November 19, 2019
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Compassion in Action: Buddhism and the Environment


– Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Jeff Brenzel
and I teach here at Yale in the Philosophy and
Humanities departments. In my role as Master of
Timothy Dwight College I am also the official steward
of the Chubb Fellowship at Yale University. So it is on behalf of
the Chubb Fellowship, of Timothy Dwight College,
of the President and officers and fellows of Yale
University, the faculty and staff and students of Yale, and the entire New Haven area community that we welcome His
Holiness the 17th Karmapa and His delegation to our
community and to our campus. I want to recognize
briefly the co-sponsors and the other collaborators
who have worked hard to arrange and support the visit of His Holiness and His delegation here to Yale. In addition to the Chubb Fellowship, these are the Yale Himalaya Initiative, the Forum on Religion and Ecology, the Yale Religious Studies Department, the Yale School of Forestry
and Environmental Studies, the Yale Divinity School
and the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. We are particularly grateful, of course, to His Holiness himself
for His generosity of time and spirit in making himself
astonishingly available during His time here, putting
forth a strenuous effort to meet or speak or connect
with so many communities within and without the university who hoped for the opportunity to see and hear Him during His stay here at Yale. I want to make special
mention of the many members of the Tibetan community from
the entire eastern region of the United States,
who have traveled here to be with us this afternoon, as well as many other Buddhist
brothers and sisters from other lands and places. To all of you I want to
extend our warmest welcome. (audience applauding) Here this afternoon His Holiness will be presenting this year’s
Chubb Fellowship address. And I should say just a brief word about the fellowship itself. Hendon Chubb was an 1895 graduate of Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School, and in 1936 he made a substantial
gift to the university with the intent of
encouraging Yale’s students to take a particular
interest in public service. Since 1949, as Hendon
Chubb himself approved, the university has used his endowment to underwrite a visiting speakers program bringing extraordinary
public figures to the campus. Past Chubb fellows include four presidents of the United States, presidents
of eight other countries, Nobel and other
international prize winners, and more than 150 other regional, national and internationally prominent persons, all of whom have been noteworthy
in some particular way for their personal distinction in service to the common good of all. It is now my honor to ask
Andrew Quintman to the podium. Professor Quintman teaches at Yale in the Department of Religious Studies, where he specializes in the
Buddhist traditions of Tibet and the Himalaya. His work surveys Buddhist
literature and history, sacred geography and pilgrimage, and the visual cultures of
the wider Himalayan region. He has written several books
on the early Tibetan saint Milarepa, including an English translation of The Life of Milarepa,
who is a founding figure in the Karmapa’s Lineage. Please welcome professor Quintman. (audience applauding) – Thank you, Jeff. Good afternoon. It is my great pleasure and distinct honor to introduce His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who
will share with us today His insight and vision
on three crucial topics for our time: compassion,
religion, and the environment. In 1949, at the request of
Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, 100 volumes of the Tibetan Buddhist Canon were printed from wood blocks in Lhasa,
wrapped in leather satchels and loaded onto ponies. They traveled by caravan to Calcutta and then freighter to New Haven,
where they arrived in 1950 and were installed in the
library with great ceremony. This gift presented to Yale
by the current Dalai Lama, who was only 14 years old
at the time and still living in Lhasa, planted a seed of
Yale’s connection to Tibet, a seed that has now
taken root and blossomed with the visit by His
Holiness the Karmapa. The Karmapa is part of a Tibetan tradition of formally recognized
reincarnations known as Tulku, wherein a young child is
identified as the re-embodiment of a deceased master. The Karmapas are the head
of the Karma Kagyu branch of Tibetan Buddhism, and are the oldest such reincarnation lineage
in the Himalayan region, extending back some 900 years. His Holiness Ogyen Trinley
Dorje is the 17th in his line. The first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa, was born in the early 12th century, and
is said to have left a letter for telling the conditions
of his future rebirth. Since then such prediction
letters have become a hallmark of the lineage, and together
with other religious signs, have been used to identify
subsequent Karmapas. The second Karmapa, Karma
Pakshi, was renowned for his spiritual mastery,
which led to his invitation to the court of Kublai Khan. The third Karmapa,
Rangjung Dorje, was famous for his exegesis on philosophy
and esoteric Buddhist theory. And subsequent Karmapas became consummate religious teachers, great
