In accordance with the Balinese Hindu philosophy, peace and liberty are obtainable in our lives only when we respect and observe the 3 harmonious relationships known as the Tri-Hita Karana Doctrine:
- The Gods blessed life and created nature.
- Nature offers subsistence, nourishment, activities, and other needs of human beings.
- Human beings have an obligation to establish traditional village structure, to build temples in which to worship, to hold various ceremonies, to make daily offerings, to preserve nature, and to discuss and solve problems together.
Although the Sacred Monkey Forest is probably best known as being the site of Padangtegal’s Pura Dalem (death temple), there are actually 3 temples within the Sacred Monkey Forest. In addition to a Pura Dalem, the Sacred Monkey Forest is the site of Padangtegal’s Holy Bathing Temple and Pura Prajapati (funerary or cremation temple). All 3 of these temples are considered to be traditional village structures and local village members, in accordance with the Tri-Hita Karana Doctrine, beleive that it is their obligation to make sure that these temples are maintained.
Religious ceremonies are conducted whenever a deceased person is buried, exhumed, or prepared for cremation within the Sacred Monkey Forest. However, in accordance with Balinese Hindu philosophy, the Balinese beleive that there is a dualistic nature to everything in the universe. For example, the Tri-Hita Karana Doctrine indicates that people should respect nature. In turn, reincarnation represents the Balinese Hindu belief that, within nature, “life” and “death” (as dualities) cannot exist independently. As such, tourists should not be surprised that local village members often utilize the Sacred Monkey Forest as a place to equally “celebrate life”. Two special Balinese Hindu ceremonies, which are celebrated within the Sacred Monkey Forest, include the Tumpek Kandang (where people make special offerings to the monkeys and animals in general) and the Tumpek Ngunduh (where plants are equally celebrated).
In accordance with the Tri-Hita Karana Doctrine, local village members work together to develop and implement conservation programs for the Sacred Monkey Forest. However, increasingly, this cooperation is also involving researchers from around the world. In 1990 and 1991, a monkey behavioral research project was conducted, within the Sacred Monkey Forest, by researchers from the University of Alabama (USA) and the University of Udayana (Bali, Indonesia). In 1998, researchers from Central Washington University (USA) and the University of Udayana began a 5 year research project involving looking into the daily lives and ecology of the monkeys, the interactions between humans and monkeys, and the conservation of spectacular places like the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal.