The Bryce Canyon area was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874. The area around Bryce Canyon was originally designated as a national monument by President Warren G. Harding in 1923 and was redesignated as a national park by Congress in 1928.
Bryce Canyon National Monument (administered by the U.S. Forest Service) was originally established on June 8, 1923 to preserve the “unusual scenic beauty, scientific interest, and importance.” On June 7, 1924, the monument’s name was changed to Utah National Park and it was transferred to the National Park Service.
Iron-rich, limy sediments were deposited in the beds of a series of lakes and streams. These became the red rocks of the Claron Formation from which the hoodoos are carved and for which the Pink Cliffs are named. and get detailed information regarding Lodging around Bryce Canyon National Park.
My family and I visited Bryce Canyon in 2017. It was such an amazing site that nature created. If you haven’t been there, you need to go see it. It is worth visiting!
Angkor Wat is an enormous Buddhist temple complex located in northern Cambodia. It was originally built in the first half of the 12th century as a Hindu temple. Spread across more than 400 acres, Angkor Wat is said to be the largest religious monument in the world. Its name, which translates to “temple city” in the Khmer language of the region, references the fact it was built by Emperor Suryavarman II, who ruled the region from 1113 to 1150, as the state temple and political center of his empire.
Originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, Angkor Wat became a Buddhist temple by the end of the 12th century.
Although it is no longer an active temple, it serves as an important tourist attraction in Cambodia, despite the fact it sustained significant damage during the autocratic rule of the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s and in earlier regional conflicts.
Where Is Angkor Wat?
Angkor Wat is located roughly five miles north of the modern Cambodian city of Siem Reap, which has a population of more than 200,000 people.
However, when it was built, it served as the capital of the Khmer empire, which ruled the region at the time. The word “Angkor” means “capital city” in the Khmer language, while the word “Wat” means “temple.”
Initially, Angkor Wat was designed as a Hindu temple, as that was the religion of the region’s ruler at the time, Suryavarman II. However, by the end of the 12th century, it was considered a Buddhist site.
Unfortunately, by then, Angkor Wat had been sacked by a rival tribe to the Khmer, who in turn, at the direction of the new emperor, Jayavarman VII, moved their capital to Angkor Thom and their state temple to Bayon, both of which are a few miles to the north of the historic site.
As Angkor Wat’s significance within the Buddhist religion of the region increased, so too did the legend surrounding the site. Many Buddhists believe the temple’s construction was ordered by the god Indra, and that the work was accomplished in one night.
However, scholars now know it took several decades to build Angkor Wat, from the design phase to completion.
Angkor Wat’s Design
Although Angkor Wat was no longer a site of political, cultural or commercial significance by the 13th century, it remained an important monument for the Buddhist religion into the 1800s.
Indeed, unlike many historical sites, Angkor Wat was never truly abandoned. Rather, it fell gradually into disuse and disrepair.
Nonetheless, it remained an architectural marvel unlike anything else. It was “rediscovered” in 1840s by the French explorer Henri Mouhot, who wrote that the site was “grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome.”
The compliment can likely be attributed to the temple’s design, which is supposed to represent Mount Meru, the home of the gods, according to tenets of both the Hindu and Buddhist faiths. Its five towers are intended to recreate the five peaks of Mount Meru, while the walls and moat below honor the surrounding mountain ranges and the sea.
By the time of the site’s construction, the Khmer had developed and refined their own architectural style, which relied on sandstone. As a result, Angkor Wat was constructed with blocks of sandstone.
A 15-foot high wall, surrounded by a wide moat, protected the city, the temple and residents from invasion, and much of that fortification is still standing. A sandstone causeway served as the main access point for the temple.
Inside these walls, Angkor Wat stretches across more than 200 acres. It’s believed that this area included the city, the temple structure and the emperor’s palace, which was just north of the temple.
However, in keeping with tradition at the time, only the city’s outer walls and the temple were made of sandstone, with the rest of the structures built from wood and other, less durable materials. Hence, only portions of the temple and city wall remain.
Even so, the temple is still a majestic structure: At its highest point—the tower above the main shrine—it reaches nearly 70 feet into the air.
The temple walls are decorated with thousands of bas-reliefs representing important deities and figures in the Hindu and Buddhist religions as well as key events in its narrative tradition. There is also a bas-relief depicting Emperor Suryavarman II entering the city, perhaps for the first time following its construction.
Angkor Wat Today
Unfortunately, although Angkor Wat remained in use until fairly recently—into the 1800s—the site has sustained significant damage, from forest overgrowth to earthquakes to war.
The French, who ruled what is now known as Cambodia for much of the 20th century, established a commission to restore the site for tourism purposes in the early 1900s. This group also oversaw ongoing archeological projects there.