scholars, virtuoso meditators, artists and poets. They were also teachers who
carried out the activities of a Buddha, as the title Karmapa
is sometimes etymologized. The 16th Karmapa, Rangjung
Rigpe Dorje, fled Tibet in 1959 and established a monastic
seat in Sikkim, India. He is remembered for his
great love of animals, especially birds, and also for his ability to communicate with them. The 16th was part of an early
wave of Tibetan teachers who brought traditional
Buddhist teachings to the West. He visited the United States first in 1974 and again in 1977. And during this period he established a major monastic center
outside Woodstock, New York, which now has dozens of affiliated centers around the world. Ogyen Trinley Dorje was born
in 1985 in Eastern Tibet, and based upon his
predecessors prediction letter and testament he was
recognized and then enthroned as the 17th Karmapa at
the traditional monastery of his lineage at
Tsurphu in Central Tibet. And I was fortunate to meet
His Holiness numerous times at Tsurphu, and it was clear even then that he was an extraordinary individual. In 1999 he determined
that he was no longer able to receive an adequate
religious education inside Tibet and so, over the course of
eight days, in late December and early January, he
undertook a harrowing journey across the Himalayan range. The story is quite dramatic. It includes a daring escape
through an upper storey window of the monastery, a trek
across frozen mountain passes and horseback travel
through Northern Nepal. He eventually reached Dharamsala in India, where he maintains a close relationship with another of Tibet’s
great religious figures, the 14th Dalai Lama. At 29 years old, His Holiness
is already recognized as a leading religious
figure of his generation, as an accomplished Buddhist teacher. But he is also a prolific
artist, poet and playwright. He is a religious reformer
dedicated to gender equality and the restoration of Bhikṣuṇī or full monastic ordination for women. He’s a social activist
committed to human rights, vegetarianism and the
ethical treatment of animals. He is an environmentalist
focused on the protection of Himalayan landscapes
and natural resources through an eco-monastic
program called Khoryug, the Tibetan word for environment, that networks more than
50 religious institutions across the Himalaya. In His Holiness’s own
words, “Whatever it is I do, “I wanted to have a
long-term visible impact “and for it to be practical. “If I have the opportunity,
I would most like “to restore the natural
environment in the Himalayas “and Tibet and to especially
protect the forests, “the water and the
wildlife of the region.” And I think it is not
an exaggeration to say that His Holiness the 17th Karmapa will revolutionize Buddhism, not only in the Tibetan tradition
but also on a global scale. The reach of the Karmapa’s
activities is reflected in the way that his visit
has brought people across… Has brought people together
across Yale University, from the Arts and
Sciences to Public Health and Environmental Studies, faculty, graduate students and undergraduates. Some time ago, long before
His Holiness’s visit had been publicly announced,
one of the eight Tibetans who works at Yale appeared in my office and enthusiastically said, “I
read the Karmapa is coming!” Well, he was. Today’s address, entitled
Compassion in Action: Buddhism and the Environment,
is the direct result of converging interests, or
as Buddhists like to say, of causes and conditions,
that span the University and its wider community. So the seed first
planted some 65 years ago has now begun to flower. So please join me now in
welcoming His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. (audience applauding) You want to stand next
to me or you wanna sit? It’s just for a minute. (audience applauding) So thank you Your Holiness. So let me conclude with just a few words about today’s program. Following His Holiness’s address, he will be joined on stage by myself and my colleague Mary Evelyn
Tucker for a short conversation about the main themes
of the talk: compassion, religion and the environment. Mary Evelyn is a senior
lecturer and research scholar at Yale University, where she teaches in a joint Master’s degree
program between the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Yale Divinity School. And she is also, and
perhaps more importantly, the director of the Forum
on Religion and Ecology at Yale together with
her husband John Grim. The program will conclude
with an opportunity for His Holiness to address
questions from the audience. Now, over the past week or
so, we’ve collected questions by email from those who
would attend today’s address and we have received an
enthusiastic response and have selected a
representative sample of them. So I would be remiss if
I did not acknowledge at least a few individuals
who were instrumental in making His Holiness’s
visit to Yale possible. So my heartfelt thanks go, of course, to the Chubb Fellowship,
to Master Jeff Brenzel and Susan Wiggler, to George
Joseph of the Macmillan Center for International and Area
Studies, and, of course, to the incredible staff,
the indefatigable staff of the Yale Himalaya Initiative, including program director Alark Saxena, Anobha Gurung, Priyankar
Chand and Sangye Dorje. So Your Holiness. – Thank you.
