[posted on 13 April 2007]
Sakya Tashi Ling. Inclusion of Tibetan Buddhist Perspective in the
Management of the Property of the Monastery
and presentation of a
new management plan, Garraf Natural Park,
the Montserrat workshop, a Buddhist monk (Jamyang
Richen / Jordi
Gómez) asked The Delos Initiative for guidance so as to improve the
inclusion of spiritual and cultural values from their interpretation of
Tibetan Buddhist traditions into the management plan of the property of
Sakya Tashi Ling monastery. The management plan itself is being
prepared by a consulting firm, sponsored by the Fundació Territori i
Paisatge. The monastery is located in the center of El Garraf Natural
Park, near Barcelona, and is a case study of The Delos initiative.
Isabel Soria volunteered
to undertake this task, after her experience on the Holy island of Arran,
Scotland (managed by another Buddhist community) with the support of
Josep Maria Mallarach. They were invited to stay in the monastery from
the 20th to the 27th
of January 2007, in order to understand the link between nature and
Tibetan Buddhist spiritual values. They had the chance to experience
daily life in the monastery, to study plans and documentation and to
interview the leader and members of the community,
as well as other key actors, such as the mayor of the municipality and a
number of visitors.
As a result of the study
a proposal for a new version of the management plan was drafted
and presented to Sakya Tashi Ling and the Barcelona Province
Natural Areas Agency in charge of El Garraf Park. The initial management
plan was based on the ecological values of the property, whereas the
improved version prepared within the framework of the Delos Initiative
by J.M. Mallarach and I. Soria, during the last months, integrates
the Vajrayana cultural and spiritual values linked to nature
conservation. Therefore, the plan has the aim of “implementing
and enhancing the religious value of the site in order to have a space
to develop inner improvement and disseminate the practice and teachings
needed to achieve enlightenment”. This main goal is
supported by the protection and improvement of the natural values, the
development of public use of the site in a respectful manner and the
recovery of certain traditional land uses in selected portions of the
state, which will provide habitat for some endangered fauna species. The
plan includes a comparative analysis of goals and actions related to
conservation biology and Tibetan Buddhist sciences.
On March 28th
the abbot of the Monastery, Lama Jamyang Tashi Dorje Rinpoché organised
an official lunch in order to discuss and present the new management
plan. J. Sargatal, M. Rafa, and J. Rofes, from Fundació Territori i
Paisatge, X. Romero, of the consulting firm, Lama Dorje Dondrub,
director of the Monastery Trust, and Isabel Soria and Josep Maria
Mallarach, from the Delos Initiative, attended the lunch. The entire
afternoon was devoted to discussions of the plan and included suggested
improvements. Finally, all agreed to support the Plan.
following day, 29th of March, the same
document was presented to the Natural Areas Department of the Barcelona
Province Council, the agency in charge of the Garraf Park, where the
Sakya Monastery is located. The aim was to help finding common ground
between spiritual and conservation values in order to improve the
synergies for conservation. J.M. Mallarach introduced the Delos
Initiative and gave examples of ways of solving problems between
spiritual communities and protected area managers in sites around the
world. I. Soria presented the new management plan, stressing the wish of
reaching consensus with the Park. The president of the Prevain Trust, J.
Gómez, explained the point of view of the Monastery. R. Espinach and J.
Roget, heads of the Barcelona province Natural Areas Service, and S.
Llacuna, management director of El Garraf Park had a very open attitude,
showing willingness to find common ground, and agreed to review the
management plan and make suggestions to reach a common position.
seems that this contribution, within the framework of the Delos
Initiative, to this pioneering management plan could help integrating
the spiritual and cultural values and requirements of the Buddhist
Monastery in nature conservation of the Park, as well as enhancing
positive synergies between the Park managers and the Monastery.
The authors are grateful
to the Sakya Tashi Ling monastery for their generous hospitality and to
the Silene Association for covering the travel expenses.