Buddhist Monks in North East India lead in environmental stewardship

Buddhist Monks in North East India lead in environmental stewardship

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New Delhi, India: The Buddhist monastic communities in North East India have been known for their peacefulness and spiritual teachings for a long time. But recently, these communities have become leaders in taking care of the environment. They combine their religious beliefs with a strong sense of responsibility towards nature.

A great example is the Buddhist community of Chalapathar Shyamgaon, a village in eastern Assam. They noticed that the bhungloti creeper, a plant traditionally used to make the saffron-colored robes for Buddhist monks, was almost gone. So, they made a brave decision to protect the nearby forest and turned it into the Chala Village Sanctuary.

It was more than just a symbolic act; it marked the start of a determined effort to safeguard and restore the local environment.

The monks of Chalapathar Shyamgaon have been working tirelessly to protect the forest from illegal cutting of trees and poaching. They even formed a group of 22 people to help the understaffed Forest Department in safeguarding the forest. But their efforts haven’t stopped at just preserving the forest.

The community has been replanting areas that were stripped bare due to illegal logging. They have planted over 20,000 young trees given to them by the Forest Department. They have also created a park to promote biodiversity, where they have cultivated various types of orchids and native trees.

In Buddhism, they teach about being aware of how our actions affect the world. It’s important to be mindful and avoid causing harm to nature and other living things. They believe in a concept called “ahimsa,” which means not hurting or taking the life of any living being, including animals.

This mindfulness also applies to the ecosystem. According to the Buddha’s teachings, we should not disturb the homes of other creatures or harm them. When we destroy natural habitats, it goes against the principles of Buddhism and shows a lack of thoughtfulness. It not only harms the environment around us but also disrupts the delicate balance of life.

The Chalapathar Shyamgaon project and similar ones show how Buddhist monks in North East India are putting these teachings into action. They believe that taking care of the environment is not just a good thing to do, but a spiritual responsibility. They combine their Buddhist beliefs with efforts to protect nature. In doing so, they not only preserve their own surroundings, but also inspire others around the world to take ecological responsibility seriously.