– Thank you. (speaking in foreign language) – [Interpreter] First
I’d like to welcome each and every one of you. Tashi Delek. (speaking in foreign language) – Tashi Delek means may you be filled with auspicious goodness and joy. (speaking in foreign language) – And I would also like to thank
everyone at Yale University who has been responsible for inviting me and giving me this opportunity to be here. (speaking in foreign language) – And I would also like
to thank all of you who have come here today. (speaking in foreign language) (coughing) (speaking in foreign language) – This is my third visit to
the United States of America, and whenever I come here I have
a special feeling of freedom and joy, especially this
time, the third time, as I’ve been visiting
several universities. I’ve been overjoyed by
the experience of meeting with many students and
witnessing a little bit of their study and university life. (coughs) (speaking in foreign language) – Now, the topic you’ve asked
me to address is compassion and the environment. (speaking in foreign language) – To give you a little bit of background, many people have asked
me, “What inspired you “to become so concerned
about the environment?” So I’m gonna talk a little
bit about that to begin. (speaking in foreign language) – I was born in a quite
isolated part of Eastern Tibet, and where I was born there had been no great modern development, so I lived in a very natural and somewhat pristine environment. Until I was seven, this
was the only environment in which I lived. So I experienced firsthand
as a child a feeling of intimate connection with
the natural environment, and I retained to this day a constant and extremely clear recollection of this. (speaking in foreign language) – For example, where
I was born we regarded and experienced our environment as a living system, living beings. The mountains, the sources
of water were all regarded as the dwelling places of
what I would call holy spirits of various kinds. We therefore respected every
aspect of the environment as part of a living system. We didn’t wash our
clothes or even our hands in a flowing water sources. We didn’t cast any kind of garbage or any kind of other pollutant
into the fire in our hearth. So we regarded the entire
environment as innately sacred. (speaking in foreign language) – One of the challenges
that those who live in such an environment
face nowadays is the use of artificial and non
biodegradable substances, because for the first
time they have to deal with real garbage. We didn’t really have garbage because we used pretty well everything up, and anything that we did dispose of was easily biodegradable. And now, because of the
introduction of artificial materials that are not biodegradable,
we have to come up with new ways to dispose of them. And so this, to give you one example, is changing the lifestyle
of people in such places. (speaking in foreign language) – Obviously, as a child, I
had no knowledge of philosophy or science, but I had a strong
emotional connection with and strong feelings for the environment, which means that now that I’ve
begun to acquire a little bit of knowledge, it isn’t
just knowledge for me, it’s based on my strong feelings. (speaking in foreign language) – I think that in order to
understand the necessity of environmental protection,
we need to understand how connected we are to one
another and to our environment. So, in order to understand
our connectedness, I think we need to
understand interdependence. (speaking in foreign language) – Lots of echo. – Yeah, I’m having a really
hard time hearing, I’m sorry. – What do we do? – I don’t know. Maybe if I move back. – Really? – Might be better. (mumbling) (audience laughing) – Maybe you can sit down? – No. (mumbling) (laughing) (mumbling) (speaking in foreign language) – For example, for us to
acquire or eat any food, have clothes to wear or even
to have the bodies we do, all of these things require
the interconnectedness of many aspects of many
things and many people within the environment. (speaking in foreign language) – The value of understanding
interdependence in this regard is that we often feel at some
distance from our environment. We divide the world into
subject and object and we feel that the external environment is an object separated from us by some kind of boundary and at some distance from we,
from ourselves as subjects. We need to dissolve
this artificial boundary and decrease the distance
between ourselves and our environment. (speaking in foreign language) – And I think if we do that we can begin to feel how connected we
are to our environment and how little distance, if any, there really is between
ourselves and our environment. (speaking in foreign language) – In Tibetan we often
refer to the relationship between the external
environment and the beings who inhabit that environment
