Botanists Tour Siva's Gardens

Fifteen botanists from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, California, visited over the retreat. Their leader, Dr. Matt Ritter, has been to the monastery before and wanted his students to experience a sacred garden (something new in their academic experience). It is all part of his philosophy of "learning by doing."

Sadasivanathaswami took them on a tour of the grounds, including Iraivan temple. They were delighted to see sacred plants carved on the pillars, something they had never imagined. Many learning moments came, as when one among them learned to pollinate an orchid and others tried to chip a stone using the chisel and hammer you all know about.

Many stops here and there to identify a plant or discuss its morphology, or to ask whether plants have consciousness (yes, they do) or wonder at the cellular structure of a tree. Enjoy the slideshow.

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