Welcome to a special page.
During our around the world adventures Cesca and I visited some of the most important Buddhist monuments and temples that exist in Asia. We visited many places including Bihar the birthplace of Buddhism and the tree of enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, Tibetan temples in Shangri la, Mountain temples in Thailand, Vietnamese temples deep within caves, classic monuments in Laos and Cambodia, the Zen gardens of Japan, the old Buddhism that still exists in China and witnessed amazing artworks in India, including the final resting place of the Buddha’s remains.
From a grand collection of over 50 thousand photos we have selected our favourites converted into three sizes: 1600 x 1000, 1200 x 900 and 1000 x 700.
But, before you get to the goodies, please consider this small plea…
While visiting Cambodia, Cesca and I spent a day visiting an orphanage called the New Cambodian Children’s Life Association, housed in the heart of the city. It was setup by a survivor of the Khmer Rouge who has dedicated his life and the profits of his two business to making a difference in the rebuilding of Cambodia.
Founded on 11 November 2004 in Pnomh Penh by Lay Neth and his wife Thavy, the organization takes orphaned children and youths at risk under its wings. With their personal savings, Neth and Thavy bought an apartment to provide a roof over their heads and proper education to the children.
All NCCLA children receive education, and the older ones also work in the restaurant to help support the large NCCLA family. In addition, all of them are trained in traditional Khmer dances.
We got chatting to one of his managers when visiting Camory Foods, which is a bakery and cafe a short walk from the main bus stand. Cesca quickly got us invited to have a personal visit. We walked about half a mile along the strip, past multitudes of restaurants and cafe’s and then turned down a side street.
The children here are amazing. Bright, wide eyed and full of hope.
About twenty children were being taught English and we sat quietly at the back and were very impressed by the quality of teaching. After this another class started up, this one was teaching Japanese. We quietly left them to it.
Most of these kids are victims of things such as extreme poverty and the AIDS virus rather than the Khmer Rouge, but it is all indirectly connected. While we hung out with some of the older kids, I did some much needed maintenance on the computers. Two were a write off and kept electrocuting me, but the third could be sorted out.
I want to help these little ones in my own way. The state of their computers are atrocious. I spent a few hours doing what I could with them, but they are basically an electronic write off. I am going to buy them some Linux netbooks and send them as a gift and I need your help in doing so.
If you download these wallpapers, if you distribute them and if you like them please consider a donation to the fund I am setting up. This is perfectly voluntary. The downloads contain no locks or watermarks. Only high quality wallpapers. But I ask you again to help me help these children live a better life.
**UPDATE** The collection is now 3 years old and as such I am putting a $1 donation on the downloads. All the proceeds will go to the following orphanage
#16E3, Street 144, Sangkat Phsar Kandal 1,
Khan Daun Pehn, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tel: (855) 012 350 199 / 010 555 599
What do you get for your donation?
The ancient cave Buddhist of Ellora lived alongside the Hindu’s of Maharashtra, India. This is home to the some of the very oldest temples literally carved out of the living rocks. A visit here is to step further back in time each temple you walk into.
A Thai temple in Sarnath, India was opened by the priest just for us. Inside was a modern suite of sculptures, all very well realised and clearly loved. This one was artfully strewn with petals.
Vientiane, the capital of Laos, has many impressive temples. This Buddha watches serenely over the car park!
Luang Pra Bang is one of the highlights to any visit to Laos and the ancient Wat Xieng Thong temple is a must see. These paintings are all over the inner walls, bathed in light.
The final resting place of the majority of the Buddha’s remains are found in the museum of Delhi in India. It is almost forgotten and ignored by the Indians, who mostly walk straight past it sitting in the corner. A few years ago, the Thai government paid for this plinth to be built for it.
Sarnath, India is one of the most important sites on the Buddhist trail. It is where the Buddha first proclaimed his philosophy to the world. Nearby a museum hosts a veritable horde of Buddhist statues. This may be Maitreya rather than The Buddha, but it is a beautiful piece.
This wall painting adorns the walls of a temple in the north of Chiang Mai, Thailand. It shows the Buddha under the Bodhi Tree. Notice the use of a halo, something the Christians and the Buddhist took from the Hindu’s.
Doi Suthep, Chaing Mai, Thailand is one of the richest and most resplendent temples we visited. It has hundreds of golden Buddhas festooned around the walls. While over touristed, the temples does offer live in courses and monk chats. It is the first we visited with a Cafe!
More from Doi Suthep, Chaing Mai. This is from the inner courtyard. It is in a row of carvings all flaking away.
The giant seated Buddha of Nha Trang is often neglected by Westerners visiting here. It is my personal favourite of my entire journey. Over 30ft tall, the graceful and peaceful expression is one of the very best. It is quiet and surrounded by playing children from the nearby shanty.
On the way up the hill to the Nha Trang seated Buddha is a large and very impressive carving showing his final moments. This is the Buddha on his death bed. It is, again, enormous and wonderfully carved.
More from Doi Suthep, Chaing Mai. This candle is in the shape of a lotus.
More from Doi Suthep, Chaing Mai. Many Buddhist temples have hundreds of statues in the inner sanctum.
Tibetan Buddhism is the prevailing sect in the high mountains of Shangrila, China. These prayer flags mark the top of the Old City temple. After an exhausting walk up infinite stairs in the bright sun (a sure mark of Tibetan Buddhism), you are rewarded with an amazing view.
Gaya, India is birthplace of Buddhism. The place of his enlightenment. Many many temples from all sects have sprung up nearby. This is from the Tibetan temple, always clear from the bright colours.
Shangrila, China has an enormous Tibetan temple covering one end of the mountainous valley. Although expensive to visit, it is well worth it. Very run down, it typifies the effect of the secular culture on the Tibetans. This lion head stand guard over one of the three main temples inside.
Gotta’ catch them all? Tibetan Buddhism has lots of art depicting the ownership and collection of small balls. It is a theme all over the walls of such temples. This painting is from Gaya, India.
One of the young priests in Shangrila, China rushes past the tourists.
The great Zen gardens of Kyoto, Japan are wondrously amazing. The Rinzai Zen temple in the south of the city has my favourite. A place of real peace and quiet. The standard garden is created using moss rather than grass, and setup by a Zen Master.
The Ashoka Pillar in Sarnath, India has the laws of Dharma first set down in written form. These are the Buddhist “10 commandments”, although being Buddhist they don’t “command” anything. The great Emperor Ashoka was the high point of Buddhism in its home country before the emergence of Hinduism.
The core temple of Buddhism is in Gaya, India. It gives shelter to the great “tree of enlightenment”. Hundreds of pilgrims arrive here hourly. We spent the morning here while it was quiet.
One of the greatest Buddhists, and my personal hero, is Bodhidharma. popularly identified as the first Zen patriarch to visit outside India and the man who taught Kung Fu to the Chinese! Many legends exist of this great man, who once spent 7 year meditating in a cave facing the wall. This is a statue in a museum in Delhi, India.
Cambodian Buddhist priests shelter from the sun as they visit a temple in Phnom Penh.
Bangkok, Thailand is home to some very impressive temples. This giant Buddha lays in the peace of an enlightened death. It is almost impossible to photograph as the building is very small.