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Phase II: Regional expansion

Project implementation sites

The map illustrates the geographic expansion in Phase II. The countries and sites participating the project implementation are also listed.

 

 

 

Cambodia

Cambodian Monks at a study tour

In Cambodia, as in Lao PDR, the number of remaining master craftsmen in Buddhist traditional decorative arts is very limited. Arts and craft traditions related to Buddhism are on the brink of extinction due to the country’s recent troubled past of the country.  However, as in Lao PDR, in Cambodia Buddhism has never completely disappeared and there is now a revival of Buddhist practice throughout the country.  Buddhist temples, damaged due to the war and years of lack of repair and maintenance are being rehabilitated, but often with disastrous results for the authenticity of the temples, caused by lack of understanding and craftsmanship. [more...]

China

Local Xishuangbanna temple

Buddhism arrived in China through various routes, which is now reflected in the parallel existence of several sects of Buddhism, including Mahayana, Theravada and Vajrayana Buddhism. The project is implementing in China reaching southernmost prefecture of Yunnan Province – Xishuangbanna, where community members are Therevada Buddhist devotees, and westernmost area of Sichuan Province - Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture where Vajrayana Buddhism has a strong connection to local culture.  [more...]

 

 

India

Practicing sand mandala - Sikkim

An estimated seven million people practice Buddhism in India today. Buddhism had virtually died out in most of the India by the turn of the 20th century. However, it enjoyed a revival from the 1950s onward among intellectuals and Dalits, who were disillusioned with the caste system. The number of followers has been further boosted with the influx of Tibetan refuges and the 1975 annexation of the previously independent Sikkim. Ladakhi Buddhists follow traditions similar to those found in Tibet. In Arunachal Pradesh, the Buddhist tribes in the northwest are mainly Tibetan in origin, while those in the forested hills further east migrated from Southeast Asia. [more...]

Lao PDR

Preparing for bronze casting - Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang was the pilot site during Phase I project implementation and now serves as the model for other sites. During Phase I, the Luang Prabang Training Center for Laotian Traditional Temple Arts and Building Crafts was established. During Phase II, this centre will serve as a resource base and training center for monks from monasteries around the country. It will also provide training-of-trainers courses for monks from Bokeo and Champasak as well as mobile training teams to assist on-site in Bokeo and Champasak. Champasak will eventually be developed as the resource and training center for southern Lao PDR while Luang Prabang center will cover the training in northern and central provinces. Bokeo(northwestern Lao PDR) and Savannakhet (southern Lao PDR) will serve as satellite centers for the training centers in Luang Prabang and in Champasak respectively. [more...]

Mongolia

Decorated roof of Erdene Zuu

Mongolia shares close cultural linkages with Tibet and the other Himalayan sites, through centuries of missionary and trade exchanges across China.   The common tradition shared by Mongolian Buddhism with Tibetan Buddhism dates back to when the Mongolian Khans dominated much of Asia. The Third Dalai Lama was a Mongolian, and Tibet was one of very few places to survive the onslaught of Chinggis Khan. [more...]

 

 

Nepal

Monastery interior - Mustang

Festival - Lalitpur

Over two thousand years, Buddhist devotees attribute their religious origin to this land where legendary Siddhartha Gautama, a Kshatriya caste prince obtained enlightenment, became Lord Buddha.

 

In the early 1990s, Nepal was the only constitutionally declared Hindu state in the world; there was, however, a great deal of intermingling of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. Many of the people regarded as Hindus in the 1981 census could, with as much justification, be called Buddhists. The fact that Hindus worshipped at Buddhist temples and Buddhists worshipped at Hindu temples has been one of the principal reasons supporters of the two dominant groups in Nepal have never engaged in any serious religious conflicts. The largest concentrations of Buddhists were found in the eastern hills, the Kathmandu Valley, and the central Tarai where approximately 10 percent of the people in each area were Buddhist. Buddhism was relatively more common among the Newar and Tibeto-Nepalese groups. [more...]

 

 

 

Sri Lanka

The 1998 terrorist bombing of the Temple of the Tooth Relic in the World Heritage city of Kandy highlighted the need to revive the tradition of sangha stewardship over and competence in the conservation of temples.  To repair the damage done to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, specialists had to be brought in from India, causing concern about the authenticity of the repair work in conformity with traditional Sri Lankan practice. 

 

To ensure that in the future the Sri Lankan sangha can maintain its religious and artistic heritage, the two sangharajas (Buddhist patriarchs) resident in Kandy requested UNESCO assistance in the revitalization of traditional building and craft skills within the Sri Lankan Buddhist sangha. [more...]

Thailand

Northern Thai temple - Nan

In recent years, a strong conservation ethic has emerged in Nan Province in the north of Thailand and in Nakhon Si Thammarat in the south.  The temples in both towns are traditional centres for training in decorative arts, and both are listed on Thailand’s Tentative List of World Heritage properties.  The project provides technical support to help expand the Thailand sangha’s nascent efforts to document temple architecture and arts and create a sustainable training program utilizing the skills of local craft masters whom the sangha will identifying. [more...]