Saturday, 31. May 2008
Handbook of Native American Mythology

This work introduces you to the mythologies of Native Americans from the United States to the Arctic Circle - a rich, complex, and diverse body of lore, which remains less widely known than mythologies of other peoples and places.

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In thematic chapters and encyclopedia-style entries, this book examines the characters and deities, rituals, sacred locations and objects, concepts, and stories that define mythological cultures of various indigenous peoples.

By tracing the traditions as far back as possible and following their evolution from generation to generation, it offers also a unique perspective on Native American history, culture, and values, shows how central these traditions are to contemporary Native American life.

With more than 40 photographs, illustrations, and maps.


Handbook of Native American Mythology by Dawn E. Bastian & Judy K. Mitchell
ABC-CLIO, 2004 | 313 pages | PDF | 2.0 MB


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Navajo man sand painting. (Danny Lehman/Corbis)
Category: Books & Magazines | Ethno & Shamanism |




The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Confucianism

This encyclopedia includes not only the teachings of Confucius but also a wealth of information about Chinese culture, music, ceremony, teachers, writings, emperors, and events that are integral to Confucianism.

In volume 1, the author explains much of the teachings and history of Confucianism, why it is important to know how this ideology influences the modern world, and whether or not it is a religion. This is followed by a list of the contents arranged by broad subject, such as "Astrology, Cosmology, and Mythology" and "Dynasties, Official Titles, and Rulers."

In volume 2, the back matter includes a "Chronology of Chinese Dynasties," Romanization tables from Wade-Giles to Pinyan and from Pinyan to Wade-Giles, a glossary of Chinese characters, a bibliography of works in Chinese and works in English, and the index.

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Each entry includes numerous cross-references in bold type and a bibliography of works in English. The entries vary widely in length from short paragraphs to several pages and are complemented by many full-page and smaller black-and-white illustrations, photographs, and high-quality maps. The portraits of teachers and emperors are particularly interesting.

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Confucianism
by Rodney Leon Taylor, Howard Y. F. Choy
Rosen Publishing Group, 2004-07 | 1000 pages | PDF | 22.7 MB


Traditional Chinese star atlas from 1607 on which the Mandate of Heaven was mapped:

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Click the picture for a larger view
Category: Books & Magazines | Religion & Early Cultures |




Friday, 30. May 2008
Buddha beneath the Tree of Life Meditation

The Light becomes brighter and brighter, and here you are: you behold a magnificent temple. You hear music, you inhale the scent of aromatic perfumes.The light streams in pulsating waves, in perfect harmony with the vibration: Om-m-m.





'The Tree of Life' or the 'Universal Tree' incorporates the universal concept of the World. It may be comprehended as the Tree of Knowledge, the Tree of Fertility, the Tree of Desire, the Tree of Ascent – from the earth up into the heavens, or from the earth into the underworld. The Tree of Life plays the role of a unifying, organizing element in any one of the ancient mythological systems, being in and of itself a kind of coordinate system or axis, within whose embrace all other components and their symbols are encompassed or inscribed. The roots of the Tree of Life penetrate deeply into the subterranean realms. Bridge-like, its trunk reaches out from the Earth to the Sky. Its boughs and branches rise up to the highest planes of the heavenly spheres, attaining the mysterious world of the Source whence all that Is springs forth, where gods and stars dwell. This is the center of the Universe, the core element, around which all the visible and the invisible life of the entire Cosmos arises and propagates. The shaft of this Tree manifests itself as the Axis of Space and Time; its sap is the Dew of Heaven, the life-creating Ambrosia that bestows the possibility of renascence.

The Tree of Life - don't miss The Tree of Life in different cultures.
Category: Meditation & Mind |


News & Stories

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The mysterious forest rings of northern Ontario by CBC.
It is a strange phenomenon: thousands of large, perfectly round "forest rings" dot the boreal landscape of northern Ontario. From the air, these mysterious light-coloured rings of stunted tree growth are clearly visible, but on the ground, you could walk right through them without noticing them. They range in diameter from 30 metres to 2 kilometres, with the average ring measuring about 91 metres across. Over 2,000 of these forest rings have been documented, but scientists estimate the actual number is more than 8,000.

