Clean Water: A Gift of Gratitude from the Seventeenth Karmapa to the People of Bodh Gaya

(December 8, Bodhgaya) As part of the Karmapa 900 celebration, Khoryug, the environmental organization established by His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, offered a high-tech water filter to the people of Bodh Gaya. The filter will provide 500 liters per hour and is situated along the entrance to the main gate of the Mahabodhi Stupa.

Along with fulfilling His Holiness’ aim of making clean water available to indigent members of the local community, His Holiness’ inauguration had the effect of blessing the water. His Holiness inaugurated of the project between the opening ceremony of Karmapa 900 and the evening Dusum Khyenpa Guru Puja session, at the outer Mahabodhi Stupa gate. The ceremony was attended by the Chief Monk of Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC), Bantey Bhikku Chalinda, Chief Guest, and by Dr. R.H. Mishra, Representative Member of BTMC, as well Khoryug monks and nuns, members of the press, and hundreds of followers. The ceremony began with chanting led by Bantey Chalinda and was followed by a speech from Dr. Mishra. Dr. Mishra spoke eloquently about what the gift of clean water meant to the people in Bodh Gaya, and in particular, the poorest of the poor, and the downtrodden who lack even the barest necessities. He went on to say that without water, there can be no life and it is one of the greatest gifts that can be given. His Holiness and Bantey Chalinda then jointly opened the water facility.

Khoryug nuns offered water straight from the taps as well as some sweets to all the guests including His Holiness, who jokingly made a face while drinking the water. Tested only this morning, the water quality surpasses that of many bottled water companies. Joined by other tulkus, including H.E. Mingyur Rinpoche, Ringu Tulku and Karma Tulku, His Holiness then made special dedication prayers of auspiciousness and blessings.

When asked earlier why His Holiness thought this project important, he said:

"Bodh Gaya is the place where Buddha was enlightened, which means that it is the birthplace of the most-valued teachings of wisdom and compassion. We should treat this land with respect and protect its natural environment. During Buddha's time, the river Nairanjana flowed gloriously. But, these days, we hear that it is drying up. We must do everything we can to protect these water sources and to minimize wastes that are polluting this sacred land."

His Holiness said that he hopes his followers will use water from this source as an alternative to bottled water since the plastic waste that is then generated can take up to a million years to decompose naturally and emits toxic fumes when burned.

"Bodh Gaya hosts the Kagyu Monlam every year and provides for the needs for thousands of followers from the Kagyu lineage. I offer this small project in gratitude to the kindness showered on us. Without water, there can be no life. I pray that this source of clean water benefits the local people of Bodh Gaya as well as the visitors who come here for pilgrimage."

His Holiness is a committed environmentalist, and dedicated to creating an eco-Buddhist movement across the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau. This project was implemented by Khoryug, an association of Buddhist monasteries and nunneries that carry out environmental activities, under the guidance of His Holiness.

Following his departure, crowds of followers gathered at the taps and collected water because it was specially blessed during this auspicious day. Several of them noted that it began to rain lightly as His Holiness started leading the prayers and welcomed the sign that this was in accordance with nature.

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