The World Wildlife Fund’s Dekila Chungyalpa and “The Greening of Buddhism” in Spirituality & Health

Dekila Chungyalpa

Spirituality & Health has a terrific piece on Dekila Chungyalpa, who is the Director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Sacred Earth Program, which “works with religious leaders and faith communities who best articulate ethical and spiritual ideals around the sacred value of Earth and its diversity, and are committed to protecting it.” She’s also a Buddhist in the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, who, after a meeting with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje, was moved to propose the Sacred Earth initiative to the WWF. The article explains:

Launched in late 2011, the program has extended into East Africa, where Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and Buddhist leaders have called for the end of the illegal wildlife trade. In Thailand, Buddhist leaders prayed for poached elephants in a merit-making ceremony and asked their congregations to reject the trade of ivory. In Cambodia, monks train in freshwater conservation to protect endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. In Brazil, Chungyalpa worked on a conservation outreach program with millions of Catholic youths who gathered during the 2013 visit of Pope Francis.

Taking the program global, outside of her Buddhist faith, made Chungyalpa nervous at first, until she received advice on how she should introduce herself. Not as Dekila, from the WWF, but as Dekila, a Buddhist, a person of faith. “It completely changed how I felt going into meetings, and it changed how people accepted me. We were meeting as people of faith.”

Read the whole thing here.

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