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Lotus Therapy by New York Times.
This exercise in focused awareness and mental catch-and-release of emotions has become perhaps the most popular new psychotherapy technique of the past decade. Mindfulness meditation, as it is called, is rooted in the teachings of a fifth-century B.C. Indian prince, Siddhartha Gautama, later known as the Buddha. It is catching the attention of talk therapists of all stripes, including academic researchers, Freudian analysts in private practice and skeptics who see all the hallmarks of another fad.

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Exorcists are summoned from abroad to drive the demons away
by Times Online.
Hundreds of Germans, tortured by inner voices, are on the search for priests who can free them from what they believe to be the grip of the Devil, according to an extraordinary radio documentary that has stirred an awkward debate about exorcism in the Catholic Church. “Over the past year alone I have received requests from around 350 people who think they are possessed by an evil spirit,” says Father Joerg Mueller, who heads a group of priests, doctors and therapists to deal with the problem. “Therapy hasn't worked for them; they want exorcism — a prayer that can free them.”

Crystal skulls 'are modern fakes'
by BBC News.
Two of the best known crystal skulls - artefacts once thought to be the work of ancient American civilisations - are modern fakes, a scientific study shows. Crystal skulls are the focus of the story in the latest Indiana Jones film. But experts say examples held at the British Museum in London and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC are anything but genuine.

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See also:
Who's the Brain Behind 'Aztec' Crystal Skulls? by NPR.
Some of the skulls are in museums; others are held by private collectors. The largest known specimen can be found at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. But you won't see it on display. You have to wend your way down a long hallway lined with ceiling-high cabinets filled with human bones. In a back office, inside a locked filing cabinet, the skull is in the care of anthropologist Jane Walsh. "This is actually called milky quartz," Walsh explains as she gingerly lifts the carved quartz skull out of a drawer. It's the size of a bowling ball, smooth as ice, with hollow eye sockets. "It weighs 31 pounds," she says. "I know because I carried it to London."

Religion is a product of evolution, software suggests by NewScientist.
God may work in mysterious ways, but a simple computer program may explain how religion evolved. By distilling religious belief into a genetic predisposition to pass along unverifiable information, the program predicts that religion will flourish. However, religion only takes hold if non-believers help believers out – perhaps because they are impressed by their devotion.


Stonehenge Was Cemetery First and Foremost, Study Says by National Geographic News.
The site appears to have been intended as a cemetery from the very start, around 5,000 years ago—centuries before the giant sandstone blocks were erected—the new study says. "This is really exciting, because it shows that Stonehenge, from its beginning to its zenith, is being used as a place to physically put the remains of the dead," said Mike Parker Pearson of England's University of Sheffield.



Elsewhere:
Stonehenge may have been royal cemetery by Reuters.
Stonehenge was a royal family's burial site, researchers say by Los Angeles Times.


Some news-links do not last long. In this case please send me a note.
Category: News & Stories |


Thursday, 29. May 2008
How To Give Yourself An Energizing Facial Massage

Give Yourself an Energizing Facial Massage. A facial massage is a great way to de-stress and unwind after a heavy day. This facial massage technique shows you how to perform the massage on yourself which means you can do it in the comfort of your own home at your leisure.



(Transcript of this video)

Step 1: Make yourself comfortable
You can do this massage in any setting, but it is more effective when the mind is calm and the body is relaxed. Find a quiet place if possible, either lying down or seated. Take a few deep breathes and if you wear glasses, remove them before starting.

Step 2: Head tapping
Firstly, start by gently tapping the head by drumming your fingertips all around the top of the scalp. This stimulates blood flow and brain cell activity. Carry on doing this for about 1 minute.

Step 3: Forward swipes
Next flatten both hands with your palms facing you and hold them at forehead level. Turn your head from left to right, alternate swiping the forehead with the fingers of the left and right hand. It should be your head that is moving and not your hands. Repeat this about 10 times to each side.

