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The World Around Us

The Mystery of Ancient Costa Rica’s Stone Spheres, Part 2 of 2

13:02

The Mystery of Ancient Costa Rica’s Stone Spheres, Part 2 of 2

Today, we are again honored to have Dr. Francisco Corrales Ulloa, an archaeologist from the Anthropology and History Department of the National Museum of Costa Rica, to share with us his studies of the stone spheres. “So, it’s evident that they had the capacity to make these kind of works, enough technology, and that they were associated with their cosmovision, with their religious conceptions, even though we do not know many of them, but in the contexts in which we found them, they evidently had a social function and also a symbolic one.” “Animals had a very important role in religion or worldview, so we see a great representation of animals such as felines, jaguars, or other smaller ones, saurians, reptiles, lizards, crocodiles, and also of other animals. Animals that sometimes they had and respected, they were incorporated into the belief system. This same society that made the stone spheres were those that made the gold objects, which is so remarkable in Costa Rican archeology.” Along with the stone spheres, archaeologists have found settlements of ancient societies related to Central America. “This group of settlements represented a society that had a particular development, and in trying to understand the development of humanity as a whole, it was necessary to investigate and make the sites available to visitors or the nation.” In 2014, the “Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements with Stone Spheres of the Diquís” were collectively listed as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. Dr. Corrales Ulloa reiterates why it is so important to protect the sites. “It forces us to take measures to conserve what are called the ‘outstanding values’ conserved in those sites. And one of them is integrity. As the zone is in such a low-lying area, at 10 meters above sea level, it is subject to the danger of flooding, and so it is threatened by climate change. And considering the impacts these floods have on this archaeological resource, this will obviously have to be taken into account in the management of these sites from now on.” All information concerning the scientific evidence of climate change and its solution is in Supreme Master Ching Hai’s Book, “From Crisis to Peace.” Free for download at: Crisis2Peace.org
The World Around Us
2022-01-14   61 Views
The World Around Us
2022-01-14

The Mystery of Ancient Costa Rica’s Stone Spheres, Part 1 of 2

11:21

The Mystery of Ancient Costa Rica’s Stone Spheres, Part 1 of 2

Across the Diquís Delta and on Isla del Caño of Costa Rica, one may find more than 300 stone balls of various sizes. These fascinating stone spheres, or “bolas de piedra” in Spanish, are commonly attributed to the extinct Diquís culture and are also sometimes referred to as the Diquís Spheres. However, their exact purpose and construction remain largely a mystery. In 2014, they were listed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List as the “Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements with Stone Spheres of the Diquís.” To learn more about these remarkable stone spheres, we are honored to introduce Dr. Francisco Corrales Ulloa, an archaeologist from the History Anthropology Department of the National Museum of Costa Rica. Dr. Corrales Ulloa tells how the stone spheres were shaped. “These spheres of stone are very, very particular artifacts that break away a bit from the logic of other artifacts. They are very clearly inspired by elements of nature in animals or in humans. This concept of the sphericity is new, or is different, and becomes a characteristic of its groups. There are various explanations that have been proposed for its meaning; however, the evidence is very limited. The stone spheres stand out in that region in several factors. One, the period in which they were made – that is more than 1,000 years ago. Another is the quantity. They were also made in different sizes.” “And the other important element that we have with the spheres is the diversity of contexts. There are spheres in other parts of the world – no, it was not exclusive. But no other society produced them in such a large number, in such contexts, and in such materials.” Some of the spheres were arranged to form lines, circles, or triangles. Researchers ask themselves why the people would go through all the effort to create such elaborate and unique stonework. There are many theories: some people believe they came from Atlantis or were created by visiting extraterrestrials. Local legends hold that the rock was softened by the powerful magic of the ancient natives. “One of the most frequent questions is: How did they make them?”
The World Around Us
2022-01-07   369 Views
The World Around Us
2022-01-07

