A recent social media article doing the rounds showcases great photographs that tell stories. Of the many well shot tales one photo features a monk and a tiger living in harmony. It is an image that evokes the very spirit of Buddhism universally, from the jungles of Thailand to the mountains of Bhutan and Tibet. However, human wildlife conflicts are a harsh reality – a topic that will be discussed by Sonam Wangchuk, Lily Wangchuk and Lyonpo Paljor Dorji. Sonam Wangchuk has spent 24 years with Bhutan’s Department of Forest and Park Services; while Lyonpo Paljor Dorji, is the founder of the only Bhutanese Environmental Non Governmental Organization, the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN). Both of them will be speaking at the 5th Bhutan Literary Festival- Usha presents Mountain Echoes 2014.
Animals have always held a special place in eastern culture and mysticism, often used as a medium of communication through their stories – for instance the Jataka Tales, a collection of stories that tell about the previous lives of the Buddha, in both human and animal form. Sanjay Wangchuk, Rebecca Pradhan and Manju Wakley will be exploring this world of Himalayan animism through their session on Wild Spirits.
A different aspect of the elemental world of nature will also be explored by Gavin Francis in the session Sounds of Silence and A love Letter to Antarctica. Having spent a year in the South Pole with Emperor Penguins, Francis accounted his experience of ice and silence in his book Empire Antarctica.