as the relationship between a container and its contents. We are all held by and within
the environment we inhabit. We are like the contents
or even the nutrients within such an environment, and it seems that it’s
necessary for us to begin to acknowledge that interrelationship. (speaking in foreign language) – We therefore also need
to acknowledge the fact that our environment can affect us and we can also affect our environment. Some people have the idea that
the environment is so vast and so primordial that nothing
we do is actually going to affect it. Unfortunately, that’s been
proven not to be the case, and we need to begin to
acknowledge the interdependence, that the aspect of interdependence, that is our effect on the environment, even as our environment affects us. (speaking in foreign language) – Well, we need to
acknowledge these things. Mere knowledge or
understanding alone, of course, is not enough. One of our problems is that
we tend to separate ourselves as persons from our
knowledge or understanding. And if we understand
or know about the need for environmental protection,
but do not apply it in our daily lives, we’re not
going to achieve anything. Our knowledge or understanding
has to become so intimate, so personal to us, that it
naturally changes our behavior, that we feel it emotionally
and in our hearts. (speaking in foreign language) – We need therefore to
reflect upon the fact that our knowledge of the
environment really is a knowledge of something that’s going
to affect our lives, a knowledge of something that is going to affect our well-being. (speaking in foreign language) – And I think it is in
that regard that spiritual and religious traditions
can serve the cause of environmental stewardship. (speaking in foreign language) – And when I say religious traditions, I don’t just mean Buddhist traditions, I mean every religious
tradition in this world can play its part, and I’m
confident that if we do this, if we work together, if
we apply the knowledge that is embodied in the
many indigenous cultures that have survived, the ancient
wisdom of our ancestors, we will be able to discover together that environmental protection
is not just a point of view, not just science, but
must be a way of life. (speaking in foreign language) – At various times in our history, science and religion have seemed to be
contradictory to one another, have even become enemies,
attacked one another, or, to be more polite, refuted one another. But really there is a great
commonality of experience that we all share. We’re all human beings
living in the same world, relying on the same environment. And therefore, on that basis, on the basis of acknowledging our shared
or common experience, we have to accept that the
protection of this environment is beyond the views of any one religion. (speaking in foreign language) – If we base our approach
to environmental stewardship on being loving and compassionate, there should be no contradiction between science and spirituality. We can share, undertake and
share our common responsibility for this environment, and
in that way actually put into practice and make
practical use of the information that scientists give us
about the environment, and not live as though
we are in denial of it. (speaking in foreign language) – The Himalaya, including the Tibetan… And the Tibetan plateau are
considered a treasury of water that feed the great rivers of Asia and therefore supply so much water that the, sometimes, the
Himalaya is called a third Pole. Therefore we have to
be especially concerned with the environment in the Himalaya and conservation of water there. So what we have tried to do is
train monasteries in best… Himalayan monasteries in
best environmental practices so that they can then
present these to their local or neighboring communities. (speaking in foreign language) – When this subject was first
introduced to representatives of these monasteries,
they were immediately emotionally affected and
demonstrated tremendous commitment to environmental
stewardship in their region, but at the same time we
lack a scientific knowledge and technical expertise. So in order to do this we need the support of the scientific community
and the assistance of the scientific community. And I mentioned this as an example of how, in order to preserve our environment, we all need to work together and offer our individual
skills and knowledge. (speaking in foreign language) – I’m going to end my initial
address or talk with that and we’ll begin the conversation. Before we do, however, I
again want to thank each and every one of you for coming here, and convey to you my sincere delight in having this opportunity. – Thank you. Thank you. (audience applauding) (coughs) (audience applauding) – Thank you. – [Andrew] (mumbling) glass of water. – Thank you Your Holiness,
and thank you translator. – Yeah. – We wanted to begin by
