New Meditation Center and Vegetarian Restaurant in Zlin

MadalBalZlin

Recently a huge new Meditation Center has been inaugurated in the Czech town of Zlin. Included are rooms for lectures, a Madal Bal Shop, a Gallery with Sri Chinmoy’s artwork and a vegetarian restaurant called “Pranaya”. The building and shops belong to Czech students of Sri Chinmoy. Photos by Ashish Zubaty.

restaurant-zlin

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Save Mess Aynak from destruction by signining this petition

The clock is ticking, imminent destruction scheduled to begin December 2012! We the undersigned bring to your attention that, when one talks about the protection of world heritage one cannot help to think of UNESCO and its commitment and responsibility to find prompt solutions for the safeguard and protection of endangered sites. After 30 years of armed conflicts Afghanistan has suffered the loss and desecration of thousands of objects and hundreds of sites such as the city of Ai Khanum and Bamiyan, a site that would eventually be enlisted as a site to be protected but too late. Let us NOT repeat the same mistake and ACT now for: the Heritage of Afghanistan is once again faced with violation and inpending loss, this time in the case of the immense Buddhist  site of Mess Aynak (see picture). We believe that while economical development through the mining of precious minerals, is necessary, it cannot become an additional tool or exscuse for further destruction of an already weakened Heritage. We the undersigned ask of UNESCO that the site of Mess Aynak, Afghanistan be enlisted immediatly on the List of Endangered Sites and the World Heritage List thus giving UNESCO the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to the protection and safeguard of our World’s Heritage.

Archaeologists from around the world are fighting to save a 2,600-year-old Buddhist city, called one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Asia, from imminent destruction by a Chinese mining company in volatile Logar province, Afghanistan. Sign the petition to save the ancient city of Mes Aynak from needless destruction while preventing irreversible environmental harm to Kabul watershed and the Afghan people.This ancient location, is in crisis because it will become a copper mine this coming December. Help us save this ancient site, containing thousands of years of history from being destroyed for commercial benefits. Signing the petition will take less than 2 minutes to do!

And here is the Link to the Petition

Almost invisible tree house in Sweden

This is one of six units in a “Treehotel,” which recently opened 40 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Sweden by Tham & Videgard. The four-meter glass cube looks as spectacular in reality as it did in the rendering. Kent Lindvall, co-owner of the TreeHotel, has been quoted as saying: “Everything will reflect in this — the trees, the birds, the clouds, the sun, everything. So it should be invisible nearly in the forest.” The units are constructed from sustainably harvested wood and have electric radiant floor heating and “a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly, incineration toilet”. (Photo courtesy of Tham & Videgard)

Soon to be released: Voices Out of Stone

This jointly written book was inspired by an inner prompting, an impulse that sent me on a journey to Carnac on the south coast of Brittany in France. It was the first of many extended visits to those magnificent sites, where the megaliths are strewn across vast areas of the landscape and at some places reach into the sea. I was unaware then that ten years earlier Carolyn had also had been inspired to follow clues and inner promptings that led her to make the same journey to Brittany, to the same stones at which Hamilton Hill and I spent so much time, the result of which was our first book, Let the Standing Stones Speak. It seems that certain stones can record information from the Universe, held there by what we may call angelic resonance, by beings we did not see, but in other ways were fully aware of. Each of us – Carolyn and Hamilton and I – from our first meeting with the stones, felt that they were reaching out to hug and welcome us, but also to warn us of how necessary and urgent it is to change human consciousness.

We live in England and France, Carolyn in California, and to this day we have not met. But Carolyn had kept a journal of her time in Carnac, a record of the messages she heard when in the presence of these ancient stones, of their healing powers and friendly guidance. In a family of sceptical scientists, her journal was a long-kept secret until one day in a San Francisco bookshop she found a copy of our book, detailing the remarkably similar experiences that Hamilton and I had shared at the very same stones. Carolyn, who is the author of eight other books, contacted us after reading it and sent us extracts from her journal.

Fascinating e-mail exchanges followed and it became clear that the only way we could continue the conversation was to write a book together, using the contents of her journal, and our information that was not in our first book. Amazingly she agreed. Hamilton and I had felt that our work at Carnac was unfinished, and in this sequel with Carolyn we feel we are continuing that work and helping to recharge the energies at Carnac. Ancient voices, heard through us, are being reawakened; perhaps they are among the truest voices of our time of essential change. Rarely have I heard a human voice speak with such understanding or depth of love, as in the mysterious messages from the megaliths. They provide us with guidance, tenderness and joy to help us all towards a higher level of consciousness and soul awareness. The messages in Voices Out of Stone are intended for the wider human family but they are often of a very personal nature. They remind us of the natural energy patterns of ancient landscape and the place of the human being within that landscape.  I have illustrated the book with some fifty pen and ink line drawings. –Natasha Hoffman (Findhorn Press, published 18 June 2010)

