Honoring the Earth, Planting Trees at KTD

(April 22, 2015 – Woodstock, New York) The 17th Karmapa opened the honoring of Earth Day by planting trees atKarma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD) in the morning, and giving a talk in the afternoon on caring for the environment to residents of the town of Woodstock.
David Kaczynski, Executive Director of KTD, opened the morning calling for moral, political and active ethical leadership on the issue of environmental stewardship. “Our earth is very old,” he said, “but our recognition of the need to care for the earth is very young.”
Addressing those assembled, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, abbot of KTD, expressed his profound delight at celebrating Earth Day with His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, particularly since the event was being marked by both political and spiritual leaders of the local communities. His Holiness the Karmapa was joined at the tree planting by Woodstock Town Supervisor Jeremy Wilber, Bill McKenna of the Town Board, Jim Hanson, Chair of the Woodstock Ecological Commission as well as leading members of Woodstock’s various faith communities. As such, the town’s secular and religious leaders shared the space under a tent that had been erected since rain threatened to mar the morning.
Woodstock’s Town Supervisor, Jeremy Wilber, took the microphone to observe that the Karmapa had written a book, The Heart Is Noble: Changing theWorld from the Inside Out, and that anyone who read it could plainly “hear the words of a very committed environmental activist.” Sandy Hu, KTD board member, described for those assembled some of the Karmapa’s environmental initiatives, and then the time came for the palpable demonstration of care for the earth.
Two trees had been made ready for planting, including a Japanese maple that had graced the stage during theKarmapa’s teachings in Kingston’s Ulster Performing Arts Center. As if waiting for the moment to take action, when the speechmaking was complete, the 17th Karmapa strode over to the first planting site and at once began preparing to plant. Once the tree had been placed gently in the ground, he himself shoveled the earth and poured the water with great care. As he was adding the mulch, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche approached and playfully aided him by tapping on the earth with his cane.
Once both saplings were in the ground, His Holiness reached down and touched the trunks, moving them gently. After he had determined that the trees had been firmly planted, he departed, entrusting them to the care of the earth and sky, which would oblige by releasing rain to water them after the ceremony was safely completed.

 Photography by Lama Sam.


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