picking up on a point that you’ve made earlier– – Yes. – About the route of compassion
is having a steadfast heart, the power of the heart. And this work with the environment for many people can be discouraging because it’s so overwhelming right now. So could you speak about this
need for a steadfast heart, the power of the heart in compassion? – Mm-hm. (speaking in foreign language) – Well, first of all, I would
say that many activists, and especially environmental activists, naturally become highly
emotionally invested in their activism. And when after years and
years of very hard work they don’t see a great deal of result, they can become a little
bit embittered and angry. (clears throat) (speaking in foreign language) (interpreter laughs) – And if you spend enough time listening to one dire prediction about the future of this planet after another
from environmental scientists, even we listeners can develop a little bit of a problem in our brains. (Mary laughs) – Yeah. (speaking in foreign language) – I think there are two
levels or types of activism, and the one is what we all practice. We can practice it by being supportive of intensive activism, but
even if we are in denial of the need for environmental activism, because we’re having an
effect on the environment, you can call it a type of mirror activism. (speaking in foreign language) – The other type of activist
is what we would normally refer to as a non environmental activist. And that’s someone who
intentionally undertakes responsibility and puts great
effort into the achievement of, in this case, environmental
goals and changes. I think that one thing
that’s very important is for those of us who are
less directly involved to take some responsibility
and be supportive as much as we can of
environmental activism, because if you look at the situation, there is absolutely no reason not to support environmental activism. (speaking in foreign language) – To use myself as an
example, I’m a vegetarian. And becoming vegetarian,
which in my case is partly for environmental reasons, is something that anyone can do. It doesn’t require an organization, it doesn’t require extensive
scientific knowledge or anything like that. But, nevertheless, as simple as it is, when you do that, when you
make that kind of change in your life, it’s very
encouraging, because you realize that you’re not without power, you have the ability, even as one person, to do at least something
that is beneficial to the environment. (speaking in foreign language) – I think that the greatest
source of courage for us in environmental stewardship comes from making such simple
changes in our lives and realizing how much power we do have. – Yes. – [Andrew] Thank you. – [Mary] Thank you. – So Your Holiness, just to
follow up on that last point, you raised the question
in The Heart is Noble, where you said, “What
does it take for our ideas “to move our heart so that
is what is it that moves us “to overcome our habits and
desires like meat-eating “or mass consumerism?” So I wonder if you could say a little bit about what it means to
move past good intentions and move into actual action. – Lots of echo, actually. (speaking in foreign language) – Oh, so consumerism
are you talking about? – Yes.
– Sure. – Oh, yeah, yeah. (speaking in foreign language) – You mean how to bridge–
– Yeah. – Good intentions into… (speaking in foreign language) – Actually, you can repeat that, I guess? – [Andrew] Sure. – I’m sorry. – Your Holiness, you mentioned yourself you’ve written before and
in talks that you’ve given that when you were quite
young you were fond of eating meat but you
had the good intention of giving that up. You’re now–
– Yeah. – A vegetarian
– Yes. – And that is taking a good
intention and putting it into– – Still I like meat. But it’s okay. – But many people wonder
how to take a good intention and to actually put it into practice. – Okay. (audience laughing) Put it into practice. (speaking in foreign language) – Well, to use the example you
brought up, my vegetarianism, as you mentioned, as a child I ate meat. In fact, I only stopped eating
meat about eight years ago. So I kept on eating meat for many years, but I knew it was wrong. I still ate it. (speaking in foreign language) – In that type of case, I think that… The bridge is a type of
compassion, a type of courage, the power of your heart. And by the power of your heart I mean that which enables us to
decide once and for all to take responsibility for our own actions as individuals, to be able to
commit ourselves to accepting and fulfilling our
responsibilities as a person. (speaking in foreign language) – So the bridge is that
a mere understanding become more emotionally felt, and a deep emotional feeling
based on understanding will inspire us to take action once we listen to the
advice of our hearts. – Thank you.
