Buddhist Monks Teach “Children of Flowers”
In the midst of rapid economic development, industrialization has created an unprecedented amount of pollution. Nowhere is this more evident than in China. However, the good news is that there has been increasing interest in sustainability and environmental action in China lately.
Although images of Chinese people wearing masks for protection from smog are common, many people have become deeply concerned about the environmental risks of climate change. People are coming together, working on solutions. Educational materials are being used to raise awareness about conservation, and volunteers are working to protect natural habitats. Lately, China is promoting Buddhist faith as a guided path toward a cleaner, clearer future.
Planting Seeds of Connection
Many of the solutions to environmental problems can be found in our religious roots. For China, Buddhism is helping to change attitudes by expressing connections between people and nature. Creating educational resources around Buddhist principles is strengthening these connections, and generating enthusiasm. Kids are becoming excited about nature, and are working to protect animals and their habitats.
Programs in the United States have shown that children engaged with nature from an early age experience deeper consciousness regarding the environment, seeing it as something needing respect and care. They become excited about making a difference, and this provides a foundation for future nature conservation endeavors in their lives.
Preserving the Ecology Through Deeper Consciousness
In Buddhism, everything is sentient and Buddhist practices thrive in natural habitats. Buddhist principles teach compassion for nature, and Buddhism seeks to provide a deeper consciousness of how humans and their surroundings are connected. It teaches that we are not separate from our environment, but we are a part of it.
Although China’s ecology has suffered from serious damage, there are still areas left relatively untouched, like the Qing-Tibetan Plateau. Here, many Lama Buddhist monks are natural educators. Their passion for the environment is rooted in their daily lifestyles, and they seek to share that passion with others.
Buddhist “Children of Flowers”
Tashi Sangye, a Lama monk educator, teaches youth in a program called “Children of Flowers” about plants and animals.
Originally started in 2011, the “Children of Flowers” program takes place during the summer. Games, stories, and songs are used to convey basic knowledge. Says Tashi, “As a monk, it is a kind of Tibetan Buddhism practice to plant a seed in children’s heart to seek harmony with nature, protect it, and treat it with awe.”
Having the “Consciousness to Help Others”
Tashi Sangye and other Lama Buddhist monks also work with volunteers to preserve the natural habitats by cleaning up trash in the region. They believe in protecting the ecology of their land, and their efforts are part of a growing concern and advocacy for a cleaner and more environmentally friendly region.
As Tibetan Buddhist volunteer Tsering Paldron explains his motivation, “It shows people have more time and money to do volunteering jobs. Most importantly, they have the consciousness to help others.”
The Qing-Tibetan plateau is a vast, majestic land with mountains, rivers, and lush green forests throughout. It is an ideal setting for children to engage with nature and learn about their religious roots. China is facing major challenges to reining in pollution and restoring ecological balance. But getting back to basics is a good start, and the Lama Buddhist monks are setting a fine example.
(Images source: Flickr)
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