NEW !!! UPDATE!
20th November 2018
There is a new article and photos from the Embrace Founders trip to Cyprus in CELEBRATE
HUMANITY. Cyprus has been a troubled area since the 1970's between Greek Cypriots and
Turkish Cypriots. However, Europeans have flocked to the beaches for decades and now also many
8th November 2018
FINALLY!!! Embrace has uploaded the New CURRENT (Summer/ Fall 2018) into the website,
outlining the Embrace Founders travel in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Lebanon and Cyprus. There
are many, many photos.
This CURRENT runs to two pages, so be certain to click on continue at the bottom of the page.
UPDATE ! IMPORTANT !
28th October 2018
Embrace has just put a lengthy article about traveling in Turkey and the situation in the country
especially regarding SECULARISM & RELIGIOUS CONSERVATISM, young Muslims, the Dervish
(Sufis) Orders in Turkey and what political and social forces are changing the country.BULLETIN
8 th October 2018
The Embrace Founders have returned from 2 ½ months in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Lebanon
and Cyprus with thousands of photos of sacred places in these countries to put in:
Since, the Founders had been to Turkey before. They only photographed new details of the Great
Mosques, so that more views will be available.
Among the many Holy Places in Turkey to photograph, the Founders particularly wanted to Travel
in the Footsteps of the Apostles and Mother Mary (Miriam - Mother of Isa / Jesus) after the
death of the Christ.
They also photographed beginning in Sanliurfa the caves of Abraham (Nabi Ibrahim) & Prophet Job
(Nabi Ayyoub) before traveling along the Mediterranean in Turkey - to the cave of St. Peter
(Antakya), the archaeological remains of the home and holy well (still with water) of St. Paul in
Tarsus,(also archaeological excavations & tomb related to Prophet Daniel, (not mentioned in the
Qu'ran), The Basilica of St. John where he is buried and the House of Mary (Miriam) in Selcuk.
Also, the Founders traveled in the Cappadocia region to photograph cave churches where
Christians lived and hid from the Romans during their time of persecution. Photographs were also
taken of three Islamic saints, usually called Dervishes in Turkey which will be written about later.
People in other parts of the world call them sufis: Rumi, Haci Bektas Velli and Somunca Baba
(Sheikh Hamid-I Wali). The Founders visited their old friends of the Jerrahi Dervish Order in Istanbul
although the people they knew in earlier times; Sheikh Muzzefer Effendi, Sheikh Saffir and Imam
Hafiz Sedef are now passed on. They took only a few photos as the Jerrahi’s new location as it was
Turkey is made-up of a very complex society. It has absorbed over 4 million Syrian refugees whom
the Founders encountered everywhere (pretty angry with America & the Western nations) One
elderly woman (Sunni) on a bus told Virginia that 25 members of either her neighborhood or family
were killed. Anyone that believes that Sunnis were happy to support the U.S. troops and the
terrorists they recruited to bomb and blow up Syria, can forget it. There are also Afghan refugees
that speak Uzbeki and even a few Iranian Kurds who are accepted into general Turkish society.
Although Kurds are often depicted as only Sunni Muslims, the truth is that there are 11 different
philosophies / religious affiliations among the Kurdish people.
In Georgia the Founders photographed magnificent ancient churches and enjoyed the energetic
and friendly monks at the Gelati Monastery. They also were delighted to find a dynamic and very,
very old Jewish Community in Tbilisi (of Gurjim or Ebraeli Jews) who some scholars believe came to
Georgia after 586 B.C. in the 6th century. The Founders were welcomed to photograph two
synagogues with the help of a friendly congregation member who offered to take them also to the
Beit Rachel Temple (Ashkenazi -the Ashkenazi Jewish community arrived much later in Georgia.)
Lebanon always has a hold on the hearts of the Founders. Probably, because the people have all
suffered so much and worked so diligently to overcome their divisions. All the people seem to have a
hard earned wisdom. Now days you find Muslims living and working along side Christians in
traditional Christian neighborhoods. But the most rewarding meeting for the Founders in Lebanon
this time around was their meeting with the Druze, high in the Lebanese mountains where they
photographed two of the Druze community’s most sacred places.
In Azerbaijan, the Founders were staggered by the incredible urban planning in Baku. Fantastic
modern architecture next to buildings constructed along classic French lines. Somehow, it works! A
Zoroastrian Fire Temple (ancient) that had also been used by Hindus later on was photographed . It
is still held sacred by current Zoroastrians (called Parsi in India.) You will find quite a number of
Mumbai Parsi visiting there. The Founders also photographed a sufi shrine of great significance to
all the Muslims in Azerbaijan, that of Mir Movsum Agha.
In Cyprus, the Hala Sultan Tekke Islamic Shrine and the Ayia Napa Greek Orthodox Monastery &
Church where a sacred icon of the Virgin Mary exists were photographed.