Judean Desert Caves: Safekeepers of Rare Biblical Treasures, Part 2 of 2

14:15

Judean Desert Caves: Safekeepers of Rare Biblical Treasures, Part 2 of 2

Dr. Oren Ableman, a researcher at the Israeli Antiquities Authority, spoke of how the scriptures were of immeasurable worth for humanity: “For the first time in over 60 years, we have fragments of a biblical book that were discovered in an archaeological excavation. It is important also because this is the first time when such fragments, found in an excavation, have been brought straight here to our laboratory. This means we have better documentation of their condition than any other previous discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.”Astonishingly, some copies of the ancient manuscripts found in the Judean Desert caves are identical to the traditional text of the Hebrew Bible. Another small scroll records an early copy of the Ten Commandments, the grand description of their Divine revelation at Mount Sinai. One of the best preserved biblical manuscripts is the Book of Psalms, which contains 48 psalms. They include a prose passage that provides a reference to King David as the composer of the Book of Psalms, reading: “and David, the son of Jesse, was wise, and a light like the light of the Sun. And he wrote 3,600 psalms.”Among the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered were also non-biblical texts, which provide an additional glimpse into life during the Second Temple period, and an opportunity to understand the attitudes and aspirations of the people of that time. Some texts reflect the philosophy and life and of a distinguishing group called “Yahad,” meaning “community.”During a lecture in 2007, Supreme Master Ching Hai expounded on the Essenes. “According to this research, this book, to study and to practice the teachings of the Essenes is to re-awaken within ourselves an intuitive knowledge that can solve our problems and the problems of the world. Wow! Isn’t that great! I wish everybody practiced the teachings of the Essenes. We are, but not everybody else does, and that’s a pity because it’s such a treasure. Traces of the teachings have appeared in almost every country and religions. Its fundamental principles were taught in ancient Persia, Egypt, India, Tibet, China, Palestine, Greece, and many other countries.”
The World Around Us
2021-11-12   390 Views
The World Around Us
2021-11-12

Judean Desert Caves: Safekeepers of Rare Biblical Treasures, Part 1 of 2

14:05

Judean Desert Caves: Safekeepers of Rare Biblical Treasures, Part 1 of 2

Around year 132, conflict broke out in Judea. To defend the Jews of the Roman province, Simon bar Kokhba and his men created large numbers of underground hideout caves in towns and villages. In 1960, archaeologist Yigael Yadin excavated fragments of letters, writings, coins, and an ancient Greek copy of the biblical Book of The Twelve. During an operation to protect the Judean caves, archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority announced in March 2021 that dozens of Dead Sea Scrolls fragments and other relics had been found. They were found between 1946 and 1956 by a team of archaeologists and three Bedouin shepherds, Muhammed edh-Dhib, his cousin Jum'a Muhammed, and Khalil Musa. Upon entering the cave, the first Bedouin found a collection of large clay jars with lids and their contents intact. A closer look revealed old scrolls, some wrapped in linen and blackened with age. Amid regional turmoil in 1949, Syrian Archbishop Samuel secretly brought his precious four scrolls out of the country to the United States. Later in 1954, he placed them up for sale in a Wall Street Journal advertisement. Yigael Yadin, son of Professor Sukenik, bought these on behalf of the State of Israel. Yadin then united them with the three already at the Hebrew University. The Shrine of the Book was built to house these seven scrolls in 1965. In 1993, Supreme Master Ching Hai mentioned the Dead Sea Scrolls during a lecture in Honolulu, USA. “The Christ’s teachings in His time and the Christian teachings at this time are all right. Both are all right. Maybe the present teaching of Christianity is missing, has been censored in some part, but this I dare not say, in case I’ll be in trouble. And the other teachings of Jesus while He was alive may be more and recorded, you see. According to the Dead Sea Scrolls that I have read, supposed to be very ancient. Even while Jesus was alive, it was recorded. There are many things - some things are missing in the Bible.”
The World Around Us
2021-11-08   337 Views
The World Around Us
2021-11-08

Palace of Fontainebleau: The Home of Kings

14:32

Palace of Fontainebleau: The Home of Kings

The Palace of Fontainebleau, or Château de Fontainebleau, is a majestic palace situated approximately 65 kilometers (40 miles) to the southeast of Paris, France. With its 1,530 rooms, four courtyards and 130 hectares of luscious green surroundings, the Palace of Fontainebleau is one of the vastest palaces in the whole of Europe. Over the past 800 years, it has housed some 34 French monarchs, from Louis VII in the 12th century to Napoleon III in the 19th century. But the château was not always as magnificent as it is today. The charismatic and humble King Francis I was a well-loved leader, and is also remembered for the cultural rebirth and awakening that took place in France during his reign. The Renaissance had begun in Florence, Italy, and was characterized by a surge of interest in the classical arts and writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and the founding of a new way of thinking, awakening humans to greater possibilities. This new humanist vision is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such renowned polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. During this period, many beautiful buildings, magnificent statues, and glorious paintings were produced. Nothing paid a more perfect tribute to this revolution than the transformation of the medieval Fontainebleau Castle into the sumptuous Palace of Fontainebleau under the reign of King Francis I. Glorious representations of this new Renaissance-style can be seen in three historic rooms: the Francis I Gallery, the Duchess of Étampes’ chamber, and the ballroom. The gracefully decorated Palace of Fontainebleau was King Francis I’s largest building project and quickly became his favorite place of residence. He liked it so much that when he spoke of visiting Fontainebleau, he referred to it as “going home.”
The World Around Us
2021-10-28   410 Views
The World Around Us
2021-10-28

