet does not mean they have the right to do whatever they want to the Tibetan environment," the AFP Nov 12 quoted the Karmapa as saying.

"Whatever happens to the Tibetan environment will definitely impact its neighbours and also eventually all of Asia," he was further quoted as saying.

The Karmapa spoke in New Delhi where on Nov 12 he addressed the Fifth Khoryug Conference, an annual environmental meet, attended by 60 monks and nuns from monasteries across the Himalayas at the India International Centre, New Delhi. Khoryug is a network of 55 Buddhist monasteries, nunneries and centres which work together on environmental protection in the Himalayan regions under the leadership of the Karmapa.

"During the more than 50 years since China took over Tibet, there has been a great deal of development and activity including military installations by the Chinese that have impacted the Tibetan environment," the report quoted him as saying. He has cited mining and dam building as other activities in Tibet that have disastrous environmental consequences for Asia.

He wanted India as the country having the deepest connect with Tibet to be clearer in expressing its concerns over the environmental devastation taking place there.

The annual environmental conference, an initiative of the current Karmapa, was designed to bring together monks and nuns from the participating communities and centres across the Himalayas for education, problem-solving workshops and to formulate specific water conservation projects to be implemented in their local communities.

During the latest, five-day conference, the participants undertook a trip to the bank of the highly polluted Yamuna River where the Karmapa led prayers for its restoration. He was accompanied by the Khoryug monks and nuns as well as local residents. Dr Manoj Misra, Director of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, an organization which aims to restore the sacred river, also took part.
The Karmapa was recognized as the reincarnation of his 16th predecessor by the Dalai Lama while still in Tibet. China went along with that recognition and he was duly enthroned at his traditional seat of Tsurphu Monastery near the capital Lhasa. However, in Dec 1999, he fled Tibet, citing lack of religious freedom and fear of being used for political purposes by China. He currently lives at a monastery near Dharamsala, India, as the government of India still hasn’t cleared him to take up residence in his exile seat of Rumtek Monastery in the state of Sikkim. 


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