Buddhist “Eco-monks” Work to Protect Thailand’s Environment


From mongabay.com From mongabay.com As Thailand’s economy establishes and grows, protecting the delicate environment-friendly balance remains a significant barrier. As a consequence of substantial logging and widespread dam tasks, the nation is regularly impacted by both flooding and droughts, but some Buddhist monks are actively working to safeguard the environment by integrating Buddhist principals with environmental awareness, consulting from government officials about environmental issues, and carrying out sustainability jobs, such as setting up photovoltaic panels at Buddhist temples and assisting villagers fashion environmentally friendly homes out of mud and other naturally easily offered products.

“There are locations in northern Thailand, specifically in Nan Province, where there has in fact been a great deal of logging, so the watersheds areas fill the water with mud, silt, and pesticide overflow triggering more extreme flooding in the rainy season and more extreme drought in the dry season,” mentioned Gordon Congdon, preservation program manager for WWF-Thailand. (Mongabay)

The environmental and preservation activities of monks in northern Thailand also reach carrying out tree ordination events. Tree ordination, adopted from standard Buddhist practices, is a popular practice in lots of Buddhist-majority countries trying to find to lower logging and develop wildlife reserves. Trees are given monastic ordination and covered in the iconic saffron cloth utilized by Theravada monks, making them spiritual and therefore protecting the trees from damage, destruction, and logging.”Making benefit is exceptionally essential for Thai Buddhists,” said Dr. Susan Darlington, teacher of sociology and Asian studies at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and author of The Ordination of a Tree: The Thai Buddhist Environmental Motion (Suny Press 2013). “They see [tree-ordination events] as an act of making benefit, which can assist with rebirth and, in some cases, having a better life now.” (Mongabay)

In a bid to make merit and discourage deforestation, trees are ordained and wrapped in the saffron cloth of a monk's robe. From humanlife.asia In a quote to make benefit and dissuade logging, trees are ordained and wrapped in the saffron material of a monk’s bathrobe. From humanlife.asia Dr. Chaya Vaddhanaphuti, a location professor at Chiang Mai University whose PhD research studies focused on climate modification, stated amongst the most hazardous ecological issues in modern-day Thailand is the absence of understanding and awareness. “When I dealt with the farmers throughout my PhD research studies, they never ever utilized the term environment modification,” she kept in mind. “However, they understood that the environment had actually altered from how it was impacting their farms.” (Mongabay)

To teach rural farmers about the requirement to secure the environment, Phrakhu Sangkom Thanapanyo Khunsuri, a popular eco-monk based in Chiang Mai has actually established a standard farming school at his temple in the eastern province of Chonburi called the Maab-Euang Meditation Center for Sufficiency Economy. With 49 full-time trainees this year, Phra Sangkom is teaching Buddhist concepts of individual reflection and a theory called the “sufficiency economy developed by the late Thai queen Bhumibol Adulyadej, which promotes subsistence farming, encourages self-sufficiency, and teaches a detachment from materialism and consumerism.

“If individuals understand that the jungle supplies oxygen, water, excellent food, medication, and clothes, do you believe they are going to assist secure it?” Phra Sangkom asked. “Naturally!”

In the Thai capital Bangkok, another eco-monk, Phrakhu Win Mektripop, who holds a master’s degree in environmental economics from Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University, highlighted one of the direct links between Buddhism and environmentalism: “When the Buddha was born, he was born under the tree. He was informed under the tree. His very first sermon was under the tree. We can see that the majority of his life was connected with the forest.” (Asian Reporter)

Nonetheless, the WWF’s Congdon observed that as Thailand continues to establish from a low-income to an upper-income country, sustainability has actually often fallen by the wayside. Lots of huge corporations and conglomerates, such as Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Group, are making the most of the economic development and industrial need by contracting local farmers to engage in mass-production monocropping practices for such staples such as maize and rice. “They plant corn, they gather it, they provide it to the big business and earn almost enough to pay off their financial obligation,” Congdon discussed. “It develops this vicious cycle of dependence on the big business and the farmers never ever get ahead, which results in a growing variety of logging.” (Asian Reporter)

Eco-monk Phrakhu Sangkom Thanapanyo Khunsuri at his farm in Thailand's Surin Province, where he encourages and teaches sustainable farming practices. From mongabay.com Eco-monk Phrakhu Sangkom Thanapanyo Khunsuri at his farm in Thailand’s Surin Province, where he motivates and teaches sustainable farming practices. From mongabay.com Lots of universities and NGOs are also venturing to teach and spread out eco-friendly values established in the Buddhist mentors to regional farmers and residents. Somboon Chungprampree, executive director of the Bangkok-based International Network of Engaged Buddhists, a business which is working to connect Buddhist and non-Buddhist social and ecological activists from all over Asia and throughout the world, discussed: “We are identifying how we can bring the Buddhists who are simply sitting and practicing meditation out into the world to deal with the suffering. There is not just individual suffering; there is social and ecological suffering out there and people require to figure out how they can assist as a Buddhist.” (Mongabay)

See more

Ecology monks in Thailand look for to end environmental suffering (Mongabay)
Why are trees being ordained as monks in Thailand? (Asian Reporter)

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