Vegetarian Festival in Gorizia, Italy

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The Gorizia-based company Biolab, specialized in plant-based organic products, in cooperation with Eventgreen, is organizing the fourth edition of the Festival Vegetarino (Vegetarian Festival) in Gorizia from 31 August to 01 September 2013. Ample space will be dedicated to green living and working. and well-known Italian speakers will be featured. Meetings will take place as well as cooking classes, children’s’ workshops, exhibitions and – of course – vegetarian food will be offered. Massimo Santinelli founded Biolab 22 years ago, when vegetarians were hard to find. The number of people following a plant-based lifestyle has since then been constantly on the rise. According to the Eurispes Report 2012, 1.1% of Italians are now vegans and 4.9% are vegetarians. Since more and more people asked questions, gathered information and were looking for different possibilities for their daily choices, Mr. Santinelli launched the first vegetarian festival in 2010. Two points were clear right from the start: the vegetarian route is chosen for  a variety of reasons – for ethics and health, the environment and for animal welfare – and is a broader choice than food and, therefore, the offer also must include more than food. The festival should appeal not only to vegetarians but be attractive for everyone. This is why the festival offers a full cultural programme.

The festival has constantly been developing and has evolved into one of the most important of its kind. The first edition was seen rather as a “test”, which confirmed that the vegetarian approach is shared by many people, and it was able to raise further interest. Public response has led to enriching the festival with meetings, courses and workshops. In 2011, 10,000 people came to visit the festival. In 2012, it was expanded from one to three days, moved from the industrial area to the historic centre of the city and saw 25,000 visitors. (Picture: Festival Vegetarino 2012)

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1 Million Children meditate for Peace

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On Saturday December 8, 2012, one million kids from 7,000 schools throughout Thailand and also from other countries came to Wat Phra Dhammakaya Temple in Thailand to be a part of the “7th V-Star Change the World” project. These kids are called ‘V-Stars’. V-Star stands for virtuous stars. They are youth moral leaders in their schools and community. The V-Star project of the world morality restoration project has been organized in the year 2008, making this year the 7th time this project has taken place. The “V-Star Change the World” project as part of the World Morality Revival project was initiated by Luang Phor Dhammachayo, the abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya Buddhist Temple. The purpose of this event is for virtuous stars from all over Thailand and also different country to come together to be moral support for one another. They are able to come together to meet and share their experiences of doing good deeds daily.

2012 Spiritual Planetary Summit in Mexico

The 2012 Spiritual Planetary Summit (December 18-23) in Yucatan, Mexico, is the celebration of the closure of the Long Mayan Count, and with this, the end of a cycle where the learning was held by the means of fear and its effects: sorrow, disease and death. It is the end of a long learning of humanity’s soul. It is the celebration of the beginning of a New Planetary Time, where the learning through love shall emerge, and with this, freedom, plenitude, regeneration and life. During the Winter Solstice of 2012, key date of Mayan Wisdom, where the perfect galactic alignment projected powerful rays of christic golden light, transforming rays that penetrate the Planet Earth in order to elevate its vibrational frequency and impulse this humanity and the whole planet into a New Spiral in Time/Space.

The organizers are motivated to generate an authentic spiritual space, where different lines, traditions, schools or leaders of diverse spiritual sides of the world will converge. All within a respectful, loving and integrative coexistence. They wish to contribute with the creation of a more harmonic world, with the instauration of a culture of peace that allows us all to experience the joy of living. We are driven by the creation of a New Humanity, in a better connection with its spiritual essence; in order to inaugurate a New Planetary Time, the Golden Ages.The Spiritual Planetary Summit has the mission of generating an encounter of soaring Spiritual Level in order to generate a vortex of authentic light able to expand the transforming energy of the New Planetary Times. The purpose is of shaping an event of marvelous ecumenical and universal spirituality, on the sacred space where Ancient Maya, in the predestined times to open the gates into a New Age, the Golden Time of Humanity.

In the Spiritual Planetary Summit, a great energy which does emerge a powerful vibrational field where all the participants were to be connected with their divine essence and be capable of absorbing the waves of galactic shines that are currently reaching the Earth. And thereby, we all together achieve to generate a sacred space where the divine light can be present and, from this center, expand it towards every corner of the Earth. The 21st December Ceremony to be held in Uxmal, Yucatan will be performed during the winter solstice with the purpose of being in a mystic synchronization with the mighty galactic rays that enter primarily through the pyramid of AK-HE-NAH-TÚN: spot of maximum injection of galactic energy for Planet Earth. The objectives of the Conference are:

* Setting up the codes of the New Time.
* Creating a powerful space of genuine transformation.
* Bringing the spiritual values to maintain a Consciousness of Unity.

