Tsurphu Labrang Gyuto Monastery

Tsurphu Labrang Seat of His Holiness, the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

Gyuto Tantric University
P. O. Sidhbari-176 057
Dharamshala, District Kangra (H.P.) India

  • Coordinator: Chimed Choegyal
  • Phone: 91-1892-235154

Environmental Goal

Our main environmental goal is to serve His Holiness and help make his vision come true, whether it is just in our own monastery grounds or across the world. We would like to be the example for our communities and show that environmental problems can be solved as long as we have heart and work together towards this goal.

His Holiness plants the first sapling on World Environment Day

His Holiness plants the first sapling on World Environment Day

Environmental Activities

Following the first conference in Varanasi in March 2009, we took on many new activities. What we learned in the conference changed our thinking and perspective. Since then, we have tried to tried to apply what we learned.

1. Sharing knowledge

We shared our new knowledge with monks and members of Labrang staff who were not at the conference. We held an hourly meeting each day for a week, during which we explained the dangers that the world faced, the importance of environmental protection, and the 108 things that could be done according to His Holiness Karmapa.

2. Planting Trees

Everyone felt great concern for the environment but we also felt that there was a special connection with trees. In the 108 Solutions, number 101 tells us to ‘create a mandala of nature’, and that is what we have done behind the temple at Gyuto monastery. During March and April, we planted a garden which we call the “Wake-Up Garden”, because we have now woken up to the importance of caring for the environment.

In order to do this, we first cleared the ground and prepared it carefully, and then we planted one hundred trees and plants. On His Holiness Karmapa’s birthday, we planted twenty-five trees. On His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday, we again planted twenty-five trees. One of the things we learned during the conference is that taking care of the saplings are much harder than planting them. Sometimes, up to 90% of them do not survive to become trees. So, we assigned responsibility for caring for each tree to individual monks so that each tree would be nurtured properly.

3. World Environment Day Puja

On World Environment Day, Gyuto senior monks held a puja for environmental protection. As part of the puja ceremony itself, His Holiness Karmapa, Gyuto KhenRinpoche , General Secretary Drupon Rinpoche and Chamsingla planted trees. Altogether, a mix of 108 trees , flowers and shrubs were planted.

4. River Clean Up

There is a river near the monastery, which is usually covered with garbage. It worries us that people might drink from this river downstream. Over the past year, we have organized four working parties to go clean the river. We plan to continue doing this on a regular basis.

5. Waste Management

Previously there was no waste management at the monastery. Now we have provided seventy-five colour-coded dustbins at various locations around the monastery, and designated each bin either as compostable waste, or plastic and metal, or paper. In addition from 8.00am – 10.30am every Saturday all the monks join together for an organized clean-up of the monastery and grounds. For example, the Drophen publishing staff office clean the road outside the monastery.

We were surprised to discover that ‘rubbish’ is valuable; we have been able to sell the plastic, metal and paper, and donate the money to the monastery office. We have raised Rs. 2100/- in six months.

6. Understanding Climate Change

We organized two lectures on climate change for staff and monks so that they would understand the threat and also why we needed to change our behavior. In order to conserve energy we changed all our light bulbs to low-energy ones, and we hope to install solar panels to provide hot water. We no longer burn paper rubbish – now we recycle it.

In general, we are trying to train ourselves on environmental issues as much as possible. Two representatives from Tsurphu Labrang attended a training workshop at Deer Park Institute, Bir recently.

Our hope is that if all the monasteries come together to address this problem, then we can make a positive change. This motivation helped us host and organize the second conference on environmental protection, which was held at Gyuto in October.

We would like to offer our heartfelt gratitude to His Holiness the Karmapa for his leadership and wisdom in this issue.

Sun rising from behind His Holiness' Residence

Sun rising from behind His Holiness’ Residence

Participating Monasteries