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  • » 06/19/2017, 14.04


    Sri Lanka, a 'monastic ordination of trees' to protect plants and the environment

    Melani Manel Perera

    The ceremony at the place where a sugar factory is planned. Buddhist rituals were attended by 1,500 people, as well as monks, environmentalists and politicians. The motto is "Every animal is sacred, every tree is sacred". The trees lined with the orange tunic of the monks.


    Colombo (AsiaNews) - A "monastic order of trees" to remember how important it is to protect the vegetation and the environment around us. This was the aim of a gathering on June 5, of several Buddhist monks, environmentalists associations and local people in Dehigama, Bibila, Uwa province. At least 1500 people attended a protest march on 65,000 acres slated for deforestation, to clear a site for the Gazelle Ventures sugar factory. To emphasize the urgency of the environmental issue, the monks have lined the trees of the traditional orange tunic and prayed in front of the plants. 

    Hemantha Withanage, director of the Center for Environmental Justice, one of the organizations present, underlined to AsiaNews: "The ceremony serves to remember the motto 'Sama Sathekma Bo Sathek! Hama gasakma Bo Gasak ', that every animal is sacred, and every tree is sacred. "

    The environmentalist explains that the tree dressing ritual is celebrated for the sixth time in Sri Lanka. It originates in Thailand, "where it is used to protect the mother-tree from slaughter and destruction." The ceremony was attended by the Ven. Badulugammana Sirisumana Thero, head of the Naagala monastery Rajamaha Viharaya in Bibila, leader of Indigenous People Vannilaaththo, Rathugala & Pollebedde Indigenous, Active Buddhist Solidarity for the Environment, People's Front to Protect People's Rights in Uva-Wellassa Districts, volunteers and political exponents from the government and opposition.

    The first to be "ordained" was a tree near a place of worship in Rathnapura, in the district of Kalutara, against the expansion of a road for a water project. Then it was the turn of a red sandal tree in the town of Badulla; Another 1000 trees in Nilgala; Some shrubs in the Soragune Forest "in an attempt to protect them from destruction for a golf course"; Finally trees near the Athwelthota Falls.

    Hemantha Withanage reports that people participated enthusiastically, offering food and singing hymns. "Although it is a Buddhist ritual - he says - it can be adapted to other religions, such as Christian and Hindu. For example during the ceremony there were also Tamil and Muslims. There are no religious barriers. " With pride, he concludes by saying that a small conquest has already taken place: "The president should have come to lay the foundation stone of the sugar factory, but he changed his mind seeing the objection of JVP politician and the scheduled protests."

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    See also

    24/09/2014 SRI LANKA - UN
    Forest cover and coastal protection: Sri Lanka’s pledges for climate
    President Mahinda Rajapaksa was speaking at the UN summit on climate change. The world is facing a "current emergency that must be addressed in a collective and multi-dimensional way."

    05/07/2005 SRI LANKA
    Green light to rebuild Buddhist temples in post-tsunami Sri Lanka
    The Minister for Buddhist Affairs pledges that funds won't come from foreign sources and that volunteers from other religions will be kept away.

    21/11/2016 18:31:00 SRI LANKA
    Sri Lankan Christians and Muslims slam the impunity of extremist Buddhist monks

    A monk threatens a bloodbath among Muslims if the police does not arrest their leaders. Another monk insults and assaults a Tamil employee. Rather than reacting to the violence, police seem complicitous. In one year, 132 cases of aggression against Christians, 141 against Muslims.

    13/02/2010 SRI LANKA
    Supreme Buddhist Leaders: Social confusion will lead Sri Lanka to destruction
    The four Supreme Leaders invite Buddhist monks not remain silent in the face of the chaos which began after the arrest of General Fonseka by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Convened on 18 February a special assembly of monks to discuss the current situation and contribute to the democratic progress of the country.

    06/08/2014 SRI LANKA
    Radical Buddhists threaten priests and victims of war, calling them "traitors"
    Led by monks, a mob stopped a meeting that had brought together northern families, activists, Catholic clergy and foreign diplomats. The police were present but did not intervene to stop the attackers.

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