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ARC Home > Projects > Sacred gifts :
Buddhist hunting ban

MONGOLIA: Buddhists reintroduce traditional hunting and logging bans

The snow leopard, an endangered species
first Sacred Gift from the Buddhists of Mongolia was the reintroduction in 2000 of a centuries-old ban on hunting the snow leopard and the saiga antelope - both of which are endangered. The ban is an expression of the ancient Buddhist teaching of compassion towards all life - which in practice encourages Buddhists to engage in sustainable natural resource management.

In 2001, this Sacred Gift was expanded to include the recreation of traditional Buddhist Sacred Reserves. From the 12th century onwards Buddhists have declared certain sacred areas as protected by the deities in order to preserve the fragile ecology of Mongolia. Under Communism these were destroyed.

With the help of ARC, WWF and the World Bank, seven such reserves have been resacralised and dedicated. The Buddhists have also published a major study of the sacred sutra texts that outlines the sacred dimension of virtually every valley, plain and mountain of Mongolia. Both these actions are expected to create strong moral and religious support for the protection of wildlife and for existing governmental protection and enforcement measures.

Among the sacred sites on which hunting is now banned is the Bogd Khan Mountain, Mongolia’s oldest Buddhist protected area. It dates back to the 12th century, and is the site where hunting bans were first introduced 800 years ago. In June 2003, in response to concerns about the protection of the forested area facing the capital city Ulaanbaator, the Buddhist community unveiled a new carving of the protector deity of that side of the mountain, in a move which is intended to strengthen the conservation of the forest.

Another region that comes under the full protection of this ban is the Khan Kentii Strictly Protected Area. It encompasses 1.2 million hectares of land and is home to one tenth of Mongolia’s forests and many rare and threatened species of plants and animals.

Links to the Mongolian Buddhist Handbook

Link here to access the news story about the launch of the Mongolian Buddhist Handbook.

Link here to download the Mongolian Buddhist Handbook in English. And link here for the Mongolian version. (Please note this file is 1.15MB in English and 2MB in Mongolian)

Link here to download the guide to the Mongolian Buddhists’ Eight Year Plan (this file is 4.13MB).

And link here for details of ancient Buddhist wisdom on taking care of nature.

Link here for details on Mongolian Case Studies.

And here on how to make contact with the Sangha.

To download the A3 poster of a new thangka about Buddhists protecting Nature, link here (5.61MB).

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Cambodian pagodas
Daoist medicines
Synagogues audit
Sikh sustainable energy
City monastery reborn
Church climate action
Power & Light ministry