– Thank you. – You spoke on science and religion, a very important topic,
a very complex topic. I’d love you to speak a little bit more because for many years– – Mm-hm. – Scientists have been speaking– – Yeah.
– About climate change and the environment. And now there’s a new moment
when some scientists are saying this is no longer an
issue of science alone but a moral issue. – Mm-hm. – And that’s what your work encourages us in this new dialogue of
science and religion. Can you speak on that? (speaking in foreign language) (interpreter sighs) – As you said, environmental
protection or conservation is fundamentally a moral issue. And the reason, the founding,
the crucial factor in it that makes it a moral issue
is that the degradation or destruction of the
environment has been caused by human greed. And our human greed, bad
enough as it is to start with, has only been exacerbated
and fed by our media and our advertising industry. The problem we face therefore
is that human desire is limitless, but environmental
resources are limited. And therefore it is our
responsibility as those who depend on these resources to rein in and control our greed. In order that we start
doing so it is essential that religious leaders, spiritual leaders, spiritual teachers, not only preach about individual practice issues or individual moral codes
but also about global issues and that they provide moral guidance on environmental stewardship, because they are the ones
who can evoke feeling, evoke enthusiasm, evoke
an emotional commitment in their followers. Until we accept the fact
that our environment is not external to us, it pervades us, it’s within our bodies
and our minds as well, it will be difficult for
us to change our behavior. But the key to becoming really motivated, to change the way we
live, and thereby begin to heal the environment, the
key that will open the door to that type of motivation,
seems to be in the hands of those religious and spiritual
leaders who are willing to provide moral guidance
concerning the environment that is based on sound
scientific knowledge. – [Andrew] Thank you. – Thank you. – Thank you. So to take the conversation in a slightly different direction, Your Holiness, you
spoke about the practice of dissolving the distinction
between subject and object, the inner and outer worlds. And, of course, there are many techniques for putting that into
practice in meditation. We can study about that,
you can practice it, but I wonder, does the
practice of cultivating, of dissolving that
distinction naturally lead to a feeling of connection
for the environment, for an appreciation of the environment? – No. Appreciation. (speaking in foreign language) – We have a number of
meditation practices, as you mentioned in
your question, concerned with dissolvering, dissolving, excuse me, the false boundary between self and other. One of these is contemplating
the equality of oneself and others, which is
fundamentally developing an empathetic recognition that
just as I want to be happy and not suffer so do others, and that in that we’re exactly the same. And once you have taken this to heart, then of course you have
to put it into practice and live accordingly. We also do meditations on
exchanging one’s self for others, where you actually imagine
yourself in the position of another and that other
in the position of yourself, and you try to imagine as
wholeheartedly as 100% as possible how they feel, what they’re going through, and then apply that. So there should be ways to
extrapolate from these techniques and apply them to environmental awareness. (speaking in foreign language) – For example, if we think
about the fact that trees, so to speak, breathe out,
what we need to breathe in, oxygen, and we breathe out carbon dioxide, which they seem to need to,
so to speak, breathe in, so that our exhaust is their air and their exhaust is our air, it’s… This is something we don’t need
to imagine, this is a fact. So, if you contemplate that,
just the interrelationship or interconnectedness of
breathing, of our breathing and the vegetation, things that grow, that could be a meditation
technique in and of itself, because if you feel that, you realize that we’re really two
parts of one whole machine or one whole system. – We wanted to give a
chance for a few questions from the audience which
were submitted in advance. So maybe two. – Yeah, two. – I look at some very good questions. – Thank you. – The first one is on climate change. – Mm-hm. – Climate change or global warming appears to be the world’s greatest crisis, but there are many people who
deny global warming exists. What advice would you give
to working with people in the government who
