These days the environment—the source of life for all beings in the world including Tibet, the Land of Snows—is undergoing extensive degeneration. At this time, it is extremely important that every human being, according to his or her ability, consistently puts effort into ensuring the conservation and protection of this planet’s environment and its inhabitants.
The benefits of an undefiled environment are many; for instance, a healthy tree purifies the air and supplies oxygen for living beings to breathe. It harmonizes the elements and increases life expectancy. Its shade provides a refreshing place to rest. It brings rain at the right time. It nourishes crops and livestock, and balances the temperature. It contributes to an attractive landscape and continually replenishes its surroundings. It brings about natural development in the spheres of education, economics and so forth.
The drawbacks of a polluted environment include a decline in the pure, cool qualities of the oceans and lakes, so that the creatures dwelling in those places are disturbed. The loss of vegetation and forests causes degeneration in the earth’s nourishment.
Rain does not fall when it is needed. Unprecedented fierce storms rage, and so on. So there are many disadvantages.
From the Dharma point of view our teacher, the king of Shakya, was also born at the foot of a tree. He attained enlightenment under a tree, and finally passed away under a tree. Particularly in the Vinaya of the holy Dharma, fully ordained monks are taught how to nurture trees and so on. From that we can understand that planting and nurturing trees are virtuous acts. Moreover, the wise deities of the non-mundane worlds, as well as various local devas, nagas, and spirits, inhabit trees. That also leads us to understand that trees are by nature extremely important.
It is generally beneficial to plant various types of trees, as mentioned above. In particular, fruit trees provide a living and nourishment predominantly for humans, as well as benefit to many other sentient creatures. They help to improve health and increase appetite, and so forth. So it certainly is important to plant trees.