Gorakshanath’s cave discovered in Nepal

A group of spiritual seekers found a cave in which the sage Gorakshanath seemed to have meditated for a long period of time in the 10th century AD.  The cave is situated behind a Buddhist  monastery in the surrounding hills an is mainly worshiped because of a Buddhist Lama who meditated in the same place in later years. The long cave has been closed and only a small chamber with a shrine remains. On the website saivism.net we found the following text about the life of Gorakshanath.

Gorakhnath is also known as Siddha Siddhanta and Nath tradition. It was founded by Gorakshanatha (Gorakhnath) who lived about 10th century AD. He is believed to be 3rd, 4th or 5th in a line of 12 prominent teachers of this tradition, which has followers in both Buddhism and Hinduism. He was said to be a disciple of Matsyendranatha who was from Nepal. Followers of this sage believe that knowledge of this tradition was received by Matsyendranath directly from Siva himself. Gorakshanatha is credited with such works as Siddha Siddhanta Paddhathi and Viveka Martanda. He composed them in Hindi. He also created 12 monastic orders across Northern India in an effort to preserve the Adinatha tradition. Other important works of this tradition are Hathayoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, Siva Samhita and Jnanamrita. The school was predominantly ascetic and adapted many practices of the Pasupatha sect and the Adinatha Tradition in contrast to the Nandinatha tradition followed in the south. Although it is a tantric tradition, it differs from many left-handed (vamachara) schools of tantra with its uncompromising emphasis on the practice of brahmacharya or celibacy and its stand against the use of sexual energy in yogic practices. In the past this groub enjoyed some Muslim following in the northern India and some of them even became heads of their monasteries. Gorakshanatha brought to light many secrets of hatha yoga, kundalini yoga and samadhi and contributed to their present day popularity. Members of the group also dabble in occult sciences and siddhis or super natural powers.

Followers believe that it would be possible through yogic practices to prolong human life and become immortal in the physical body (kayasiddhi). They believe that through the practice of hathayoga it is possible to channel breath energy through a web of nerves or nadis and acquire occult powers as well as achieve liberation. No one knows for sure what these practices are except those who have been initiated into them. Some followers claim to have seen or interacted with beings who are several hundreds of years old. There are claims that Gorakshanatha, the original founder of the school, is still alive and active in our earth plane but does not appear in public. They also believe that Siva is the material and efficient cause of creation and that after liberation the jivas would return to Siva, like bubbles in water. Oneness with Siva can be experienced by serious practitioners of yoga in a deep state of samadhi. Once the state of samadhi is reached, an individual would remain forever established in transcendental consciousness even while engaged in the mundane affairs of the outside world. The group is active in many parts of India and abroad and its followers range from mendicants and street magicians to the most obscure ascetics living in the Himalayas. The popularity of hatha yoga, pranayama, kundalini yoga, holistic medicine, astrology and ayurveda in the modern world can be attributed to a great extent to this tradition.

And here for the first time  you can see some glimpses of this cave in Nepal and the chantimng monks of this sacred place:

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On Buddha’s Footsteps – new publication by Bruno Baumann

In this impressing and unique new book by Bruno Baumann the reader will be taken on a journey to the different centres of Buddha in Nepal and India and how Buddhism has spread throughout Thailand/Laos/Sri Lanka, China/Vietnam, Tibet, Japan and Korea. Everywhere, the Buddha appears as image in different styles, but it is obvious that it is the same Buddha people believe in. Either with a big belly as displayed in China or more ascetically as in Burma. Since ever Buddhism merged in a symbiosis with culture and the people living there. Interesting to learn is also the aspect how very much Buddhism was influenced by the landscape and different vegetations, like in the scantiness of Tibet where the convents are breathtakingly colourful, or in the magnificent Japan where the convents are basically simple. At every end of a chapter there are interviews with very well known masters of recent Buddhism, like Dalai Lama or the Vietnamese master Thich Nhât Hanh, who both stand for the differently practiced ways of Buddhism. They have their own personal interpretation of ancient Buddha and comment on the different aspects of the apprenticeship which they personally consider important. In this complete works of living Buddhism you will find incomparable photographs and lots of informative text. Short list of content: The prince who became a Buddha, The custodian of Buddhas heritage, Buddhas teachings as the export-hype alongside the Silk Road, The Himalaya – Buddhas mountain fortress, Buddha in the land of the rising sun. For the moment there is only a German edition available. (terra magica Verlag, Hardcover with dust jacket, approx. 208 pages with more than 200 photographs, format: 27,5 x 29 cm, ISBN: 978-3-7243-1004-4).

Daibutsu – The Great Buddha of Kamakura

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The Great Buddha of Kamakura is a monumental outdoor bronze statue of Amida Buddha in the Kotoku-in Temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It is believed that the statue was originally cast in 1252, following an idea by the priest Joko, who also collected donations to build it. The sculptors were One-Goroemon and Tanji-Hisatomo. The statue is approximately 13.35m tall and weighs approximately 93 tons. I had the chance to visit the site several times and was always fascinated by its magnitude; many say it is the most perfect image of the original Buddha. Watch this meditative video here on the blog or click on the vimeo logo to get the HD version. The soundtrack is by Parichayaka Hammerl.