And finally elevating the spiritual consciousness of humanity in order for every human being to be tuned in with its self-Divine Essence and to experience life with harmony, happiness, sake and peace. Within a new respectful peaceful coexistence. This, without any doubt, would take human experience into an upper sphere of existence, where LIFE is a sublime space of harmonic creation and recreation. More info and registration: 2012spiritualplanetarysummit.com.

Nipun Mehta: Creating Generosity

Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace, an incubator of projects that works at the intersection of volunteerism, technology and gift-economy. What started as an experiment with four friends in the Silicon Valley has now grown to an global ecosystem of over 350,000 members that has delivered millions of dollars in service for free. Nipun has received many awards, including the Jefferson Award for Public Service, the President’s Volunteer Service Award and Wavy Gravy’s Humanitarian award. He is routinely invited to share his message of “giftivism” to wide ranging audiences, from inner city youth in Memphis to academics in London to international dignitaries at the United Nations. He serves on the advisory boards of the Seva Foundation, the Dalai Lama Foundation, and Greater Good Science Center. Watch this inspiring talk as part of the TED series.

Gigantic Buddhist Rose Ceremony for the New Year in Thailand

Let’s open the 2012’s calendar with something different from typical celebration! What about the idea of rose? Universally, rose symbolizes love. Universal love is limitless. Limitless love can be love given to the religion and to all beings which it’s called loving kindness. If we could love all beings, our path of life would be paved by roses. So lets create a rose way to make a new rose year in 2012. At every special occasion, people are looking for special things to celebrate. Look at the beauty of roses, let the floral freshness quench our mind to be clean and beautiful, not allow it tainted by any old unwholesome memories in this auspicious season. Rip the rose petals and keep them fresh to add more auspiciousness. 127 Buddhist monks will walk on pilgrim on a length of 365 kilometer to bless people on this worldly greetings season. The entire 365 k route will be scattered by multicolored rose petals to unbrokenly pave the rose way for the righteous pilgrim monks to walk on. The event indicates that the 365 days of the New Year, the participants’ life will fill with happiness and success without difficulty. Thousands of people and school students take part in this joyous and sacred activity.

At the same time, the act of pilgrimage is one of the 13 Dhutanga practices of the Taravatta Buddhist monks. In the Buddhist society, after the Rains Retreat, monks are offered the Kathina Robe before they are preparing for Dhautanga. In the old days, this austere practice was emphasizing on the journey within the secluded forests. In modern days, the practice has been adjusted. The 1,127 monks will walk pass through 6 recently inundated provinces around the central part of Thailand. Their performance intends to nurture the wrecked mind of the flood disaster with the power of their loving kindness. The purity power of their cultivated mind serves as a big spiritual cleaning to all. The pilgrim route covers the provinces of Ayuthaya, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Nakornpathom, Supanburi and Bangkok. Yet, it contains another essence related to the Great Meditation Teacher of Vijja Dhammakaya named Phra Mongkolthepmuni. The designed route tracks back his life history. This noble journey commenced on 2nd of January and will last till 25th of the month – a total of 24 consecutive days. The starting point is Dhammakaya Temple in Pathum Thani Province.

Everyone is invited to participate and witness this spectacular scene and to give the chance to be blessed. This ‘Rose Way’ exhibits a great lesson that hope still exists as long as we still can breathe. After the event we may be more aware of the benefit of keeping ourselves expose as many as possible to wholesome environment amid life’s adversity. We will be able to find happiness in any situation and transform miseries into bliss. Our mind will regain its equilibrium, vigilance and the ability to handle things with fright-free manner. Then the ‘Rose Way’ will truly pave the ‘Rose Year’ ahead for us. – Elsbeth Maurer, Zurich/Bangkok

World Festival of the Heart in Melbourne in 2012

So many truly remarkable things are happening in our world today across the entire spectrum of human endeavour. But it is easy to lose sight of this fact when we wake each day to news of more outbreaks of war, civil unrest, economic challenges, natural disasters and loss of life counted in many hundreds and thousands. We seem to be living in times of great change and uncertainty, marked by substantial issues at both local and global levels and yet at the same time by amazing advances in science, technology, humanity and the arts.

