|Forest Sangha Newsletter||January 1999|
Working With Nature
We'd like to draw attention to a forthcoming event that focuses on the relationship between spirituality and ecology. We have received an invitation from the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) to participate in a Celebration of Faith and the Environment, which is to be held in Centerburg from Friday 15th September to Sunday 17th September 1989. This is a follow-up to the Assisi Event of 1986, which saw the establishment of the Network on Conservation and Religion through an interfaith pilgrimage to Assisi in which, amongst others, the Pope, the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop of Canterbury took part. Since then, educational programmes and conservation projects - have been launched by the Network; the Canterbury Festival will be the major display of the Religion and Environment theme for 1989, and will receive extensive media coverage.
The restoration of a whole ecological network will, of course, take decades to accomplish.
|Together with this invitation comes a request to present - through music, word, drama, exhibitions, workshops and worship - the Buddhist attitude to- wards Nature. Venerable Sucitto (at Amaravati) has been asked to co-ordinate contributions from the Buddhist community. Of particular interest are things that can be displayed, that create an immediate and accessible impression - for example, paintings, sculptures, or even some form of pageant, etc. September seems like quite a way in the future, but we'd like to be clear about what we're going to present by the spring of 1989. We hope that many people will participate, as it could be a very rewarding experience for the individual and also have a significant effect on the society in general.|
|Meanwhile, in Sussex ...|
A Close relationship with Nature has always been a fundamental aspect of Sangha life: and over the years, projects at Chithurst have received a lot of support from people coming out to work on tree and wildflower planting. Last September saw the final stage of the "Ancient Meadows" project, whereby the former paddocks are being sown with native wild flowers, as part of the general plan for restoring the natural ecological balance of the 180-acre forest monastery Re-establishing wildflowers attracts butterflies, which attract birds and so on.
Work in Hammer Wood continues to transform this area, which had become sterile through commercial forestry practices. There have been major tree planting drives in the past few years, and gradually birds and small mammals are returning to the forest: but the restoration of a whole ecological network will, of course, take decades to accomplish. Help with simple and sensitive forestry work is always very much appreciated.