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Happy Year of the Tiger

February 12, 2009:

As Chinese, Mongolians, Tibetans and others all celebrate their New Year of the Tiger this weekend, faith leaders from all over Northern Asia are thinking about how they can work with the idea of the Tiger Year to promote the protection of tigers and other endangered species.

* Daoists embark on an eight year environmental plan, which includes prohibiting medicine made of endangered species including tigers.

* The Karmapa, head of the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyupa sect, requests his million followers to avoid eating, using or wearing products that may contain tiger parts.

* Chinese Buddhists prohibit eating any wild animals.

The Daoist Eight Year Plan prohibition of Tiger parts

"We prohibit the use of ingredients from endangered animal and plants in any Daoist healthcare food and medicinal remedies.

The entire Eight Year Plan was approved by the China Daoist Association, based in White Cloud Temple. It now represents the long term environmental strategy of all Daoist temples in mainland China. Daoists believe that humanity should obey nature’s rules, maintain the balance of our ecological systems and protect the species that live beside us.

The Karmapa's Open Letter about Tigers

The Karmapa sent the following letter to his followers yesterday evening, in advance of Losar, or New Year:

Buddhism teaches equanimity. We have to show compassion to all sentient beings. All life is equally sacred. Lord Buddha himself in a previous life gave his body to feed a hungry tigress.

Some people have said to me that tigers are a dangerous species and the world would be better off without them, but we need to think carefully. We know the importance of trees and of forests. Within the forest ecosystem there are natural protectors, and the tiger is one of them. You could call the tiger one of the forest's police force. We know from recent reports that there may be as few as 3200 tigers left in the wild in all of Asia. It is no longer a matter of protecting them; we urgently need to save them from extinction now.

When we consider things deeply, we realize that human beings are far more dangerous than tigers, in terms of the harm they have done to the earth, its environment, and to each other throughout human history.

In the start of this new year, Year of the Tiger, I request all of you to avoid eating, using or wearing any products that may contain tiger parts and to do what you can to prevent illegal wildlife trade from happening.

Losar Tashi Delek! Enjoy the Year of the Tiger.

For more details, please visit the Karmapa's website by clicking here

The Shanghai Buddhists prohibit food from wild animals

* The Shanghai Buddhist Eight Year Plan states that "Food from wild animals should never be served [in restaurants or in homes]."

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