The Coastal Post - October, 1995

Rain Forests Must Be Preserved

BY THE DALAI LAMA

As stated in the discussion at the Sao Paulo conference, the rapacious cutting of timber, the destruction of the rain forests and other forest areas, can only be defined as a threat against human existence on this planet and a crime against the continued existence of the human race. We, as refugees from the Communist Chinese and their totalitarian government, know what it is to be without a home.

When forests are destroyed, many beings both corporeal and non-corporeal also become refugees. However, even greater is the threat that due to such actions, climatic patterns are altered, and then where will the inhabitants of this planet—known as the Rose Apple Location—find a place to flee?

I can only say therefore it is the duty of every human being, and particularly those who have belief in the Buddhist Dharma, to protect life and to use any legal means possible to prevent further cutting of forests, to make public the grasping rapaciousness of those individuals and companies, syndicates and consortiums who are responsible.

It has been said in the writings of Je Tsonghapa that whosoever destroys a tree commits a thousand murders. Even though these individuals believe that this is their only life, their belief does not in any way affect the universal laws of karma, cause and effect and of rebirth. I assure you as the Head of the Gelugpa Lineage and the religious leader of Tibet and the Tibetan People in Exile, that karma is a reality and that rebirth is a reality and that whosoever is responsible for the cutting of even one redwood tree will spend many lifetimes in the lower realms as a hungry ghost or as a hell being. This is what the Buddha taught.

Therefore, I call upon you who are in positions of authority in these corporations, syndicates and consortiums to stop this action which harms all beings; now, at this very moment, to stop your actions. I call upon all of you who are employed in this destruction to cast aside your sharp axes and other implements and to resign your positions with these corporations.

You do not know what harm you cause yourselves and your karma that you project into your future lifetimes. So be warned, this is not your only life, and only future pain and suffering in a lower realm can result from these actions.

This is Tenzin Gyatso speaking to you through my emissary, Lama Yeshe. Please, for the sake of your happiness and the happiness of all sentient beings, heed these words.

Given by telephone on the 14th day of September, 1994, by myself, Gelong Tenzin Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama, speaking from Dharmasala.