Earth Day at KTD, 2016

On April 22-24 KTD held a weekend celebration of Earth Day.

We began on Friday evening by watching the documentary “FLOW: For the Love of Water,” about the worldwide water crisis. The film opened our eyes to the global struggle for clean water, and the reasons why so many people do not have access to clean water.


Saturday morning Khenpo Tenkyong gave a presentation about living in harmony with the planet. He stressed the importance of mediation, particularly focusing on the breath, as a way to become harmonious with our world. After Khenpo’s talk, everyone went outside and planted trees. We began by reciting the Tashi prayer, and after planting each tree we said prayers for the long life of our gurus, families and all beings. Father John from the church next door joined us for some of the planting. Then we saw a presentation about the origin and importance of the Ashokan Resevoir.

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Long Life Tree Ceremony with Khenpo Ugyen and the KTD Lamas

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Water: Source of Life, a presentation on the water of the Catskills and the Ashokan reservoir

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On Saturday afternoon we visited the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. We had a tour of the farm, made a donation, and met and blessed the animals. We played some music and meditated in the beautiful country setting. Many people enjoyed the opportunity to be so close with the animals and nature. We even got to meet the “Dolly llama!” That evening we watched the documentary “Inhabit” about the current permaculture movement. This film offered a very inspiring look at how some people are changing the way we farm the land. Seeing how revitalizing and nourishing permaculture practices can be for the Earth left us feeling hopeful that we can make a positive change for our planet.

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Film Screening: “Inhabit,” about Permaculture


On Sunday morning everyone took a nature walk in Magic Meadow. While in the meadow we spent some time meditating on our breath and on the sounds of nature. Khenpo Ugyen gave an insightful talk relating the natural world to our mind, showing us how our relationship with the Earth can enhance our practice. After the walk, Joseph Cheung talked to us about organic farming and composting, followed by a presentation by Sandy Hu about increasing our “shade of green.” Sandy showed a short video that illustrated how we already have the capability to make a total change in the environmental and social issues of our world today. We just need to take action.

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Do your own organic gardening and composting workshop with Joe Cheung

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“What’s Your Shade of Shade of Green” workshop with Sandy Hu and Robyn Glenney

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Sunday afternoon’s session began with Aileah Kvashay of Clove Valley CSA. Aileah talked about her journey to becoming an organic farmer, the permaculture practices used on her farm, and the way in which her farm emphasizes making human connections. Then we had a cooking demonstration from Wendy Grossman who lead participants in making vegetarian sushi, and demonstrated how to make vegan lasagna.

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Love of Food: Cooking with Chef Wendy Grossman

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After sushi happiness –

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Khenpo Ugyen Tenzin gives final remarks and reflections.

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To close our weekend program, Khenpo Ugyen gave some final remarks, again commenting on the relationship between the external and internal environment. He explained that since the five elements which we observe in the external environment also are present within our bodies, environmental protection is essential. And since taking care of the external environment will benefit countless beings around us, caring for the Earth is in harmony with our spiritual goals. This weekend was an informative, enriching and mind-opening experience for all who participated.

— Lama Zangmo

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Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 22 next year – Earth Day 2017!

Farm and meadow photos,  Grace O’Keeffe