The vision for the World Festival of the Heart is to explore some of these developments in three program-packed days in Melbourne, Australia, on 9, 10 and 11 November 2012. The Festival will bring together some of the foremost world figures in spirituality, the sciences and the arts, to celebrate their work and achievements in a spirit of oneness, openness and enquiry and to participate in their remarkable creativity. Many forums have highlighted these current developments but the organizers wanted to do something a little bit different . . . they don’t just want to talk about them, they want to experience them in as many ways as possible with the power of the heart. Their aim is to create a program full of activities: workshops, music, dialogue, devotions, performance, concerts, an expo and a grand forum. Their hope is to transcend our everyday concerns for three days and explore new dimensions of living and wellbeing. The program is designed for anyone who has a passion for life, the world and our future. These are the three major themes for the Festival to explore the interplay and convergence of these disciplines:

The Great Mystery: life, consciousness and the universe
The Universal Heart: recognising the oneness in diversity of all life
Creative Living: making right choices for a healthy, happy and harmonious life

Some of the program activities and topics will include:

  • “Whole-of-festival” sessions where everyone gets to enjoy the morning in the Plenary Auditorium
  • Facilitated discussions where participants and presenters can share their experiences in smaller groups
  • Workshops to get more “hands-on” with ideas, issues and materials
  • Themes based around “living in the heart”:
    • The Great Mystery: life, consciousness and the universe
    • The Universal Heart: recognising the oneness in diversity of all life
    • Creative Living: making right choices for a healthy, happy and harmonious life
  • “Art from the Heart” exhibition of local and international artists
  • Music-making, performances and concerts throughout the Festival program — stay tuned for announcements
  • Forum for the Future feature event with leading figures sharing their vision for the world and bringing together ideas and inspirations for daily living
  • Special childrens’ and youth program
  • HeartMart Expo featuring ideas, products and services for better living
  • State-of-the-art venue at Melbourne Convention Centre

The full program and schedule will be announced later in 2012. Check out the website: www.festivaloftheheart.org and subscribe to the Newsletter to be up-dated and informed. The organizers of the “World Festival of the Heart” extend an invitation to everyone with an interest in improving happiness, health and wellbeing to attend the Festival. The program will develop exciting ways for people of all ages and interests to participate and interact with our presenters, exhibitors and performers. Invited will be exciting presenters, artists, musicians and elders from around the world to participate in a program that will highlight exciting developments in:

  •   World Festival of the Heart Spirituality — heart-based living
  • The Sciences — cosmology, wholistic health, ethology, environment, nature, quantum physics, technology
  • The Arts — music, literature, visual arts, performance

Impossibility Challenger in Auckland: Fun records to enjoy

Budhsamudra and his team did a great job and put in a lot of effort and enterprise in getting the second IMPOSSIBILITY CHALLENGER together at the Waitakere Trusts Stadium in Auckland, NZ. The world’s fastest memoriser of binary digits came all the way from Spain! After cracking a few more world records, he gave the public aturn to try, which was real fun. Ramon can reproduce strings of numbers accurately with only a moment’s glimpse and has written a book called “Maximise Your Memory”. His wife, who happens to be the second fastest memoriser of binary digits in the world, was also present. A yoga instructor from India came to do poses whilst balancing on a bike and the disciples of Sri Chinmoy (who organized the whole event) tried to transcend themselves in all kinds of weird and wacky ways. Marianna achieved the fastest one mile wearing swim fins on her feet, Abhijatri and his team made an amazing maze out of cardboard boxes inn the shape of a rose, and Dhiraja led a ten-person origami crane-folding team. There were a lot more World Records or Personal Records smashed and lots of team-building type activities to be involved in! The next IMPOSSIBILITY CHALLENGER will take place in Budapest on October on October 20/21, 2012.

My most popular video on YouTube: Power of Japanese Drums

Out of the many videos I have published on YouTube one is by far the most popular: The Power of Japanese Drums with over 320’000 views, 1202 likes and only 16 dislikes! In July 2004 the Japanese “Shumei Taiko Ensemble” gave an outstandig live performance for schoolchildren in the center of Barcelona. Music and meditation is part of their spiritual training. An amazing video; check it out! – Kedar (Editor of this Blog)

Songs of the Soul – Tribute to Sri Chinmoy’s 80th Birthday

Another powerful concert in the “Songs of the Soul” series dominated the Riverside Church yesterday. More than a hundred of Sri Chinmoy’s students from around the world celebrated their master’s 80th birthday, presenting melodies from his musical legacy. The event was opened by 9-time Olympic Gold medalist Sudahota Carl Lewis who is currently running for a seat in the Senate of New Jersey. Among the guests were also new age musician Alap Jetzer from Switzerland and Samir and Sanghamitra Chatterjee from India. The next “Songs of the Soul” concerts are scheduled for September 23rd in Lisboa, October 24th in Moskow, October 26th in Harkov (Russia), November 6th in Berlin, November 8th in Warsow (Poland) and November 10th in Prague. More infos: www.songsofthesoul.com/de. (Photo by Utsahi)