India Adventure (23): Kinder Silk?

A friend found what (Khadi) seems to be a more ethical form of silk available in India, made from silk cocoons naturally broken open by the moths within, who then fly free. (Conventional silk is made by boiling cocoons with the insect within, so as to not break the silk threads for unravelling.)

Came across this online – ‘The counter argument is that the moths will overpopulate and become pests. However… the worm-larva-pupa-moth cycle takes place out in the open, in mulberry trees. The only difference is that his farmers collect the cocoon before the moth hatches to be able to appropriate it when the moth frees itself.’

So, there is still ‘stealing’ the cocoons away – even if it is just for a while. It might be confusing for the moth’s family and friends who can’t find or identify the moth that returns? It might also be confusing for the moth to find home? Think it’s still better to leave nature alone by not supporting any animal products!

When we met His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, we didn’t have any katas (which are made of silk) for offering and blessing with us. Katas in Tibetan tradition are used to honour a lama, to bid farewell, or congratulate. They are usually white and embossed with the eight auspicious symbols (infinite l knot, twin fish, vase, conch, parasol, victory banner, lotus and Dharma wheel). The whiteness express that the giver comes with pure intentions without negative desires or ulterior motives.

Though the meeting was already semi-decided, I was unwilling to buy a katha, to add to the demand for silk. The friends who arranged for the meeting managed to pass (not buy) us a couple of kathas at the last minute, which he didn’t need back. We used the same kathas when we met His Holiness the 17th Karmapa later too, living up to his recommendation that kathas should be reused!

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