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Story and photo by Alice Gerard
The Thai Buddhist temple and retreat center at 2661 Bedell Road (the Wat Prodketchettharam of America) and Riverside-Salem Environmental Chapel, 3449 West River Road, have been working together to plant trees at both sites. On Nov. 13, members of Riverside-Salem Environmental Chapel, along with Sunshine, a monk from the Wat Prodketchettharam of America, gathered at Riverside Salem to offer a joint blessing to several seedlings that had been planted at Riverside-Salem.
According to Sunshine, “In Thailand, many people try to cut down trees to make money.”
Because deforestation is a serious environmental issue in Thailand, Buddhist monks have been working to come up with a way to prevent people from cutting down trees. He said the monks were concerned because “we cannot survive without the trees.
“We have to give the trees some power, what the people respect. They respect monks. They respect the robe. So, we have to give ordination to the trees to preserve and protect the trees. And it’s worked. That’s why, in Thailand, most of the temples, especially forest temples, try to preserve the tree by giving them ordination.”