NOTE AMERICAN’S: No country where the Founders have traveled in the last 10 years have had
any thing good to say about America. American’s are seen as bullies and as a terrorist nation that
has with no provocation chosen to bomb civilians and initiate wars in: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya,
Pakistan, Syria and these are only the public wars. During Obama’s time the U.S. military made
incursions into 36 different countries (Check Wikipedia) In fact, Virginia and Ajata met a Christian
couple from India while traveling on this trip, who said they wanted to move out of India, but they
wanted to make sure it wasn’t a country the U.S. was going to start bombing(!)
Time to re-think foreign policy. Time to learn some negotiating skills instead of bombing people
to steal resources and geographic access.
In a few weeks there will he more information, along with photos in CURRENT.
Check your RSS, the Marquee or the Bulletin.
24th May 2018
Embrace has done research on the demographics and ecological status in the Holy Land
with some additional information on it’s economy. The article is THE DEMOGRAPHIC and
ECOLOGICAL SITUATION IN THE HOLY LAND found under FOCUS on the Menu. This
article peers into the Holy Lands not to distant future.
20th February 2018
Again,we are sorry for the delay - FINALLY! the articles:
30 January 2018
There was an oversight in mentioning that Embrace had also uploaded photos of VietNamese
sacred places under the sections of Confucianism and Taoism.
So in total, sacred places in Viet Nam can be found under the following six categories listed
alphabetically: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Taoism and Traditional.
Please note: Temples in the city of Hoi An are often classified as Assembly Halls or Congressional
Halls of various Chinese coming from different geographical locations. All include temples or places
to worship within them. In Penang, Malaysia these same Halls with temples are often called “Clan”
houses. A “British Colonial” designation.
It is very difficult to label Traditional and Taoist temples. Generally, Vietnamese and Chinese, and
temples that are a combination of Vietnamese and Chinese influences can be defined by the central
or largest deity in the temple. However, generations change, new deities or ancestors are added,
others lost. In the case of some writers, who do not actually know the temple they are writing about
and are not practitioners of the religion or spiritual tradition they are writing about, mislabel these
as well as temples primarily dedicated to great personages.
Buddhist Temples always have as their central figure either Shakyamuni Buddha or a particular
Buddha or Kwan Im or Guan Yin (the Goddess of Compassion, known by several names) or by
Avalokeswara - Avalokiteshvara (the God of Compassion - the male version of Kwan Yin, Guan Yin)
or in the case of the Tibetans and His Holiness The Dalai Lama’s personal Deity (Chenrezig- the
name of the God of Compassion in Tibetan.)
Often in Southeast Asia there are many statues of non-philosophical Taoist deities and in temples
that are still primarily Theravada, there are often statues of Arhats. In general, Arhats have achieved
self-realization but have not achieved the status of a “Buddha.” (There are numerous Buddhas in
There is an exception to the previous description of Buddhist temples we have given and that
exception is in Sikkim. The bringer of Buddhism to Sikkim, Nepal, Tibet was Padmasambava and he
has been attributed with many miraculous powers. He is particularly loved by the Nyingma and
Kagyu Tibetan traditions and there are Buddhist temples that seem pretty much dedicated to only
him usually showing him conducting his many miracles throughout the temples.
In general, so that no misunderstandings arise, Buddhists (especially trained monks, nuns, geshes
and so forth of all schools of Buddhism) usually concentrate on the good qualities or aspects of a
Buddha or deity which represents (generosity, courage, compassion etc.) to gain insight into that
quality and make it their own. It is not considered worship. However, this is often not the case for
devout lay Buddhists.
Some Buddhists, such as the famous Thich Nhat Hanh from Viet Nam now living in France,
emphasize “Mindfulness” meditation which is a strong discipline to keep track of all your thoughts
and to try to eliminate negative, harmful patterns of thinking. His teachings have a very wide
audience among Westerners many who consider themselves non-religious, as well as people
brought up in Buddhism. It is a practice that can benefit people of all persuasions, just as Hatha
Yoga is practiced by people of many different religions.
The most difficult temples to label are Taoist. That is because most Taoist temples are combined
with traditional beliefs. The philosophy of Taoism given to the world by a man we call Lao Tzu and
the later disciples of his philosophy does not provide for worship (like Confucianism.) Philosophical
Taoism of the original Taoism is not widespread in Asia. (The Tao Te Ching the original book of
philosophical Taoism is very popular, however, in the West.)
Some people will say that if the Jade Emperor is in a temple, then it is Taoist. As a non-
philosophical Taoism, of course it must be considered as such. But it is a form of Taoism pretty
much unrelated to the philosophy of Lao Tzu, Chu’ang Tzu and others of the philosophical school.
There is little confusion with Confucianism (Kong Zi), which is a philosophy and whose very ancient
temple in Hanoi is called “Temple of Literature.” Devotional people still leave gifts to statues of
Confucius and some of his scholars. It is a sign of respect and honor. However, as we have noted
before, a Confucius statue might be found in a temple incorporating the Buddha, non-philosophical
Taoist deities and/or ancestors and other. Traditional, revered persons.
