The New International Engaged Buddhism Study Group
2019 Spring Series
April 1 (Mon.)
Guest: Phra Sangkom Thanapanyo Khunsiri
Abbot of the Smart Pagoda, Chonburi, Thailand
Over the last four decades, Japanese companies with the support of the Japanese government have been responsible for vast deforestation in a number of regions in Southeast Asia, including Thailand where most of its forests and deep jungles have been destroyed. This crisis along with a number of other environmental ones causes my industrial development in Thailand have given birth to a strong civil society movement in Thailand to protect and rehabilitate the environment. One of the main actors in this movement are the so-called “Thai Development Monks”, a small but dedicated group of Buddhist monks who live within or on the edges of Thailand’s remained forests.
Today’s guest speaker, Phra Sangkom Thanapanyo Khunsiri, is one of Thailand’s leading environmental and development monks. Starting with efforts to protect jungle near his temple from forest fires, he rehabilitated the watershed and environment around his Temple of Buddha Relics in the hills of Chiang Mai. Working with local villagers, he then established a school for children to learn practical skills of sustainably harvest forest resources to make ecological shampoos, soaps, and other products to develop a right livelihood economy for families struggling in poverty. His most recent activity has been to build the brand new Smart Pagoda in the province of Chonburi east of Bangkok that is ecological in design and uses solar energy to serve its needs. This is integrated into another local school in ecological and right livelihood for children and young adults. Phra Sangkom, together with the abbot of Kenju-in, Rev. Hidehito Okochi, is also a member of the new Eco-Temple Community Development Project under the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), seeking to link like-minded “Development Monks” to create a holistic system of ecological and social development in a variety of regions in Asia.
19:00 Opening and Introduction by Abbot of Kenju-in Temple, Rev. Hidehito Okochi
19:10 Talk by Phra Sangkom
20:00 Questions & Open Discussion
21:00 Conclusion and End
Entrance Fee: none
Jonathan Watts: firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Kenju-in Temple
3-4-14 Koishikawa, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0002
Tel: 03-3812-3711, Fax: 03-3815-7951