The Blue Mosque – Tomb of the Exalted

14:35

The Blue Mosque – Tomb of the Exalted

Situated near Afghanistan’s northern borders is Mazar-i-Sharif, which is the fourth-largest city of Afghanistan. Mazar-i-Sharif means “Noble Shrine” or “Tomb of the Exalted,” and its origins are enshrined in several centuries of local legend and religious traditions. The name is a reference to the city’s majestic center piece, a beautiful mausoleum of Islamic inspired architecture, “The Shrine of Ali” or “The Blue Mosque.” Its incredible edifices of shimmering lapis lazuli, silver, and gold, are truly spectacular to behold. For centuries, the site of the Blue Mosque has been an important pilgrimage destination of Shia, Sunni, and Sufi Muslims, Zoroastrians, as well as a place where celebrants of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, would gather annually. The Holy Shrine of Ali has a reputation of emanating an aura of peace and wellbeing, greatly benefiting those who visit to pay their respects.Beneath the largest cupola, or dome, measuring 15 meters (49 feet) in width, lies the main tomb chamber, built hundreds of years earlier. A marble slab near the tomb is inscribed, “Ali, Lion of God.” It was, and still is, a characteristic of Islamic culture to perform burials at existing tomb sites. The biggest day of the year for the Blue Mosque is Nowruz, the Persian New Year, a date that has been celebrated in the region for about 3,000 years. With roots in Zoroastrian culture, the day marks the northern hemisphere’s spring equinox. Expressions of spiritual renewal, love, peace, and goodwill are exchanged by a broad cross-section of the community. It is a special day filled with many expressions of unity. The current situation in Afghanistan has dominated world news mid-2021 and caused deep concern across the globe. Our hearts go out to the citizens of Afghanistan. We pray that all people may live in peace, freedom, and dignity under wise and compassionate leadership, in Almighty Allah’s Merciful Blessings.
The World Around Us
2021-09-17   407 Views
The World Around Us
2021-09-17

Kvarner Gulf: Picture Perfect Croatian Jewel

15:55

Kvarner Gulf: Picture Perfect Croatian Jewel

A land of unique physical beauty, Croatia boasts rolling inland hills, fertile plains, and gorgeous coastal shores, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Off Croatia’s northern coastline is the Kvarner Gulf, a haven with picture-perfect scenery. The vivid hues of holiday villas contrast with the stony inlets, and many intriguing islands of ancient limestone karst are set like immortal gems in a bed of dazzling turquoise that is the Adriatic Sea. Situated at the central crest of the Kvarner Gulf is Croatia’s third-largest city and main seaport, Rijeka. Rijeka holds the honorable title of “European Capital of Culture,” given by the European Union in 2020. Of the islands and islets of the Kvarner Gulf, perhaps the most famous is Rab. Rab is one of Croatia’s largest satellite isles and the southernmost island in the Kvarner Gulf. Legend has it that the island of Rab is protected by the gods. Indeed, Mount Kamenjak serves to protect the town of Rab from the icy blasts of the north in winter. The largest of all islands in the Adriatic Sea is also found in the Kvarner Gulf. At just over 400 square kilometers (154 square miles) in size, Krk also has the largest permanent population of the islands, with approximately 20,000 inhabitants. The island of Cres, the second largest of the Adriatic islands, is home to only about 3,000 people. At the center of the island is the unique Lake Vrana. One of the purest fresh water sources in all of Europe, its impressive depth of 74 meters (243 feet) reaches below sea level. The town of Beli is a sanctuary for wildlife, and the nearby cliff faces are home to a thriving population of Griffon vultures, which the local community actively protect. In the 19th century Austro-Hungarian Empire, Losinj was known as the “healing island” with the healthiest climate. Losinj is characterized by rolling tree-covered hills, and today it is a haven for pleasure boaters who anchor in its numerous natural harbors. The Kvarner Gulf certainly offers spectacular sights with a rich cultural history. Let us strive to be gentler stewards of our planet, so that such pristine beauties may continue to flourish for many generations to come.
The World Around Us
2021-08-21   473 Views
The World Around Us
2021-08-21