The optimism and exuberance of some modern Chinese and Vietnamese temples incorporating
mixed traditions are a joy to visit and their innovative designs and bright colors are uplifting to
photograph. The monks and people are often very proud of their temples and make a visit to them
by outsiders a wonderful experience. History is important but new traditions are finding their place
of importance also.
The Embrace Editors are currently working editing and labeling photos taken in Hong Kong City,
Cheung Chau Island and Kowloon.
28 January 2018
Finally!!! We’ve uploaded all the photos of sacred places from the Founders trip to Viet Nam into
Embrace Sacred Places. Org. Photos of spiritual places in Viet Nam will be found under:
Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Traditional.
It took an exceedingly long time and we want to apologize to our friends in Viet Nam for the delay. In
Viet Nam more photos were taken of different sacred locations than have ever been taken on any
trip to a single country. In addition, we had an issue with editing them from several cameras and
finding a few locations that were misfiled.
Our intentions in photographing the details and architecture of locations is for people’s enjoyment
but more importantly, for a record - to refer to, should the need arise. On this same trip the
Founders were in Bali and Java and since being there and taking many photos, there have been
several earthquakes near important spiritual places This was one area Embrace has been really
our trip to Syria, photographing many spiritual sites, a war left precious architecture and Holy
sites decimated, civilians dead and destruction of many innocent peoples lives. This has been the
case in several countries.
2nd Nov. 2017
challenges they face, as well as, some suggestions for improving the situation.
31st October 2017
See: New article on collusion between Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the CIA to destabilize Syria
See: New! Finally!!! Photos of Java’s Spiritual & Religious places under Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam
and Traditional (Chinese - encompassing Buddhism, Taoism, Traditional) in Embrace Sacred
24 September 2017
Embrace has just updated the most recent travels of its’ Founders in July and August to CURRENT.
They went to Kashmir, Ladakh, India (which have been under heavy military control for some years
now) to revisit old friends in the Sufi, Islamic and Buddhist communities who were among those who
gave Embrace a great deal of support at the very beginning of its’ conception in India in 1982.
Ajata and Virginia also were finally and joyously able to follow in the footsteps of some of the great
Dravadin Siddhas in Tamil Nadu.
Many photos are included and articles will be forthcoming in CELEBRATE HUMANITY with regard
to: (Please be patient. We will notify by RSS, the Marquee & this BULLETIN when they are ready.)
TRAVELING IN KASHMIR -2017,
TRAVELING IN LADAKH -2017
TRAVELING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF DRAVIDAN SIDDHAS -2017
Interfaith (as one temple has both Hindu and Buddhist sacred shrines)
26th June 2017
Once again Embrace has another call for the “witness” of thousands of atrocities committed against
Palestinian Human Rights in the Holy Land. The vicious Holy Land government arrests people
without charges or a trial merely because they (even women and minors) write blogs on the
internet that the government deems a threat. (This is a paranoid government that is threatened by
just about every thing.).
Now the call for action comes from the coalition of all Christian organizations in Palestine asking the
WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES to do what is right.
The Holy Land government forces the Best and Brightest among Palestinians to starve themselves
to death - demonstrating to the world the constant crimes against all humanity that this government
If the Holy Land government continues it’s cruelty and malice it will soon be dubbed permanently by
the majority of religious leaders from around the world as the “The Hate State.”
It is hardly any wonder that the vast majority of countries around the world do not want to do
business with it.
The Embrace Founders do not support in any way or approve of political states that define
themselves as: Buddhist states, Christian states, Hindu states, Jewish states or Muslim
states. We absolutely reject any concept that one citizen is superior to another by virtue of their
culture, race, sect, class, caste, clan, tribe or religious, philosophical or spiritual belief.
(For further information about Embrace and some of its’ Rabbis, Rebs - See: FOCUS)
10th June 2017
HUMANITY section of our website with 25 photos of architecture, botanical gardens and sacred
places. This time with Churches, the major Synagogue and the largest Mosque. Explore, learn and
11th May 2017
in CELEBRATE HUMANITY with 25 recent photos in each section and information about traveling
in these countries that you will not get in travel books.
20th April 2017
information and 25 photos in each section that can not be found in travel books.
15th April 2017
The Embrace Founders have returned from their three and one half month trip to Indonesia: Bali and
Java, Viet Nam, Hong Kong and once more to Singapore visiting religious leaders, scholars and
photographing sacred places and sacred events. See: Photos and details of the people and places
The CURRENT section has been getting so long, we’ve decided to put the enormous amount of
information regarding traveling in these locations (including a 2017 update on Singapore) in
Traveling in Bali 2017,
Traveling Java- 2017,
Traveling in Viet Nam 2017,
Traveling in Hong Kong 2017
Traveling in Singapore 2017
Each section has 20-25 photos included. These photos are usually ones dealing with people and
website & registry. The CELEBRATE HUMANITY section is meant to cover aspects of traveling in
these countries that are not usually covered in travel books.
In a few months we should have the thousands of photos edited and categorized and uploaded by
Founders take, they average well over 7,000 or so photos. Fortunately, the photos are divided
between several cameras but it adds to the editing confusion.