Step 4: Circle the eyes
With the hands still at eye level, now make loose fists while placing the thumbs on the cheekbones.
Starting at the bridge of the nose, firmly draw the knuckles of the index fingers in an arc across the eyebrows and down the outside of the eye.
Then once again starting from the bridge of the nose, this time draw the knuckles in an arc beneath the eyes on the crest of the cheekbones. Repeat this cycle approximately 10 times.

Step 5: Palming the cheeks
Once again open the hands and place the palms over the cheekbones.
Firmly draw the palms down towards the mouth, then continue along the bottom edge of the jawbone.
Follow the line of the jaw upwards, to just in front of the ears, then in along the cheekbones completing a cycle.
Repeat this cycle 10 times.

Step 6: Mouth swipes
Now turn the hands with fingertips pointing towards each other and the palms towards you as in the forehead swipes, but this time at mouth level.
Again, move the head side to side, swiping the mouth and lips with your fingertips. Remember it is the head that turns while the hands remain still. Repeat 10 times to each side

Step 7: Throat pull
Lowering the hands to neck level, we will now extend the thumbs and curve the fingers slightly.
Using very light pressure place one hand on the throat, and pull directly forward while closing the thumb and forefinger so that you tug gently at the skin as your hand slides off. This should not be painful or uncomfortable.
As the first hand slides off, the other hand is rising to repeat the process. With practice, you can achieve a steady rhythm.
Repeat with both hands 10 times.

Step 8: Ear massage
To begin, we are going to make "Spock" hands, that is, with your little finger and ring finger together and middle and index finger together.
Place the hands on the side of the head with the ears between the fingers and massage up and down.
Repeat this 10 times.
Now we will massage the ears. Starting at the tops, rub the ear firmly between thumb and the first two fingers. Continue down to the lobe covering the entire ear.
To finish give the earlobe a firm tug, then the middle of the ear, and finally the top.
Repeat this 3 times.
And that's how to give yourself an energizing facial massage the VideoJug way!
Be sure to check out all the other forms of massage and relaxation techniques on the VideoJug website.
Category: Body & Health |


Mindful Simplicity

All too often we spend our days in the fast lane...
striving, producing, achieving, working hard. Or we find ourselves overwhelmed with problems to solve, fatigued with information overload, deluged by endless needs clamoring for attention. We miss the simple things that keep our lives in balance and sustain our souls.

For thousands of years wise leaders and thoughtful sages--from Jesus to Buddha, Lao Tzu, Gandhi, Thoreau, and more--have preached the virtues of simple living. As the pace of society accelerates, a renewed interest in mindful simplicity has surfaced. Some call it "down-shifting," "right-sizing," "mindfulness," or just plain "simple living."

Research polls and studies confirm a shifting trend. Perusal of most any bookstore bears witness to the renewed attention this concept has attracted.

The essence of mindfulness is to be aware of what you are feeling, thinking, sensing, wanting, and doing, at any given moment. The benefits--for yourself, for your loved ones, and for the broader world--are profound. Like any life skill, it grows with practice.

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Take a pause for reflection: Slow down. Stop. Relax. Still. Center.
Be mindfully present.

Why? How? Read more ...
Category: Lifestyle & Trend | Meditation & Mind |


Wednesday, 28. May 2008
The Worlds of Gilbert Williams

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Moon Temple


Visionary Art is a form of Surrealism which contains two unique paradigms of reality represented naturalistically, and it contains an uplifting message or spiritual content. The way in which Visionary Art differs from classical Surrealism is that classical Surrealism or social surrealism often contains negative imagery. Visionary Art is unique in that often it brings light into a dark perspective, speaking to people of hope, peace, greater possibilities, and grander futures.

His canvases glow with transcendent light and a remarkable panorama of archetypal images: temples, groves, lakes and light beings, goddesses and nature spirits, moons and magical mountains.

The Worlds of Gilbert Williams


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The Dreamer
Category: Art & Visions |


Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies - MAPS

What is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies - MAPS?