Holy Mount Kailash: Tibetan Sacred Land, Part 3 of 3

17:36

Holy Mount Kailash: Tibetan Sacred Land, Part 3 of 3

In 1999, Dr. Ernst Muldashev, a Russian ophthalmologist, went on an expedition to uncover the mysteries surrounding Mount Kailash, bringing a team of expert geologists, physicians, and historians. Dr. Muldashev and his team spent a few months camping around the foot of the sacred mountain and came to the conclusion that Mount Kailash is human-made and was built in ancient times. They connected Mount Kailash with the Giza and Teotihuacan pyramids, and considered the idea that they may all be centers for the supernatural. “What did we see? We saw the City of the Pyramids. It was around 50 kilometers (31 miles) in diameter. It was in the shape of a square rather than a circle, and it was located on a flat area in the Tibetan mountains. The average height of the mountains was almost 6 kilometers (8 miles). We saw lots and lots of different pyramids, monuments, and some unusual structures. It was a kind of temple with no windows or doors. It was really something!” Professor Muldashev declared, “This is the largest megalithic complex on Earth built by any kind of civilization.” He also said that there are more than 100 pyramids of different shapes and sizes in its surroundings. Dr. Ernst Muldashev published the extraordinary findings of his Himalayan expedition in a book entitled “Where Do We Come From?” He included reports of several Tibetan lamas telling how there are many mysterious hidden paths to cities inside the Hollow Earth. Under Mount Kailash are two Hollow Earth cities, Shambhala and Agartha. In 2014, Supreme Master Ching Hai mentioned the gentle people living inside the Earth. “Master, will the people living underground ever come up to the surface to live, or will it never be safe enough for them?” “Well, it depends on humanity, the humans on this planet, on the surface. Okay? If we become more kind, more generous, more peaceful, then maybe they’ll just come up. But there are many of them who come up and down already. Just, they come up and down, but not many of them want to come and stay with us. Our world is too polluted for them, and too unkind. They are completely vegan. They don’t like war. They love animals. They love each other.”
The World Around Us
2021-07-12   1171 Views
The World Around Us
2021-07-12

Holy Mount Kailash: Tibetan Sacred Land, Part 2 of 3

18:18

Holy Mount Kailash: Tibetan Sacred Land, Part 2 of 3

At the heart of Himalayan Tibet, Mount Kailash is widely considered to be one of the most sacred sites on Earth. According to the Tibetan religion Bon, transcendental Lord Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche, the founder of Bon, entered western Tibet between 18,000 to 16,000 years ago. After defeating him, Tonpa Shenrab renounced His royal status to focus on meditation. Lord Tonpa Shenrab also stopped the practice of animal sacrifice performed by locals and suggested using wheat and grain effigies as a substitute in ceremonies. In the Bon religion, Mount Kailash is referred to as Yungdrung Gu Tse, the Nine-Story Swastika Mountain. The right-turning swastika signifies the sun, and left-turning swastika signifies the night. Mount Kailash is also referred to as Khang Rinpoche by Tibetan Buddhists. Guru Rinpoche is said to be the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, whose incarnation Shakyamuni Buddha had prophesized. He established the “School of Secrets,” initiated many disciples, and authored many texts while in Tibet, including the “Tibetan Book of the Dead.” Guru Rinpoche left His body to dwell in the pure Buddhafield, Akanishta, the highest conceivable realm on Mount Meru. Although Holy Mount Kailash is known as unclimbable, according to the most famous legends, one Master successfully made the ascent: Milarepa, the famous 12th century enlightened Master. As is mentioned in Sutras, Milarepa was instructed by His great Master, His Holiness Marpa the Translator, to go to the sacred Mount Kailash to meditate on the knowledge He possessed. It is said that the couloir in the south face of Mount Kailash was made by Naro Bon-Chung's drum. Milarepa then tossed a handful of snow, creating a miniature Mount Kailash for Naro Bon-Chung. The legend of Milarepa’s ascent of Mount Kailash contributed to the establishment of Buddhism in the region, although many practitioners incorporate aspects of Bonpo teachings with those of the Buddha and Tibetan Buddhism. In 1967, Robert Coon published a book entitled “Earth Chakras.” The chakras are believed to be the energy centers in our body. Similarly, the seven planetary chakras are the energy centers of the Earth. Considered by many the most sacred of all mountains and located in the Himalayas, Mount Kailash represents the crown chakra.
The World Around Us
2021-07-09   1300 Views
The World Around Us
2021-07-09

Holy Mount Kailash: Tibetan Sacred Land, Part 1 of 3

17:09

Holy Mount Kailash: Tibetan Sacred Land, Part 1 of 3

At the heart of Himalayan Tibet, standing 6,638 meters (21,778 feet) high in the Kailash Range, Mount Kailash is widely considered to be one of the most sacred sites on Earth. Its name is derived from the word “kelāsa” in Sanskrit, meaning “crystal.” The Tibetan name for the mountain is Gang Rinpoche, which can be translated as “precious jewel of snows.” The Kailash Mansarovar area has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for both its outstanding natural beauty and also its cultural heritage. Each day, pilgrims join processions around the base of Mount Kailash, a ritual that can take anywhere from three days to several weeks to complete. The 52-kilometer (32-mile) circumambulation is known as “Kora” in Tibetan. In her book “Magic and Mystery in Tibet,” Belgian-French explorer Alexandra David-Néel described witnessing a monk practicing lung-gum-pa: “The man didn’t run. He seemed to lift himself from the ground, proceeding by leaps.” According to Hindu scripture, the seven immortal Saptarishis work for the evolution of humanity, uplifting Planet Earth by enabling the will of the Divine Lord Shiva, who dwells within Mount Kaeilash with his heavenly consort Shakti, who is also known as Parvati. In 1993, Supreme Master Ching Hai also mentioned this legendary story. “Shiva was one of the past Masters. He was supposed to be the god of destruction. He meditated all the time in the Himalayas, deep in the meditation, never stirred. So they sent out a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful fairy. Her name was Parvati. But she couldn't stir him. So, she went to Mount Kailash, which is the most famous and holy mountain according to Indian belief. And after some time, she attained the blissful state.” Near the northern face of Mount Kailash, seven stupas can be found. They symbolize the axis mundi representation of the holy mountain as the legendary Mount Meru, the center of all universes. In Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist cosmology, Mount Meru is the axis mundi, the central point, of all physical, metaphysical, and spiritual universes. The lapis-blue color on the side of Mount Meru, facing Earth, makes Mount Meru invisible to us; however, Mount Kailash is believed to be its Earthly manifestation.
The World Around Us
2021-07-02   1427 Views
The World Around Us
2021-07-02

