STATEMENT FROM PHRA PAISAL VISALO Wat Pa Sukato Forest Monastery, Chaiyapum, Thailand
Wat Pa Sukato Forest Monastery, Chaiyapum, Thailand
People of Thailand have had a long peaceful relationship with elephants in past centuries. Some even raised them as family members. The elephant also has appeared on Thailand’s national flags. All of this shows the importance of elephants in Thai culture.
Speaking beyond Thailand, however, we should respect elephants since they are a species with a high level of intelligence and their family life is not so different from human beings. In fact, we should respect all living creatures since they all have a right to live on this very earth. Some have long existed before humankind. However, the situation today is so different and elephants in Asian and African countries are immensely threatened and killed. A large number of African elephants have been slain for their ivory. It is found that the illegal trade of ivory in Thailand is second highest in the world with the total amount of about 20,000 kilogrammes . This is something that Thai people should feel some responsibility for.
If Thailand is able to prevent the illegal trade of ivory, a lot of elephant lives will be spared. So we must make the country be free of the trade and must prevent Thailand to be a transit point for ivory trade. We must put a stop to the demand for ivory which is used as a material for sacred items such as Buddha sculptures and amulets worshipped and sold in many temples, as well as ivory pieces of decoration. The source of ivory used in such items is slain elephants that were killed by poachers, not elephants that died naturally. If we reduce the demand for items made from ivory, we can save many lives of elephants.
I beg the Buddhists in Thailand, who know well that the killing is a sin, to stop using any items made from ivory and stop buying ivory Buddha statues or other ivory sacred pieces. This is the great way of merit making which will echo into the healthy nature of other continents eventually.