believe there is no need to protect the environment? (sighing) (laughing) – I don’t have all the solutions. (laughing) (audience applauding) I think this is… Oh. – You don’t have to answer it. – Yeah. (laughing) – Maybe. Oh, yeah, this… (speaking in foreign language) (interpreter laughs) (speaking in foreign language) (interpreter sighs) – Well, the climate
change is a huge process. It’s very vast, it has all
kinds of sub bits and pieces, and it’s somewhat a gradual process, so that we don’t directly feel
it or notice it day by day. By the time that we all
feel climate change, it will be far too late
to do anything about it. So there really are two
levels of denial here. There’s the denial of those who are actual climate change deniers: politicians and others. And then there’s the denial
that most of us live in of climate change, where because
we don’t actually feel it it’s not really in our
minds most of the time. And then there are little
pockets of odd reactions. For example, Tibetans… Tibet is a very cold country. It’s often hard to get warm enough, and so the global warming,
some Tibetans have greeted this with enthusiasm, (Mary laughs)
thinking it doesn’t get as cold as it used to,
it’s much more pleasant. As for what to do about
politicians and others who are active or outspoken
climate change deniers, the best thing might
be to appeal to support from religious and spiritual leaders because they have so much influence over their respective
communities or devotees. – [Andrew] Yes. – Thank you.
– Thank you. – So Your Holiness, the last
question is one a number of our undergraduate students asked, and that is how can students
in a university like Yale organize themselves to take
fruitful and positive action for the environment? What can they do that’s practical? (sighing) (speaking in foreign language) – Of course there are several
things we can do as groups or communities, the usual types
of environmental activism, demonstrations, raising
our voice and so on, but fundamentally each of us
has to start with ourselves, because the only solid basis
for the type of courage it’s going to take to
actually make these changes comes when you have made
changes in your own life and have begun to feel
the effects of that, and that courage can’t
be taken away from you, so you won’t lose it in the process of a long career of activism. Otherwise, if we attempt to
change or convince others to change without having changed the way we live our lives ourselves,
we will be fueling ourselves not with an internal courage
but with expectations. And when others don’t change
the way we would like them to, we’ll become disillusioned and possibly totally
burned out altogether. So we have to start whatever
we may do, on a social or communal level, we have to start by making individual
changes in our own lives. And then another thing
that is necessary is to have a support community, a
supportive community of those who share one’s own environmental
aspirations and ideals. – Thank you. – [Andrew] Thank you. – Thank you.
– Thank you. – We’d like to conclude
by thanking His Holiness for reigniting hope this evening. And I’d like to say it was 20 years ago that we began a project
at Harvard actually with one of the first conferences
on Buddhism and ecology. – Yes.
– And then the other world religions and ecology. But it is our great joy that
Yale has picked up this idea that religions and
ecology can work together, which you have highlighted today. And our school of Forestry
and Environmental Studies, with the students there and
students from Religious Studies and Divinity, I think are giving us hope because they understand this, they want to work with your communities, and we want to figure
ways into the future. I want to end though with a special thanks to our Dean, Peter Crane,
who has held up this effort between the School of Forestry Environmental
Studies and Divinity. And tomorrow night we’re going
to continue the conversation with Peter Crane, scientists,
ethicists and so on between these two schools to examine the new papal encyclical
which will be coming out this summer exactly on this issue, which can affect a billion Catholics, two billion Christians, but be
in dialogue with the efforts that you’re doing. So tomorrow night at Lindsay
Hall on High Street at 5:30, we invite you to join in this discussion that will complement the wonderful words that you have given us tonight. Thank you for your hope and
please come back to Yale. – Yes.
– Visit us. – Please do come back.
– Thank you. (audience applauding) – Thanks a lot. – Thank you so much. – Thank you. – [Andrew] Thank you. (chiming music)

Jean Kelley

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