A Thousand Years’ Faith-Keeping: Pechersk Lavra and Saint Sophia Cathedral

15:44

A Thousand Years’ Faith-Keeping: Pechersk Lavra and Saint Sophia Cathedral

The Pechersk Lavra of Kiev Ukraine is a 1,000-year-old Christian sanctuary that still functions as a monastery and is the official residence of the head of the Church of Ukraine. This famous religious site was voted by the citizens of its great country to be one of the seven wonders of the Ukraine. It is also one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for Eastern Orthodox Christians. Pechersk Lavra was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991, together with another famous religious building, the Saint Sophia Cathedral of Kiev. The unique subterranean cave monastery of Pechersk Lavra is made up of more than 600 meters (0.37 miles) of underground passageways that reach depths of up to 15 meters (49 feet). The site began as a humble place of retreat for a monk, the Venerable Saint Anthony, who dug the first cave in the 11th century. The essence of the founding saints of Pechersk Lavra are said to be reflected in its two wells, one dug by the founder, the Venerable Saint Anthony, and the other by his successor, Saint Theodosius. One water is said to reflect kindness, and the other a more strict and disciplinary nature. The first aboveground center of prayer for the monks of Pechersk Lavra was the Dormition, or Assumption Cathedral, that was constructed in the latter part of the 11th century. The legend also maintains that the Holy Mother also showed the chosen architects a vision of the “temple in the sky,” upon which the cathedral was inspired. It was in the early 11th century, 1037, that Saint Sophia Cathedral was inaugurated in dedication to the ideal of wisdom by Prince Yaroslav the Wise. Known as the Church of Holy, or Divine, Wisdom, the cathedral was the social and political hub of Kievan Rus' culture for hundreds of years. Saint Sophia of Kiev is one of the oldest cathedrals in Eastern Europe and the oldest cathedral in the city. During the Renaissance in the 17th century, renovations in the Ukrainian Baroque style was carried out by Italian architect Octaviano Mancini. These renovations give Saint Sophia Cathedral the distinction of one of the most attractive churches in the world.
The World Around Us
2021-04-30   575 Views
The World Around Us
2021-04-30

The Fascinating Mystery of the United Kingdom’s Underground Tunnels

16:52

The Fascinating Mystery of the United Kingdom’s Underground Tunnels

For decades, Great Britain’s mysterious tunnel systems have been a source of fascination, and authorities have been conspicuously secretive about them until recently. New documents released by the British Land Registry in 2017 revealed the existence of a network of tunnels under the streets of Britain, with details on 3.5 million land and property titles under the ownership of councils, housing associations, companies, and corporations such as the Post Office, British Telecom, and the Ministry of Defense. Private photographs and documents of the Cabinet’s rooms, built in 1939 and used by His Excellency Sir Winston Churchill, were also released for the first time in 2016. The protected military accommodation is linked by tunnels and elevator shafts. West of London is another covert underground Ministry of Defense site called MoD Corsham, formerly known as Basil Hill Barracks, located between the towns of Corsham and Box, near Bristol. Commissioned in 1955, the enormous 35-acre complex measures more than a kilometer (0.62 miles) long and is 37 meters (121 feet) underground. The underground city housed hospitals, kitchens, launderettes, canteens, and accommodation. An underground lake provided drinking water and an underground power station had enough fuel in store to keep the generators running for up to three months. Heading northeast of London, another famous set of underground tunnels known as the Victoria Tunnel is in Newcastle. Measuring about 3.6 kilometers (2.25 miles) long, its construction took 200 men two years and 10 months to complete. Between 1842 and the 1860s, the Victoria Tunnel was used to transport coal from Spital Tongues Colliery to the banks of the River Tyne for loading onto ships. In 1939, the tunnel was reopened to house 9,000 residents as a shelter from air conflict. Britain’s fascinating underground tunnels are not only historically revealing but also inspirational, telling stories of mystery and times long passed, sparking the imagination and also informing our future.
The World Around Us
2021-03-26   1523 Views
The World Around Us
2021-03-26

Te Papa Tongarewa Museum - A Celebration of New Zealand’s Diverse Cultural Heritage

