For residents of McLeodganj, it was a time to spare a thought for mother earth, earlier this week. And leading them in finding a solution to the problems facing the world were 13 grandmothers, who boasted of a collective wisdom gained over 850 years. The occasion was the fourth international conference of the International Council of Indigenous Grandmothers.
The idea was simple: mother earth is angry due to the widespread destruction caused by us and needs to get healed, for which we need to prey, over and over again.
“Wherever we go, we involve the local communities in praying for world peace and spread awareness about the significance of abiding by the laws of nature so that the next seven generations inherit the same environment as we did,” said Beatrice Long Visitor, South Dakota, USA.
The 13 Indigenous grandmothers come from all over the world --the Arctic Circle, North, South and Central America, Africa, and Asia, arrived at Tibet House's Menla Mountain Retreat amidst 340 acres of forests, fields and streams in upstate New York.
The 13 grandmothers have set out to prove that it’s only a mother can feel the plight of another mother. Little wonder, it all started with a prophesy ringing in their ears to get together to find ways to revive the traditions, rituals, and medicines, which would not only preserve our cultural heritage but would also help in saving earth’s environment.
It was on October 11,2004, that 13 grandmothers from around all the world – the Arctic Circle, North, South, and Central America, Africa, and Asia, arrived at Tibet House's Menla Mountain retreat in Phoenicia, New York for the first Global Grandmothers' Council.
Their teachings represent the universal morality against which we measure our actions, and it provided an example of bringing together the most ancient and modern ways in which women can organise, both personally and politically, to preserve their cultures and take care of the future.
“The earthquakes and floods causing destruction in different parts of the world are a result of the fact that we have made the mother earth angry by breaking its laws. That is why we are out to spread the message of world peace and pray for the mother earth, said Flordamsyo from Amazonia Rainforest, Brazil.
Tsering Dolma Gyaltong, Tibetan, said, “According to the Buddhist philosophy, the welfare of others is more important than self. We have taken upon ourselves to play the crucial role that mothers play in the lives of children.”
“The grandmothers are both women of prayer and women of action. Their traditional ways link them with the forces of the earth. Their solidarity with one another creates a web to rebalance the injustices wrought from an imbalanced world; a world disconnected from the fundamental laws of nature and the original teachings based on a respect for all of life,” said an organiser.
The conference was hosted by Tibetan Grandmother Tsering Dolma Gyaltong, who was one of the founding members who revived the Tibetan Women's Association (TWA). She was instrumental in setting up of over 30 branch offices of the association worldwide. In 1995, Tsering Dolma attended the Fourth World Women's Conference held in Bejing, China. She now resides in Toronto and remains as an advisor to the TWA.
The conference was organised in collaboration with the Tibetan Women’s Association and a large number of locals also participated. It also acted as a platform for cultural exchange between delegates from different parts of the world.
Princess of France, Constance De Polignac was also present at the
conference. She is the Ambassador of the International Council of
Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers.