BUDDHIST monks posed beside protest banners as they blessed a site proposed for drilling by a fracking firm.
The Gyuto Monks, who live in exile in India with the Dalai Lama, asked to visit the land at Dinnington Road, Woodsetts.
They performed a land puja ceremony, a traditional practice from ancient Tibet which honours the land and its inhabitants.
It is said to remove dark and negative energy so peace and harmony can thrive in the area.
A spokesman for Woodsetts Against Fracking said: “The Gyuto Monks practice Tibetan Buddhism, and as such are concerned and compassionately engaged in what is happening in the world around them as part of their powerful spiritual practice.
“We were contacted by their representative since the monks felt that they would like to meet and find out more of the facts about what is happening here.
“Despite the cold and delays we had a great turnout. Everyone seemed to enjoy and be moved by the monks blessing and the chants based around throat singing, a deep harmonic overtone.
“This particular technique includes the lowest pitch possible with the human voice.”
After the ceremony last Saturday - part of the monks’ tour of the country - they were presented with a gift of a miners’ lamp.
The protest group spokesman said: “This was to symbolise the history of fossil fuel in the area that we hope to leave behind, and to shine a light on a brighter future.
“The monks reciprocated and gifted a white silk scarf, requesting that we tie this to the holly tree to commemorate the event.”
The Woodsetts group is now promoting hope ribbons - based on the scarf gift - to be tied on the tree opposite the site.
In Tibet, it is common to hang prayer flags to promote peace and strength.
Chemical giant Ineos Shale has a planning application for a 2,800-metre deep vertical well on the land.
A decision is expected to be made by Rotherham Borough Council on February 1 and proposals for fracking could follow if the geology is found to be suitable.
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