Psychedelic Drugs As Medicine:



More questions answered by Dr. Julie Holland, Psychiatrist on VideoJug: Psychedelics.


The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a U.S.-based non-profit organization that assists scientists to design, fund, obtain approval for and report on studies into the risks and benefits of psychedelic drugs (including MDMA, ibogaine and cannabis).

MAPS' mission is to develop these drugs into FDA-approved prescription medicines, and to educate the public honestly about their risks and benefits. The organization was founded by Rick Doblin in 1986.

See also this Interview with Rick Doblin.


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Signed, Limited Edition Albert Hofmann Portrait, by Robert Venosa
Click the picture for a larger view


The Spring 2008 Special Edition of the MAPS Bulletin on "Technology and Psychedelics" is now available for download and online browsing as both a single PDF file (8 MB) or as individual PDFs of each article broken-out, features testimony from individuals who have used psychedelics for creative inspiration.

Exerpt from 'Letter from the Editor David Jay Brown':

An LSD experience can be subjectively viewed as an "atomic explosion" or "nuclear meltdown" of the mind.

Likewise, the penetrating perspective gleaned from a mescaline experience seems strangely similar to the seethrough point of view provided by X-ray photography, as both have the ability to make normally invisible aspects of the world visible.

A number of people - including Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann, who discovered LSD - have suggested that LSD might have been discovered in 1943 as a spiritual antidote to the apocalyptic dangers of nuclear weapons that now threaten the survival of our species.

Whether these speculations are true or not, Western science's discovery of psychedelic chemicals lead to an intimate and unusually creative relationship with technology.
Since psychedelics affect all aspects of the human mind, they affect every aspect of human culture. Science, art, medicine, politics, philosophy, and spirituality have all been transformed by individuals experienced with the psychedelic mind state, as has the major hallmark of our species' success - our ability to design tools. The interplay between technological innovation and psychedelic mind states has substantially influenced many aspects of electronic media and biotechnology - including the development of new film techniques and cinematic special effects, personal computers, the internet, and genetic engineering.



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Front Cover
Category: Lunacy & Psychedelic |


Tuesday, 27. May 2008
Mandalas for Painting in Meditation

Print ‘em and paint ‘em:

32 Crop Circle Mandalas for Painting in Meditation
from Klaus Holitzka: Kornkreis-Mandalas.

72 Mandalas for Painting in Meditation
from Heike Owusu: Mandala-Welten. Mandalas worldwide.

45 Mandalas for Painting in Meditation
from Rüdiger Dahlke: Mandalas of the World. Many rosettes of churches.

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Category: Art & Visions | Meditation & Mind |


Kinhin - Walking Meditation

Perhaps you envision meditation as something completely peaceful and still. Not always. Meditation is a tool for calming and concentrating the mind any time, any place. Sitting meditation comes first because it's easiest, but there are other kinds. One of the most important is walking. Now that you've tried sitting, try kinhin, a Zen form of walking meditation.

Sit down and begin meditation as you've learned to do. After five minutes or so, when you feel you are calm, slowly stand up. If your legs are asleep, uncross them and let them wake up first. Falling down is not usually a good form of meditation!

Once you're upright, place your hands close in front of your chest, with your left hand in a fist and your right hand resting on it, your right palm and fingers covering your left fingers and back of your hand. Let your elbows stick out naturally. Keeping your eyes half open or a bit more, begin to walk around the room — very, very slowly.

The object is awareness. Be aware of the complexity of movement in simple walking. When the weight transfers from your trailing leg, the heel of your leading leg touches the ground, your weight comes down on this leg, the ball of your foot and toes lower, you press down on this leg and prepare to lift your trailing leg. Then you balance on the leading leg, bend the knee of your trailing leg, lift that heel, and swing it forward into the air. You're committed then; you're falling, and the ground is there to catch you every time. Each step is like this: trust and embrace, your balance, your foot, the ground, gravity, a dance.

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Don't think about it, just experience it. You will find not thinking about it very difficult at first. You may take pride in your movement when it's smooth and graceful. If you're beaming with pride or thinking too much, remember that you're just walking — no reason to get puffed up. Relax your thoughts and let your mind calm down.

