Archive for sacred

“Being Kind”

Posted in Buddhism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2017 by designldg

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“Be kind to all creatures; this is the true religion.”
(Siddhārtha Gautama, known as the Buddha – c. 563 BCE/480 BCE – c. 483 BCE/400 BCE)

This is a close-up of one of the statues of the Buddha inside the Tibetan temple in Sarnath which is located at 13 km away from Varanasi (Benaras).

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The Power Of Celebration

Posted in Dev Diwali with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2013 by designldg

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“People of our time are losing the power of celebration.
Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained.
Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation.
To be entertained is a passive state–it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle….
Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one’s actions.”
(From “The Wisdom of Heschel” by Abraham Joshua Heschel)

This was shot from the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras) during the celebrations of Dev Diwali on the occasion of Kartik Poornima.
The festival of Lights is a mark of welcome to the Gods as it is believed that they descend on earth on that special day.
In the evening under the full moon reflecting in the holy waters each ghat is performing Ganga Aarti with vedic hymns chanted by priests in order to please and welcome the Gods.

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Many Ways to Worship

Posted in Buddhism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2013 by designldg

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“I’ve learned much from the land of many gods and many ways to worship. 
From Buddhism the power to begin to manage my mind, from Jainism the desire to make peace in all aspects of life, while Islam has taught me to desire goodness and to let go of that which cannot be controlled. 
I thank Judaism for teaching me the power of transcendence in rituals and the Sufis for affirming my ability to find answers within and reconnecting me with the power of music. 
Here’s to the Parsis for teaching me that nature must be touched lightly, and the Sikhs for the importance of spiritual strength….
And most of all, I thank Hinduism for showing me that there are millions of paths to the divine.” 
(From “Holy Cow” by Sarah Macdonald)

This is a close-up of a part of the Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath located at 13 km away from Varanasi (Benaras).
The Dhamek Stupa is said to mark the spot of a deer park (Rishipattana) where the Buddha gave the first sermon to his five disciples after attaining enlightenment, “revealing his Eightfold Path leading to nirvana”.
In its current shape, the stupa is an impressive cylinder of bricks and stone reaching a height of 43.6 meters and having a diameter of 28 meters (128 feet high and 93 feet in diameter).
The basement seems to have survived from Ashoka’s structure: the stone facing is chiseled and displays delicate floral carvings of Gupta origin. 
The wall is covered with exquisitely carved figures of humans and birds, as well as inscriptions in the Brāhmī script.
This picture was shot at the time of a visit of his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

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Becoming Everything

Posted in Timeless Black & White with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by designldg

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“Knock, And He’ll open the door
Vanish, And He’ll make you shine like the sun
Fall, And He’ll raise you to the heavens
Become nothing, And He’ll turn you into everything.”
(Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi) – Persian poet and Sufi mystic, 1207-1273)

This picture was shot at the entrance of a little temple which is on the last floor of the massive palace standing at Balaji Ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
I was standing at the end of a long dark staircase where I could listen to some bat echolocation calls providing a mysterious atmosphere and suddenly a man opened the door.
The shrine was absorbed by a warm light, there was a feeling of deep quietness and devotion, maybe it was led by the breath of the Divine.
Then from nothing everything became possible…

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With Love, Admiration And Respect

Posted in Buddhism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2013 by designldg

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“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it.
But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.”
(From “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse)

This statue of Buddha is on the south side of the central tower which rises 55 metres (180 ft) of the Mahabodhi Temple (“Great Awakening Temple”) in Bodh Gaya in the Indian state of Bihar.
It is the location where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment.
The temple, a Buddhist stupa, the most sacred site in Buddhism is visited regularly by both Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims (many Hindus honor the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu).
The holy Bodhi tree is near to the temple to the western side.
According UNESCO, “the present temple is one of the earliest and most imposing structures built entirely in brick from Gupta period”.

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Between Destruction and Creation

Posted in Hinduism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2012 by designldg

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“Without an understanding of myth or religion, without an understanding of the relationship between destruction and creation, death and rebirth, the individual suffers the mysteries of life as meaningless mayhem alone.”
(Marion Woodman – Canadian author, b.1928)

Manikarnika Kund is a sacred pond located next to Manikarnika Ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
Each year in November it is dug out from the dirt which covers it up from the holy river floods of the rainy season.
This large rectangular structure, with surrounding steps is mythologically related to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.
The Chakra-Pushkarini Kund or “Discus Lotus-Pond” is said to be so ancient that it was present before King Bhagiratha brought the Ganges to Varanasi and is supposed to have been dug by Lord Vishnu at the time of creation with his disc.
The word “Manikarnika” refers “Jeweled Earring” and this name was given because Lord Shiva’s earring fell into the well when it was a very large lake.
This historic place symbolizes creation, and the cremation ghat next to it is all about death, the hot ashes of the burnt bodies nearby makes one remember the inevitable destruction of everything in the world.
Many pilgrims take a bath here after performing the rituals of cremation. It is also said to be lucky for couples to take a bath together in this well.

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