Thanks to my sister Michelle McIlroy for designing the logo!


Ever since I was a child, I have been very interested in nature and the environment. I have a B.S. degree in wildlife biology, and have worked as a zookeeper, wildlife biologist, and ecologist. I am conducting a brief survey of world leaders, government officials, religious leaders, corporate CEOs, environmental groups, wildlife experts, and others regarding nature and the environment. I am also very interested in religious views, customs, and beliefs from around the world, and the interactions between religion, culture, society, and the environment. This is something I am doing out of personal interest, and is not connected to any group or organization. I have been working on this project since the summer of 2006, and hope to eventually turn it into a book and/or documentary. I am hoping to make this into a global project, with responses from all segments of society. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or comments. If you have not already done so, I hope that you will consider taking part in my project, and please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested! Thanks for stopping by!


December 27, 2007

His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche

Garchen Buddhist Institute

Today’s Date: 28 November 2007

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

The biggest impact with an animal was the realization of the Buddha’s teachings on Karma, the law of cause and effect. I have understood that the mind of an animal and the mind of a human are one and the same. There merely is a difference in intelligence and outer appearance. The Buddha has said that through the accumulation of myriad karma there exist a myriad of different sentient beings with a myriad of different bodies. Having realized these words to be the truth I was amazed and strong conviction arose in my mind. We all have the same mind in terms of wishing to be happy, not wanting to surer and our mental afflictions such as ignorance, anger, desire, pride, and jealousy are one and the same. Engaging in certain non-virtuous deeds will lead to rebirth in the realm of the animals. I have seen this clearly. Wisdom and intelligence can block the rebirth as an animal. Lacking wisdom and intelligence one is ignorant and fails to recognize the fault in it. But possessing wisdom one understands the fault in non-virtuous deeds and thus engages in wholesome deeds which will lead to rebirth in more fortunate existences such as the human realm.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

My favorite places were the grassy fields, the forests, lakes, and mountains. I especially enjoyed the animals in the lake.

Now? Now the best places seem to be places of independence. Countries where human rights are observed and where people are free are good places.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

There are different types of animals, some are gentle and some are vicious. Those who are gentle do not cause harm for others and sometimes also have a beautiful appearance and voice. Those are better. There are also vicious animals that are very aggressive and are harming others, those are not so good.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

The biggest challenge is that our mental afflictions are increasing and love and compassion are diminishing. Because the inner mind and the outer elements have a strong connection, the harm of the elements in the form of natural disasters will increase. The only way to dispel this is to cultivate love for all sentient beings and to have a good understanding of the workings of Karma, cause and effect. If everyone would love each other the inner mind of beings would be at peace and in a state of equanimity. Then also the outer elements would come to a balance, a state of equanimity, since there is this strong connection between mind and elements. Then e.g. fire element causing the globe to heat up would be balanced and cause no harm.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Of course we have to use natural resources but we must be careful with overusing them. If we use them in moderation we will be benefited, if we overuse them we will be harmed. We have to protect the resources and the animals, being very skilful. If we focus on cultivating love then this will benefit our environment since we have a strong connection to the environment. The best thing we can do is to improve our mind and cultivate love. If we harm others it will come back to oneself in the future. But people do not know that and therefore harm others as much as they can for their own benefit. But all suffering comes from this attitude. If we cultivate love towards others we will experience happiness. It is just that most beings don’t know this.

Received via postal mail

His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche: A Brief Biography

His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche is a Drikung Kagyu lama who was known in the thirteenth century as the Siddha Gar Chodingpa, a heart disciple of Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon, founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. In ancient India, he had incarnated as Mahasiddha Aryadeva, the lotus-born disciple of the great Nagarjuna. In the seventh century, he was known as Lonpo Gar, the minister of the Tibetan Dharma King Songsten Gampo.

Garchen Rinpoche was recognized and enthroned in eastern Tibet by the former Drikung Kyabgon Zhiwe Lodro. When he was seven, he was brought to Lho Miyal Monastery, which he administered from the age of eleven. Studying and practicing under the direction of the Siddha Chime Dorje, Garchen Rinpoche received vast and profound instructions on the preliminary practices (ngondro), the fivefold practice of Mahamudra and the six yogas of Naropa.

Then, at the age of 22, after completing a two and a half year retreat, he was imprisoned for 20 years during the political turmoil of China's Cultural Revolution. While in the labor camp, he received meditation instruction from his root lama, the Nyingma master Khenpo Munsel. Enduring hardship and practicing secretly, Garchen Rinpoche attained realization of the lama's wisdom mind. Since his release from prison in 1979, Garchen Rinpoche has made great effort to rebuild the Drikung Kagyu monasteries, reestablish the Buddhist teachings, and build two boarding schools for local children in eastern Tibet. Rinpoche is the founder and spiritual director of the Garchen Buddhist Institute in Chino Valley, Arizona.

Garchen Rinpoche is known for his vast realization, as well as for his great kindness.

biography taken from

No comments:

Post a Comment