If you can manage this slow kinhin, try speeding it up, letting your arms relax and swing normally. Try doing kinhin outside. Eventually you'll be able to bring kinhin awareness into normal walking. It's the first step toward bringing meditation into your whole active life.

Fast Walking Meditation

In Japan kinhin is done really fast. It must feel good after a long session of sitting meditation. You're probably not doing whole days of meditation like Zen monks do, but you might want to try this during finals time or some other time you've been sitting too long and need action.

The meditation techniques we've talked about so far are usually done indoors. For fast walking meditation, it's best to have a large space to walk in. Unless you live in a big house, it will be easier to practice outside. The back yard is often good, since you won't run into anyone there, and no cars will run into you. Plan your route before you start the meditation. Walking around the perimeter of the yard is good. Try to stay on flat ground.

Sit in meditation for a few minutes until you can follow or count your breath without getting lost too often. Stand slowly. You can take the same posture as in kinhin, or you can let your arms hang normally at your sides. It is a bit harder to do with arms hanging because they'll begin to swing. Don't let it bother you, just let it happen naturally. Next, start walking. Keep your eyes half open so that you can see where you're going, but don't focus on any one thing. Don't risk tripping and falling over, just don't get hung up on what is in your field of vision.

Start slowly for a few breaths. Once you're moving and able to return your mind to breathing, you can pick up your speed to a normal-to-brisk pace. Remember, you are still meditating. You may be tempted to start thinking, to look around, even to stop at an interesting place such as the fridge or the basketball hoop. These are thoughts. Don't follow them. Let them fall away. Return your mind to meditation. Tougher here, isn't it? You are expanding your meditation farther into your life. You can practice fast walking meditation anytime you walk.


Source:
This article was excerpted from 'Buddha In Your Backpack' by Franz Metcalf.
Available at Amazon
Category: Articles & Essays | Meditation & Mind |


Monday, 26. May 2008
10 Close Encounters

On Sunday, May 18, NBC's Dateline aired a UFO special titled "10 Close Encounters Caught on Tape", which presented a number of the more famous UFO cases in which video or photos of the event were recorded.

From "Star Trek" to "Star Wars" - we've always been fascinated by the idea that -- just maybe -- we're not alone in this great big universe of ours.

But what if you actually had a "close encounter" with a UFO? You could reach out to the "Men in Black," but more likely you'd reach for your camera. After all, the camera, doesn't lie. Does it?

You be the judge as we count down the 10 most out-of-this-world '"close encounters" we could find -- from Texas to New Zealand, to the "Belgian Triangle."


Below you can view all the video clips that ran on NBC's Dateline, or visit their website 10 Close Encounters Caught On Tape.


1. McMinnville Photos

In 1950, a farmer and his wife photographed what remains to this day one of the clearest photographs of an alleged UFO ever taken. UFO investigators have repeatedly authenticated the photos but skeptics think they are nothing more than a hoax – a model hung from the telephone wires above. Did an actual alien spacecraft visit McMinnville, Oregon? Perhaps the farmer and his wife merely photographed a plane or helicopter, thinking it was out-of-this-world. Or maybe, it was all an attention-grabbing hoax. What do you think?



2. Galactic encounter

The year was 1966 and on board the tiny Gemini IX spacecraft, two astronauts, Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon, noticed something strange outside one of the windows. The photos they took spawned a debate that continues to this day: exactly what did the astronauts see?



3. Florida mystery

On the gulf coast of Florida, in the town of Gulf Breeze, a UFO phenomenon was born. It was 1987 and some incredibly clear photos of what appear to be alien spacecrafts began to emerge. For almost 10 years, the strange sightings of lights in the sky and crafts continued. But is it possible it was all a big hoax? You be the judge.