While restoration work was accomplished in bits and pieces under French rule, major efforts didn’t begin in earnest until the 1960s. By then, Cambodia was a country transitioning from colonial rule to a limited form of constitutional monarchy.
When Cambodia fell into a brutal civil war in the 1970s, Angkor Wat, somewhat miraculously, sustained relatively minimal damage. The autocratic and barbarous Khmer Rouge regime did battle troops from neighboring Vietnam in the area near the ancient city, and there are bullet holes marking its outer walls as a result.
Since then, with the Cambodian government undergoing numerous changes, the international community, including representatives of India, Germany and France, among others, have contributed to the ongoing restoration efforts.
The site remains an important source of national pride for Cambodians.
In 1992, it was named United Educational Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site. Although visitors to Angkor Wat numbered in just the few thousands at the time, the landmark now welcomes some 500,000 visitors each year—many of whom arrive early in the morning to capture images of the sunrise over what still is a very magical, spiritual place.
The truth and the original nature of all conditioned and unconditioned phenomena in the universe are contained in the word Buddha-dharma. The Buddha-dharma is all causes and effects in the universe. To understand all causes and effects, yet not be controlled by cause and effect, is to realize liberation and the Buddha-dharma. No matter how many schools or sects there are, the Buddha-dharma has only one truth. It is the truth of the universe: the dharma of ending the cycle of birth and death! The Buddha-dharma is the life order of another world and dimension.
However, this rather abstract definition does not tell us how we realize or learn the Buddha-dharma. In a series of dharma discourses on learning Buddhism released in January 2016, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III gives such a practical definition. It is the dharma that we practice in the vajrayana form of Buddhism. It is the preliminary, main, and ending practice in their totality. The true Buddha-dharma emphasizes real practice and skills and is not merely theoretical Buddhist studies. The holy manifestations or miracles described on Xuanfa Institute’s website and in the book H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha IIIare evidence that the true Buddha-dharma, as practiced by Shakyamuni Buddha and the accomplished ones of the past, still exists in the world and that very high levels of spiritual accomplishment are possible for those who follow a true vajra master.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has said: “After you enter the door of Buddhism, you must cultivate yourself according to the dharma. Your three karmas of body, speech, and mind must correspond with the teachings of the Master. Only then will you be able to become accomplished. Conduct that is not in accord with the teachings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas must be corrected through concrete actions. You must make your conduct accord with the teachings contained in the Tripitaka and the states of morality, concentration, and wisdom. Yet, correcting your words and conduct must be carried out within everyday worldly life. That is because everyday worldly life (worldly or secular dharma) is the Buddha-dharma. There is no Buddha-dharma to accomplish apart from worldly or secular dharma. That is why you must use all mundane or worldly experiences to improve your self-cultivation. You must use worldly experiences to perfect your realization and conduct. If your basic worldly conduct is not proper, it is of no use to speak in a high-sounding way about emptiness or to speak boastfully and wish wildly.”
However, we must have patience in learning the Buddha-dharma. You cannot completely understand the principles of the dharma in a brief period of time. You must go though the sequence of first hearing the principles from your vajra master, gradually acting in accordance with these principles, walking the correct path and so on. You must advance step my step. You cannot expect that your negative karmic obstructions that have formed over many past lives can be purified in just one day. The tantric dharma that we receive when correctly practiced will enable us to overcome our obstructions, purify our three karmas, and enable us to progress on this path. Do not waste time on activities that do not lead to liberation and becoming a Buddha. DO NOT WASTE TIME!!!
Although most would agree that we are currently living in degenerate times, often referred to as the “Dharma-ending Age,” there are other considerations given in the sutras that offer great hope. First, it would appear that the most dire of predictions on the time that the dharma would remain applied to India, the land of its earthly origins. For example, The Sutra of the Golden Age states that the dharma will only exist in its pure form for 500 years after the passing of Shakyamuni Buddha. After that the dharma will exist as a shadow of its real self for another 1,500 years. Other sutras refer to a period of 1,000-2,000 years as well. It is true that the Buddhism lasted in India for less than 2,000 years. However, Buddhism was exported to other countries where it took root and flourished for much longer. In China it lasted for many centuries and in Tibet it flourished for over a thousand years. It is still the state religion in many countries in south-east Asia. However, there is good evidence that some of the original power and effectiveness of the teachings have been lost over time and in many cases, only a “shadow” of what Shakyamuni Buddha taught remains
Also, as Shakyamuni Buddha tells Subhuti in the Diamond-Cutter Sutra, when the dharma ending days come, great Bodhisattvas who possess morality, fine qualities, and wisdom will incarnate to revitalize the dharma. In India there were the Six Jewels (Great Dharma Kings–Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Dignaga, and Dharmakirti) who developed the texts that are considered the core classic commentaries today. In Tibet there were the great Dharma Kings: Padmasambhava, Marpa, Sakya Pandita, Dolpopa, Longchenpa, Tsongkhapa, Tangtong Gyalpo, Taranatha, Jigme Lingpa and others.
