On several occasions during the first part of his teachings in Germany, the 17th Karmapa has emphasised the personal responsibility we all share for protecting and preserving the natural environment. In 2009 he founded Khoryug, an organisation of Buddhist monasteries, nunneries and centres dedicated to protecting the fragile environment of the Himalayan region. In addition, the Karmapa has sponsored five conferences with training workshops to ensure that his own monks and nuns are fully briefed on environmental matters. Faced with worldwide deforestation, his active concern has led him to urge all monasteries and Dharma centres in the Karma Kagyu tradition, to plant as many trees as possible, and he has made it his own practice to plant trees wherever he goes.
His environmental commitment marries well with German tradition, where planting a tree is a particularly significant gesture. Germans love to quote Martin Luther: “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I Read the rest of this article