The Arya Sangha
The education of the whole person is urgently required today in Sri Lanka to conserve social and cultural traditions and to highlight the contributions of the various ethnic groups that comprise the nation. In Selva Sannidhi, the establishment of a school of traditional studies – a Guru Gama, or "Elders' Teaching Community" – aims to focus on this need.
Cultures embodying traditional lifestyles have been recognized as a vital component of global bio-diversity and have been earmarked for conservation in the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity, Article 8 (j), which states:
We at Living Heritage believe that imparting knowledge is the first step to conserving indigenous lifestyles. Our research has revealed that there is a viable niche market for acquiring knowledge about traditional lifestyles in a low-key way -- that is, sensitive to preserving that which is held sacred and secret by traditional societies. Although Article 8 (j) aims to protect persons embodying traditional lifestyles, it is scarcely referred to by urban planners in development proposals, even though traditional living has preserved the environment that is now being targeted for conservation.
Sri Lanka is increasingly directing its tourism industry to 'eco' and 'adventure' tourism. These are terms loosely applied to a variety of products, hotels and ventures which may or may not contribute to conservation and environmental protection, and may even invade untouched woodland, or use marketing catch phrases, such as "traditional" and "ayurveda", to set up spa facilities in concrete block hotels.
In the philosophy of Living Heritage, it is quality, not quantity, that will be instrumental in conserving Sri Lanka's heritage and resources. The plans for Selva Sannidhi use consciously limited resources extensively, rather than intensively, to provide a way of living the traditional life, while allowing others to share the experience.
© 2012 Living Heritage Trust of Sri Lanka |