Temples lead the way in creating green spaces
Planting trees in urban areas is very important because it creates green spaces and helps to preserve the natural environment amid large areas of concrete buildings.
|Venerable Daosadeth Leuthmany explains the benefits of trees.
Tree planting is part of the clean and green strategy being implemented by Vientiane authorities to beautify the city as part of a long-term goal to develop the capital as a peaceful, clean, green, attractive, well-lit and civilised town.
Now a new temple in Xokkham village, Xaysettha district, is trying to set an example in tree planting and the protection and preservation of the natural environment.
Despite being in the city the monks there hope to inspire others in the community to follow suit and recently organised a special project to plant hundreds of trees donated by devotees.
The project aims to provide a green and natural place for the local community.
It is hoped the project will spark a similar enthusiasm for nature at other temples in Vientiane.
A tree planting session at the temple on August 14 was led by the temple abbot, the Venerable Daosadeth Leuthmany, and attended by a large number of local people.
The trees were planted on more than 2,000 square metres out of the total 5,000 square metres of grounds at the temple.
The temple is in the northeast of the village and is the second to be built in Xokkham village after being established just a few years ago.
This temple is not set among trees as many others are, but is situated in a field. However, the abbot wanted to bring trees to the temple and so the idea for the project was born.
The Venerable Daosadeth said he decided on the project and encouraged people to plant trees there because he believed in the importance of a green environment and the preservation of nature, and wanted to remind people of the importance of trees.
I am very happy to organise the project and I am sure that when these trees are mature they will help to protect the city environment in some way. They will benefit the villagers because most of them have edible parts and can be used to make traditional medicine. This was the temple's first tree planting project and many people have taken part. The project aims to create a forest temple within the community, so that it's a good spot for villagers and visitors who want to relax in a quiet and peaceful place.
As we know, temples are important places for villagers because they are central to local culture. The temple is also an appropriate place for Dhamma practice and well liked by people in search of a quiet spot. According to Buddhist history, the Buddha lived among nature and spent a lot of time under a tree. We have all read about how he was born, practiced his principles, became enlightened, preached, and passed away under a tree. So, all temples in urban areas as well as offices should plant more trees to preserve the natural environment, the Venerable Daosadeuth explained.
It is unfortunate that so many trees are felled in towns on a daily basis to make way for commercial developments. These contribute to localised climate change and accelerate global warming.
Commerical organisations too can plant trees around their offices to create a green space and freshen the atmosphere, and temples are also doing their bit to preserve the natural environment.
These days it's not easy to find a temple that still has big trees in the grounds because most of them have been cut down. But there are some temples in Vientiane that have tried to preserve them and now the new temple in Xokkham village is also trying to develop a green oasis.
There are only a few areas and temples in Vientiane where trees have been preserved. Most of these are believed to be in sacred spots and no one dares to fell them. In other places, respect for these magnificent life forms has waned, and all too many have been uprooted.
Among the temples in Vientiane that have managed to maintain their trees are those in Sokpaluang and Dongsavath villages in Sisattanak district; the forest temple in Nongbuathongtay village, Sikhottabong district; the forest temple in Nakhounnoy village, Naxaithong district; and the temple in Dongmakkhai village, Xaythany district.
Despite rapid industrial and commercial growth in Vientiane, these temples have attempted to maintain their natural environment over the years and hold tree planting activities each year.
T hese temples are surrounded by large trees, with many used to make traditional remedies for common ailments.
They are quiet temples set in a beautiful natural environment and hold activities that promote Dhamma practices, especially in the dry season.
As quiet and peaceful places they are suitable for meditation and people like to visit these temples to calm their minds.
During Buddhist Lent people stay in temples for a few days or longer time to meditate and comply with the five or eight Buddhist precepts.
By Visith Teppalath
(Latest Update September 10 , 2016)