Cultural Survival and Revival in the Buddhist Sangha


One of the local organizations with which The Quiet in the Land is collaborating in Luang Prabang is the Cultural Survival and Revival in the Buddhist Sangha project. UNESCO inaugurated this project in 2000 with support from the Norwegian government. Its objective is to work with communities in Asia to help preserve local cultural heritages—in particular, Buddhist temples and traditional temple arts that have been endangered by the growth of tourism. The project was developed in response to requests from the Sangha, which was seeking assistance in conserving local living cultural traditions. These traditions are essential to local cultural identities, but are threatened by development and the growth of tourism. The project supports the survival and revival of traditional building crafts and decorative arts in the region by developing conservation skills within the Sangha.

The project's first phase began in Luang Prabang in 2000, in collaboration with the Luang Prabang Department of Information and Culture and the Sangha. In Luang Prabang, the project has formed a training center, in which master craftsmen teach the monks and novices from the Sangha traditional temple building crafts and decorative arts. In this way, it has helped to ensure the transmission to the next generation of traditional arts that were in danger of being lost and to combine the preservation of local cultural identities with sustainable tourism.

The project's second phase began in 2004 and is scheduled to extend through 2007. During this phase, the project will expand in geographic coverage, targeted trainees, and scope of training. Sites throughout Theravada Buddhist areas will be eligible to participate.