15:24

Te Papa Tongarewa Museum - A Celebration of New Zealand’s Diverse Cultural Heritage

Today, we visit New Zealand, one of the rare countries to receive many Shining World Awards. In 2006, the government of New Zealand was the recipient of the Shining World Leadership Award for Peace and in 2018, the Shining World Leadership Award for Compassion. In 2019, the New Zealand government also became a laureate of the Shining World Leadership Award for Earth Conservation, the Shining World Leadership Award for Earth Protection, the Shining World Leadership Award for Climate-Change Mitigation, and the Shining World Leadership Award for Earth Restoration, etc. New Zealand’s indigenous Māori title is “Aotearoa,” meaning “Land of the Long White Cloud.” The Māori name given to New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, means “our container of treasured things and people that spring from Mother Earth here in New Zealand.” Although New Zealand already had a national museum with roots that stretch back to the colonial period, it was decided that the newly constructed Te Papa Tongarewa Museum would create a lasting bond of unity between the Tangata Whenua, the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand, and Tangata Tiriti, the non-indigenous New Zealand people. The entire museum is considered a “waharoa,” or a traditional entrance way, that introduces visitors to a New Zealand rich in cultural and natural heritage. Visitors who arrive at the museum will be greeted with the view of a Rongomaraeroa Te Marae, a traditional, cultural, and spiritual meeting place of the local Iwi and the Māori community, complete with intricately carved waharoa. Uniting Māori and Pakeha, or non-indigenous cultures, is a central exhibition hall. One of the six founding principles upon which Te Papa Tongarewa was built on was the acknowledgment of “Mana Taonga,” the cultural treasure of the indigenous people of New Zealand. Communicating “deep truths about our people,” Mana Taonga reflects Māori knowledge, language, and customs.
The World Around Us
2020-12-26   1076 Views
The World Around Us
2020-12-26

The Spiritual Dimension of Development is Inescapable: A Message of Healing from the Native American Chief Phil Lane Jr. (Veg advocate)

11:15

The Spiritual Dimension of Development is Inescapable: A Message of Healing from the Native American Chief Phil Lane Jr. (Veg advocate)

The Honorable Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. is a member of the Ihanktonwan Dakota and Chickasaw Nations. He is formally recognized by elders from across North America as a hereditary chief, owing to his noble lineage of leadership and longtime service to Indigenous peoples and greater humanity. For his tireless contributions, Chief Lane has received many awards, such as the Windstar Award and the Swiss Foundation for Freedom and Human Rights’ International Award. Today, we are privileged to introduce The Honorable Chief Phil Lane Jr., who will share some of his personal experiences, which led him on the path of unbounded wisdom, beautifully linked with Native American prophecies about a new revival, giving hope not just to the Native American Nations, but also to the world as a whole. “The Four Worlds International Institute goes way, way, way back, deep in our prophecies. It really began when my life changed in 1967. When my heart was so full of anger and hatred about what had happened to our people here. All people, really. All members of our human family that had been needlessly hurt and killed − we can’t have that. And so, that led me really into a life of trying to kill that pain with alcohol and something like that. But I encountered a very sacred, very, very sacred prayer; and that was like fire started burning inside me. And I’m sure we all have that spiritual awakening, that time when we awaken, and understand and feel oneness.” “By 1982, in Turtle Island, which is now called Canada and United States, both culturally and physically, our indigenous people had fallen into a deep, deep, deep, deep pain; deep alcoholism. And so, we were really at a point of suffering. But we knew in our prophecies that there would be a huge turning point, but there were signs on the way.” “So, in 1982, we were approached by the new director of what they call the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program in Canada, NNADAP. And we wanted to bring – as never before − a council together, and to ask them the question: ‘How can we come out of this deep, deep, deep hole we’re in, of darkness?’” “The elders said this. They said: ‘The moral, the spiritual dimension of development is inescapable. You cannot build healthy communities, healthy nations, healthy families, healthy human beings, on lies and greed and selfishness. They have to be built in kindness, compassion, forgiveness, respect, justice. That’s the foundation.’”
The World Around Us
2020-11-04   1279 Views
The World Around Us
2020-11-04

