Blessing Trees in Chiang Mai
I’ve mentioned numerous times in my previous posts, I volunteered at a place called Elephant Nature Park while I was in Thailand. During that time, my volunteer coordinators took us on a few extra outings and I had the unique opportunity to take a walk down the road from the sanctuary and bless trees within the vicinity. You might be wondering how a non-religious person/a person not religiously qualified(monk, priest, shaman, etc.) could possibly bless a tree on their own, and you wouldn’t be alone. Before we departed, a group of us stood in the elephant kitchen with piles and piled of blessed monk robes. Piece by piece, we shredded the robes into long strips, dividing them up equally amongst all volunteers. We must have looked an odd sight to the tourists piled in the back of day trip trucks as we walked along the winding mountain road, a bunch of foreigners with long orange cloth bunched messily around our necks. With a small group of dogs following closely behind us, we ventured off the road and climbed into the trees, hauling ourselves up the muddy hills by a combination of branch-grabbing, hand-pulling and leaping. It wasn’t until we got closer that we realized many of the trees had been blessed by volunteers before us, the orange robes tied around the tree trunks having turned dirty and brown over the years. In an effort to decrease logging and deforestation, blessed monk robes are tied around the trees. Most Thai’s are very religious people and even the illegal loggers will not cut down a tree that has been blessed, for it’s said to be extremely bad luck. That afternoon was then spent blessing as many trees as we could with the robes that we were given. That afternoon gave me alot to think about the way we live on this side of the world. That day, a few volunteers blessed a few trees with monk robes. An act that small, done by each set of volunteers that pass through, has now saved hundreds of trees that likely could have been cut down otherwise. It truly is the small acts that can make an impact on the world, so I would encourage everyone to try do one small act of compassion each day. A smile to someone having a bad day, a sandwich to the man that you would usually just ignore. One small act can make a huge difference if everyone is doing something little. So be kind, everyone!