(By Kathy Wesley; based on oral advice from Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche. Abbot of KTD Monastery Last revised 12.4.00)

When cutting down trees, it is recommended by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche that we offer gem dust to the local deities who might be disturbed by our taking a tree that they might feel “belongs” to them.
We offer the dust by sprinkling a little on the ground near the tree to be cut down.
Then, using our own words, we should ask the local deities to be patient with our actions, and to take the offering made to them as a gift of treasure. We thank them for their understanding and dedicate the merit of our offering to the benefit of all sentient beings.
(Note from KW: If dust is not available, we can use small semi-precious gemstones, which should be buried in the area to prevent their being taken away by passers-by.)

This traditional Tibetan tree cutting practice of acknowledging and showing respect to the local deities and nature spirits also applies to other activities that may be disturbing to the earth ie. Moving stone walls, clearing land, digging up the ground for new gardens, installing large fences, digging the ground for swimming pools, etc. It is also sometimes recommended to make a food offering(natural foods like fruit and nuts) to the local nature spirits, which will probably be eaten by the local wild life.

[If you don’t have any gemstone dust or semi precious gems you can order them at DharmaGoods.]