Matera: The Power of Endurance and Faith

13:51

Matera: The Power of Endurance and Faith

Matera, a city in the province of Matera, is in the Basilicata region of southern Italy. This extraordinary place is known as the “Underground City.” In 2019, Matera was declared a European Capital of Culture. In our time together today, we take the opportunity to discover the city’s Sassi, the Rupestrian Churches, as well as the cisterns. Rulers from outside have come and gone, but Matera has remained due to its special geographic features and the endurance of its people. In the 7th and 8th centuries, the grottos of Matera were inhabited by Benedictine and Basilian monastic orders. Both orders were well known for their strict rules and humble way of life and by their ascetic and meditative practices. They created cave paintings that can be seen today. The famous Park of the Rupestrian Churches is one of their best legacies. Stretching across some 8,000 hectares, it includes many rupestrian, or rock-hewn, churches and monasteries dating back throughout the history of the Christian Church. Some are small, basic caves with a simple altar, while others are ornately decorated and may have frescos, while still others are complex cave networks with large chambers used by the Christian monks for meditation and prayer. Today, many old cisterns have been converted into houses, complete with all the modern facilities. Warm in winter and fresh in summer, the water collectors of yesterday are the comfortable houses today. Prior to the 1950s, there were 18,000 to 20,000 inhabitants. Matera currently has a population of over 60,000 people. As stated earlier, Matera has known all the ages of human civilization and, as such, it has developed its own cultural traditions. The people lived in tough conditions and built a city protected by its geography and architecture. They were and are a very hard-working people. The Sassi of Matera are a geographical space that has been made into history.
The World Around Us
2020-10-23   471 Views
The World Around Us
2020-10-23

Bamiyan Valley: A Glimpse Into Ancient Buddhist Culture

17:11

Bamiyan Valley: A Glimpse Into Ancient Buddhist Culture

The name Bamiyan means “the place of shining light.” Embraced by the Hindu Kush Mountains, Bamiyan is situated on the flat, broad, fertile plains and flanked by high stone cliffs. The city was a busy layover point for merchants on their trips some 1,500 years ago, bringing together diverse cultures from Greece, Turkey, Persia, China, and India. These merchants also brought with them their Faith. Back in the first millennium, Buddhism had reached its peak, and many of the merchants were Buddhists. As early as the Kushan period in the first century, Buddhism became an important religion in this region and attracted many missionaries and pilgrims who traveled there to spread and revere the Worshipped Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings. The Bamiyan Valley became the westernmost point of Buddhism’s expansion. In the year 632, the venerated Buddhist Master Xuanzang from Tang Dynasty China visited Bamiyan Valley. According to Master Xuanzang, the Bamiyan Valley locals worshipped the Three Jewels or Triple Gem sincerely. Strong in their Faith, they took refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Sincerely practicing Buddhism was meritorious to Bamiyan Valley. The region nurtured religion and philosophy. It was also the source of numerous fantastic new artistic expressions, and many Buddha statues were carved into the sides of sandstone cliffs facing Bamiyan. Most prominent were two giant standing sculptures of Buddha that were made in the sixth century. The statues embodied the confluence of ancient cultural and religious styles of Indian, Persian, and Gandharan art. According to historic documentation, Bamiyan Valley housed a flourishing religious center where celebrations were held every year, attracting numerous pilgrims, and where offerings were made to the Buddha statues. It was perhaps the most famous cultural landmark in the region. For more than 1,500 years, the Buddha statues blessed the Bamiyan Valley and the people as they traversed the ups and downs of everyday living. Although the statues were ultimately lost, the spirit of the Buddhas has never diminished. After the loss of the statues, numerous international groups have become involved in efforts to preserve and restore this holy site. With thankfulness to all the governments, groups, and individuals working to protect this culturally-rich site, may the history of the Bamiyan Valley continue to inspire us to focus on our own Buddha Nature within.
The World Around Us
2020-10-16   651 Views
The World Around Us
2020-10-16

Pashupatinath Temple: A Sacred Dedication to Lord Shiva, Part 3 of 3

13:42

Pashupatinath Temple: A Sacred Dedication to Lord Shiva, Part 3 of 3

Many unique artistic paintings and sculptures can be found in different parts of Pashupatinath Temple. Gilded images of magnificently crafted deities stand on both sides of each door. Every beam of the roof is intricately sculpted. “The roof of the Lord Pashupatinath Temple is supported by Tudal (wooden carved struts). These are artistic in nature. Some depict stories related to Mahabharata – the figures of five Pandavas – while others have figures of the characters of the Ramayana.” Inside the temple chamber is a unique one-meter-high linga, or shrine, with five faces pointing in different directions. The one facing east is called Tatpurusha; Vamadeva faces northward; Sadyojata faces west; and the face pointing towards the south is Aghora. The pinnacle is called Ishana and is shapeless. The shrine also symbolizes the five main elements in Hinduism: earth, air, light, water, and ether. Many wandering sadhus or ascetic yogis go to Pashupatinath Temple and the Pashupati Area. Often adorned with yellow paintings on their bodies, they aspire to acquire liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth through meditation. “Pashupati Area has been the place of meditation for many great sages, saints, Mahatmas, and yogi masters.” The Bagmati River next to Pashupatinath Temple is sacred to the thousands of pilgrims who pay respect at the temple. Every day, Hindu devotees jump into this holy river, chanting ancient Vedic mantras to cleanse their sins. Open-air cremation takes place on the riverbank every day. May the story and history of Lord Pashupatinath and the Pashupatinath Temple continue to inspire people around the world to tune in to their God Nature within.
The World Around Us
2020-09-04   759 Views
The World Around Us
2020-09-04

