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ARC conference with monks in Bhutan makes front page news today

September 7, 2011:

The first conference on Compassion and Conservation in Bhutan made the front page of leading Bhutan newspaper Kuensel this morning.

"'Reds' all for 'green' cremation" was the headline of the article, which led with a decision made yesterday by the dratsang, or monastic body (known for wearing red) to promote cremations without using firewood. This would save thousands of trees from being felled every year.

An electric incinerator was established at the Thimphu crematorium more than ten years ago, but it has scarcely been used.

In addition the participants suggested alternatives to prayer flags (currently when someone dies it is customary to erect 108 mani flags, each on a separate, freshly cut tree stem, which is later burned). As Kuensel reports, between June 2007 and June 2008 some 60,178 trees were felled to meet the demand for poles.

Alternatives could include bamboo which is fast growing, or steel posts which will last for a long time.

Additional topics under discussion include mentoring communities in conservation methods, working with scientists,

The meeting included 19 of the 20 senior abbots from all provinces in Bhutan, as well as 44 other monks and nuns. It was organised by the Bhutanese sangha, in partnership with ARC and The Tributary Fund.

ARC previously partnered on helping the Mongolian Buddhist sangha create a Long Term Environment Plan, and it is hoped that this will also be part of the Bhutanese dratsang's future inititatives.

A full report will be available later.

The story can be read in full here.

Links

"Reds" all for "green cremation", Kuensel, September 7

Kuensel's picture story, September 6

The Tributary Fund

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