Eclipse over the Temple of Poseidon

What’s happened to the Sun? The Moon moved to partly block the Sun for a few minutes last week as a partial solar eclipse became momentarily visible across part of planet Earth. In the above single exposure image, meticulous planning enabled careful photographers to capture the partially eclipsed Sun well posed just above the ancient ruins of the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio, Greece. Unexpectedly, clouds covered the top of the Sun, while a flying bird was caught in flight just to the right of the eclipse. At its fullest extent from some locations, the Moon was seen to cover the entire middle of the Sun, leaving the surrounding ring of fire of an annular solar eclipse. The next solar eclipse — a total eclipse of the Sun — will occur on 2010 July 11 but be visible only from a thin swath of the southern Pacific Ocean and near the very southern tip of South America. Credit & Copyright: Chris Kotsiopoulos & Anthony Ayiomamitis (TWAN)

Japan’s Magic – My new Slideshow on YouTube

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Enjoy my newest slideshow with pictures I did during a trip to the charming town of Kamakura in Japan, where the Daibutsu, a huge Buddha sculpture, is situated. It is also the place of countless temples, gardens and other aspects of Japanese beauty and culture.

“Lights on” – a visual performance in Linz

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“Lights on” is an audio visual performance created for the Ars Electronica Museum in Linz, Austria, which has a facade that contains 1085 LED controllable windows. The windows’ colors are changed in real-time with music that’s broadcasted on speakers surrounding the building. Visuals are coded in openframeworks by Zachary Lieberman, Joel Gethin Lewis and Damian Stewart, music is by Daito Manabe, with support from Taeji Sawai and Kyoko Koyama. The performance is approximately 10 minutes long. It is an edit. Special thanks to the awesome ars electronica / futurelab crew, (maria, wolfgang, andreas), also Iris Mayer, Carolina vallejo and Rhizomatiks for helping make this possible. also a huge thanks to the technicians of Multivision who helped install the LEDs and made this possible. Some additional info about the install are mentioned here: is.gd/BkP2</p9

Japan as seen from the air

japan

Japan, forming an arc on the eastern edge of Asia, is a land of beautiful landscapes made all the richer by the progress of the four seasons. On top of its beauty, it is a leading industrial nation some 130 million people call home. The Mainichi Daily News has been photographing Japan from the air for more than 80 years, recording the passage of its seasons, the changing faces of its cities and the lives of its people. Through the over 100 photographs presented here, taken from the Mainichi’s photography airplane Phoenix II and the helicopters Rainbow, Kibo and Oruri, we hope to paint a picture of Japan over the course of 2008. Picture left shows sled trails making a “picture in the snow” in a park in Tama, Tokyo. On the right the thubmnails you can click on the Maninichi site.

Kyoto opens hidden treasures to the public

kinkakuji

Established in 794 AD as the official seat of the imperial court, Kyoto truly is one of the last places in modern Japan where you can sip and savor a cup of green tree while mediating on the finer points of a centuries-old Zen rock garden. Of course, like any tourist destination the world over, Kyoto has its seasons, which is why the city is jam-packed when the sakura bloom in the springtime, and when the leaves fall in the autumn. Indeed, Kyoto can be stiflingly hot in the summer, and frigidly cold in the winter. However, if you can get over your sensitivity to the harsh elements, there are some serious deals out there to be had. For the second year in a row, the city is sponsoring the “Kyoto Winter Special” to lure in foreign tourist dollars. Although the global economy is dropping, and the value of the yen is rising, it’s worth parting with some cash this winter, especially if you want to catch a glimpse of Kyoto’s hidden national treasures. As part of the Kyoto Winter Special 2009, which runs from January 10, 2009 to March 18, 2009, the city will be temporarily opening up twelve cultural heritage sights to the public. Kyoto is something of a mountain town, which means that the winter chill can run deep to the bone. However, it’s worth a bit of mild frostbite to catch a glimpse of ancient sights that are normally hidden from the public eye. Here are a few of the highlights:

Anrakujuin: An ancient temple that marks the location of the detached Imperial Palace of the Asuka Period (538-710).
Kodai-ji: A Rinzai Buddhist temple built in 1606 to commemorate Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the great unifier of Japan.
Ninna-ji: First built in 888, this temple is now the world headquarters of the Shingon Buddhist sect.
To-ji: This temple houses a veritable treasure trove of ancient books and scriptures of incredible value.
Myoshin-ji: The largest Zen temple in all of Kyoto contains no less than 46 sub-temples.
Myokoji: Completely surrounded by a dense bamboo forest, this is the head temple of the Rinzai Kenninji sect.