For the next videos: Read more ...
Category: Movies & TV | Ufo's & Aliens |


Sunday, 25. May 2008
Decoding The Past: The Other Nostradamus

He predicted World War II, the deaths of Presidents and the turmoil of the 1960s. He prophesied that Israel would become a state fifteen years before the event, and foretold the Great Depression. Many of his visions that seemed to pass unfulfilled are now being proven accurate.

His name is Edgar Cayce and to many, he is known as the other Nostradamus. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Cayce was a well-known figure in America, known for his "healing abilities" as well as his prophecies.

Cayce's predictions are documented in the transcriptions of his readings, which he gave until his death in 1945. The Other Nostradamus looks at Cayce's life and prophecies - those that have come true as well as those that have not.

This film examines his life and prophecies

'The Other Nostradamus' by the History Channel, 2005.
Runtime: 44 Minutes



Related Entry: Edgar Cayce: An American Prophet
Category: Movies & TV | Prophecies & Mediums |


Saturday, 24. May 2008
The Life of Hinduism

The Life of Hinduism brings together a series of essays - many recognized as classics in the field - that present Hinduism as a vibrant, truly "lived" religion.

Celebrating the diversity for which Hinduism is known, this volume begins its journey in the "new India" of Bangalore, India's Silicon Valley, where global connections and local traditions rub shoulders daily.

Readers are then offered a glimpse into the multifaceted world of Hindu worship, life-cycle rites, festivals, performances, gurus, and castes.

The book's final sections deal with the Hinduism that is emerging in diasporic North America and with issues of identity that face Hindus in India and around the world: militancy versus tolerance and the struggle between owning one's own religion and sharing it with others.

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The Life of Hinduism by John Stratton Hawley & Vasudha Narayanan
University of California Press, 2006 | 343 pages | PDF | 1.2 MB
Category: Books & Magazines | Religion & Early Cultures |


Friday, 23. May 2008
Lotus Sculpture

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In five of his eight hands he holds a noose, mace, drum, cobra and trident. The trident represents the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. It is also said to represent the threefold qualities of nature: creation, preservation and destruction. He holds a cobra symbolizing the power he has over the most deadly of creatures. Snakes are also used to symbolize the Hindu dogma of reincarnation. The drum represents the rhythmic sound to which Shiva dances and ceaselessly recreates the universe.

The front left hand is in the abhaya-mudra, the "fear not" gesture, made by holding the palm outward with fingers pointing up. The front right arm is across the chest in the gahahasta (elephant trunk) pose, with the wrist limp and the fingers pointed downward toward the demon Apasmara.


More about Hindu God Lord Shiva - The Destroyer

The “Lost Wax Method” is the only technique used by the artisans of Lotus Sculpture to create our Bronze statues. All of the artwork is one of a kind and is never reproduced on a large scale. Bronze casting in south India and Bangladesh is a skill passed on from generation to generation. Lotus Sculpture's artisans are the descendants of the famous Chola and Pala schools of bronze casting of 8th to 13th centuries. Lotus Sculpture assures you that our sculptures are the best quality coming out India and Bangladesh today.

To give you an idea of the amount of time and delicate work that goes into the production of each piece we would like to outline the creation process for you.


Picture: Radha With Krishna Playing Flute

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Since the 8th century with the rise of the Pala and Chola empire in South India and Bangladesh bronze statues have played a key role in shaping the mythology surrounding the Hindu religion and the Hindu gods. They have given the people a tangible deity to worship as well as bringing the stories surrounding the Hindu gods into their lives. Now you have the opportunity to experience the height of bronze sculpture by bringing bronze statues of Hindu gods and Buddha statues into your home or garden.

Looking for a special sculpture? Lotus Sculpture carries the largest selection of hand made Hindu and Buddhist sculpture available. From hand made, lost wax method bronze to hand carved wood, marble and granite sculpture.


This is more than a shop: with a lot of informations about the various gods and a blog of news and stories.
Category: Gods & Goddesses | Products & Services |


Power Of My Way

We all need reminders and moments of inspirations to help us better grasp who we are and how we can contribute! Understanding and realizing your true power and potential, moving yourself out of thought and into action, is possible.

Power Of My Way

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Category: Poetry & Inspirations |


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