For over 500 years between the coming of Master Padmasambhava in the 8th century until Master Tsongkhapa came in the 14th century, the great or high dharmas were available in Tibet and many people easily achieved enlightenment in one lifetime. This was because the tantric teachings were freely taught—even to many who did not have the discipline or qualifications to receive them. By the 14th century, Master Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) had a different situation. Because the tantric teachings had been so liberally transmitted and the discipline required for proper transmission had been lax, there were many false rinpoches and lamas and much of what was being practiced as dharma was not correct. Master Tsongkhapa was sent to this world by the Adharma Buddha (Adi-Buddha), Samantabhadra. Master Tsongkapa’s mission was to restore the discipline and bring order out of the chaos that had developed from the other transmissions to the Nyingma, Jonang, Kagyu, and Sakya sects. It is not that the other transmissions were wrong. It is just that because of the lack of discipline and the transmission of dharma to those who were not qualified to receive it, the dharma became corrupted and many of the lineages were filled with false rinpoches and false dharma, as is true today. Master Tsongkapa, a great scholar and disciplinarian, dutifully set out to correct the dharma and restore order to monastic practice. To set an example for his monks, Master Tsongkhapa, himself a monk, did not practice the higher tantric dharmas. As a result he was not able to obtain the rainbow body or become a Buddha while alive. He only obtained Buddhahood in the bardo. Also he did not transmit these higher dharmas to his disciples. The Geluk sect itself does not have these higher tantric practices. The Gelukas cannot obtain enlightenment in one lifetime from the practice of their own teachings.
The systems that evolved for classifying these periods or ages of the dharma are generally as follows:
Golden Age or Age of True Dharma(500-1,000 years): Practitioners are of a high capacity and the teachings are transmitted intact, so that many achieve the goal of liberation. During this period the teaching is vigorous, people are capable of comprehending it AND putting it into practice and many attain enlightenment under their own power.
Age of Counterfeit or Semblance Dharma; zobo in Japanese (500-1,000 years): Practitioners have lower capacities, shorter life-spans, and the teachings are transmitted imperfectly so that only a semblance of the true dharma remains, with attainment of the goal being rare. Only a few people of great intelligence are able to grasp the doctrine correctly and obtain enlightenment.
Dharma-Ending Age or Age of the Final Dharma, mo-fa in Chinese or mappo in Japanese (500-1,000 years): Practitioners are of a low capacity, the dharma cannot be transmitted correctly, and the world is beset by so many problems that is not possible to practice. It was in response to the perception that we had entered this period that the new modes of practice arose such as the Pure Land Sect that relies on the power of an already-enlightened Buddha or the Nichiren Sect which relies on chanting the Lotus Sutra.
It is also stated that the method for accounting for these periods are different in the sutras and in the tantras. The Kalachakra tantra, for example, has the end of the vajryana coming in 4224 C.E. and the mahayana in 4120 C.E.
By any of the methods of accounting and by just observing the world around us, it can be seen that we have entered the “Dharma-Ending Age.” However, the Buddha, having foreseen this dark age, provided for teachings that were appropriate for the different ages and predicted that great Holy Ones would incarnate at appropriate times and places to revitalize and teach the dharma that was appropriate for that period of time and place. It is because of these conditions that His Holiness Dorje Chang Buddha III came to this world to demonstrate that the true Buddha-dharma does still exist and to offer us a “Quick Path” to liberation. When talking about H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, Penor Rinpoche, the third leader of the Nyingma Sect, told Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche that “because this is the Dharma-Ending Age, it is good that such a high being has incarnated.”
The Sherpas and Tibetans worship Everest as Chomolongma, or “Mother Goddess of the Earth.” Luckily you don’t need to actually climb the 29,000 feet to the “Top of the World” to experience its magnificence and the beauty of the surrounding valleys and forests.
Preikestolen or Prekestolen (English: ‘The Pulpit Rock’, ‘Pulpit’, or ‘Preacher’s Chair’) is a tourist attraction in the municipality of Strand in Rogaland county, Norway. Preikestolen is a steep cliff which rises 604 metres (1,982 ft) above Lysefjorden. Atop the cliff, there is an almost flat top of approximately 25 by 25 metres (82 ft × 82 ft). Preikestolen is located near the Western part of the fjord, and on its North side.
Tourism at the site has been increasing in the early 21st century, with between 150,000 and 200,000 visitors in 2012, making it one of the most visited natural tourist attractions in Norway. BASE jumpers often leap from the cliff. Due to its increased popularity, the most used path to the site (an 3.8-kilometre (2.4 mi) long hike) was improved by Nepalese Sherpas in 2013.