Pashupatinath Temple: A Sacred Dedication to Lord Shiva, Part 2 of 3

13:07

Pashupatinath Temple: A Sacred Dedication to Lord Shiva, Part 2 of 3

Located on the banks of the Bagmati River in Deopatan, just 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from Kathmandu, is Pashupatinath Temple. Also known as “The Temple of Living Beings,” it is one of the most sacred Hindu temples of Nepal. The majestic temple is dedicated to a manifestation of Lord Shiva called Lord Pashupatinath, also known as “Lord of Animals.” Dating back to 400 BC, this Hindu temple is the oldest in Nepal. Hindus travel from afar to spend the final weeks of their lives here and have their bodies cremated on the banks of Bagmati River. Festivals have a meaningful role in Nepal’s rich cultural heritage. Throughout the year, thousands of people from all over the world unite for festivals at the Pashupatinath Temple. The most important one is the Maha Shivaratri, which literally means “Night of Lord Shiva.” It celebrates the night when Lord Shiva performed the Tandav, or the cosmic dance. All night, devotees chant “Om Namah Shivaya” and “Mahamritunjaya.” Due to the region’s significance, in 1986, His Majesty King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev designated about 264 hectares of the land as the Pashupati Area. “After the announcement, Pashupati Area Development Trust was established for the development of the region. Pashupati Area Development Trust is taking the responsibility to guard, maintain, and extend the temples, monuments, and monasteries of that area. The Pashupati Area is a living holy place. It is very difficult to find a living holy place in the world.” “Pashupati Development Trust is working to develop the Pashupati Area as one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus living all around the world.”
The World Around Us
2020-08-28   1216 Views
The World Around Us
2020-08-28

Pashupatinath Temple: A Sacred Dedication to Lord Shiva, Part 1 of 3

14:35

Pashupatinath Temple: A Sacred Dedication to Lord Shiva, Part 1 of 3

Situated inland between China and India, Nepal is home to eight of the world’s highest mountains, including Mount Everest, known as Sagarmatha to the locals. The Himalayan views, charming hillside villages, golden temples, and jungle wildlife combine to make a popular tourist attraction, and the many visitors boost this lovely country’s economy. “Bagmati River is the source of the civilization of Kathmandu Valley. Since ancient times, Lord Pashupatinath Temple is situated near Mrigasthali Forest, on the bank of Bagmati River.” “The importance of Lord Pashupatinath is immense, covering many centuries, and the prayers of the Lord Pashupatinath can be found in the Rigveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda, and Samaveda.” “There is a mention of the mantra, ‘Pashupati is the protector of all beings (in Sanskrit).’ People consider Lord Pashupatinath as the Savior, someone who uplifts and blesses all the beings. That is why the word ‘Pashupati’ has a greater significance. Because if there is someone who has the Supreme Power to remove darkness and ignorance from human beings, then that is Lord Pashupatinath.” “When Indra caught Lord Shiva (the deer) by his horn, it broke into three pieces. Out of those three pieces, one piece went to Heaven, another went to underworld, and the last piece remained in the mortal world, and this piece of Shiva which remained in the mortal world is Pashupatinath.” In 1979, Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal was registered as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The World Around Us
2020-08-21   790 Views
The World Around Us
2020-08-21

Ephesus: A Glimpse Into Millennia Past

12:58

Ephesus: A Glimpse Into Millennia Past

Welcome to “Ephesus: A Glimpse Into Millennia Past.” Every year on this day, August 15th, pilgrims travel to the historical city of Ephesus and visit the sacred House of Virgin Mary in observance of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Situated in modern-day Turkey, Ephesus has a past that goes back thousands of years, and has played an important role not only in Christianity, but in ancient Greek and Roman history as well. For its historical, cultural, religious, and archeological significance, Ephesus was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015. Remnants from the days of old show that Ephesus was not only a cosmopolitan center of commerce, but also a religious hub for Christianity and a leading political and intellectual center. Ephesus played a major role in spreading Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. The New Testament mentions the ancient city of Ephesus several times. Eventually, Christianity became the city’s official religion. Christians began visiting the classical city in the 1st century BC, including Saint Paul and Saint John, the venerated Apostles of Lord Jesus Christ, as well as the Blessed Virgin Mary. Saint John spent His longest missionary service in Ephesus. The House of the Virgin Mary, the holy place where the Mother of Lord Jesus Christ spent the final years of Her life, is also located nearby in Ephesus on Mount Koressos. In addition to its religious importance, Ephesus was a major center for culture and intellect. It was home to the second school of philosophy in the Aegean. Transporting us back in time, Ephesus is an outstanding testament to an ancient city that flourished as a center for cultural tradition as well as commerce, religion, intellect, and philosophy. Even today, Ephesus continues to impact the world through its history and its monumental archeological discoveries.
The World Around Us
2020-08-15   691 Views
The World Around Us
2020-08-15
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