Monthly Archives: April 2013

Zentraveler on the Laughing Buddha.

Laughing Buddha

Laughing Buddha


Sometimes when life seems to bog you down a bit you could use a hug or a lift. We often times see the laughing Buddha in our travels and wonder what does he know that we don’t…since he seems to be laughing at the world: Guess what I think he has it all figured out and is laughing at our constant struggle in the developed world. So here’s a dude that seems to be way ahead of his time and is willing to laugh at the world…helping you along the way. That’s my kind of a guy.

There are those beings who have vowed not to enter Nirvana until they have helped all others realize enlightenment. Hotei is this kind of Bodhisattva. He is one of the Shichi Fukujin, the Seven Japanese Shinto-Gods of Luck. His fat stomach, which protrudes from the robes he wears, symbolizes the largeness of his soul. It is also a symbol of happiness, luck, and generosity. His large elongated earlobes are a sign of wisdom. Hotei as a wandering monk who goes around and takes the sadness from the people of this world. Just his appearance has the ability to cheer anyone up from a bad day. His largely exposed, pot-belly stomach protrudes in front of him as he continues to laugh through never-ending-time.

He is admired for his happiness, plenitude, contentment and his loving and cheerful character. This deity of abundance, children and joy is often shown carrying a cloth sack (That Which Never Empties) filled with many precious items, including rice plants (indicating wealth), candy for children, food, or the woes of the world. Tracing his origins from a mix of Buddhist and Shinto religions, Hotei is from the time of the Liang Dynasty. Tradition has it that a Buddhist Zen monk by the name of Pu-Tai lived then. Because of his benevolent nature he was regarded as a bodhisattva, but due to his large protruding stomach, he was caricatured as the “Laughing Buddha.” He is also dubbed the Loving or Friendly One. Some sources affirm that he was an incarnation of the Bodhisattva Miroku, the Buddhist Savior of the Future.

Chocolate Deities’ Laughing Buddha travels the world spreading joy and happiness wherever he goes. His whimsical spirit reminds us to always keep our sense of humor. There is a tradition that if a group of strangers gather together on New Year’s Eve and ask Hotei for the same gift, provided they truly believe he will grant it, Hotei will indeed give them what they ask for.

Many believe that rubbing the Buddha’s belly brings joy, luck and prosperity. Research Credits: http://www.chocolatedeties.com They have a great website be sure and check them out…

So there you have it …sometimes you have to rely on the masters rather than trying to do it all yourself. If you want a mentor that is even larger than Justin Beiber you could not find better advice even if you were looking for it. Or could you?

QUOTE:“When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky”

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:According to Feng Shui theory, for instance, the ideal placement for the Laughing Buddha statue in your home is directly opposite the main door in the living room. This way, the Buddha will be the first thing a person sees as he enters his house. Additionally, it is said that the Laughing Buddha should be positioned on an elevated surface, since placing it directly on the ground would be considered a sign of disrespect.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Your frowns and your lousy persona…learn from the master and laugh all the way to the bank. Which bank? You figure it out grasshopper and then you will know.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS:What are you laughing at grasshopper? You are going to die anyway. Maybe a better reason to laugh…since it doesn’t cost anything more and uses less facial muscles than frowning.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Chocolate Buddha, love luck prosperity, Practical Zen, Uncategorized, Zen Buddihism

Zentraveler on the health benefits of giving.

Give for Longevity

Give for Longevity

We have all heard its better to give than receive and now scientists have positive evidence that this is not only true but adds years to your lifespan. Bottom line, If you want good health and longevity, then make a habit of giving.

Comprehensive medical research has linked the physical and emotional side-effects of giving as a combative instrument against premature death. How? The emotional effects of gift giving promote physiological changes in the body that significantly reduce stress and promote health.

The emotional side effects of charitable giving decrease the production of cortisol (a hormone linked to stress which reduces the body’s immune system). Lower levels of cortisol allow the body’s protective antibodies to combat antigens linked to many terminal illnesses – including cancer, heart disease, and aging.

By giving to charity you preserve genetic sustainability. Stress cuts down the body’s telomeres, which are your genetic end-caps. These end-caps, when cut down are linked to premature death. Research shows that the positive emotional effects of pro-social engagement combats the destruction of these end-caps and promotes longer life.

Research shows gift giving produces high levels of the hormone oxytocin. When an individual volunteers his services, gives, or pledges his charity this hormone is produced and is linked to your emphatic emotions that reduces your body’s response to stress, improving your immune system.

Charitable giving produces brain chemical changes. Researchers have identified a region in the brain that they call the “compassion-altruism axis”. Using MRI scans, scientists have found that your brain is very active in this region of the brain when your emphatic emotions are high. This activity stimulates stress-relieving agents that in turn improve your body’s immunity.

A healthy immune system as a result of altruism and gift giving means:Longer life expectancy, Prevention of pre-mature aging, Healthier physical and emotional wellbeing. We may never find the fountain of youth, but we can certainly improve our chances of living a longer, healthier life by incorporating charitable giving into our daily lives. Research credits: Microgiving.com

So there you have it! If you want to live as long as Moses 200 years or so, you need to give all of your money away, get a dog for a pet, get some friends and drink a glass of red wine everyday. Wait a minute, if I give all of my money away I won’t have any friends, can’t afford to feed the dog, can’t even buy a nice bottle of red wine and might starve to death. OK then– at least give some money away, volunteer to tag rhinos, work in a soup kitchen, and how about surprise someone who is down on their luck and become a mentor or donor.

QUOTE: “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ― Mother Teresa

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Fundraising growth in the arts subsector was helped by an $800 million cash gift to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas from the Walton Family Foundation. This was the largest cash donation ever recorded to an art museum in the United States.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Your donation receipts…they come in handy during tax time.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Give blood to the Red Cross… you are not only helping people in need you are also reducing your risk of heart attack by fifty percent.

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

1 Comment

Filed under health benefits of giving, healthy immune system, increase your lifespan, Uncategorized

Zentraveler explores Camiguin Island, Philippines

Camiguin Island

Camiguin Island


Camiguin Island is known as the island “Born of Fire”. It has seven volcanoes and several volcanic domes.
Volcanic eruptions have created this spectacular island which is full of natural wonders and historical riches.

Camiguin’s uniqueness lies in its varied terrain, pristine natural environment and rustic setting. Camiguin is one of the Philippines’s most beautiful islands…a virtual paradise where tourists can experience a sample of untouched beauty in its entirety. The perfect place for eco-adventures and discovery.

Camiguin Island in a part of Mindanao Province, however it is only two and half hours by fast-craft from Bohol Island. We chose to go on the night ferry from Cebu which takes approximately 13 hours. We left from Cebu Pier 8 and chose the aircon section with sleeping berths. The cost was 1000 pesos per person. On our return trip we left from Benomi Port by fast craft two and one half hours and arrived at Jagna seaport in Bohol. We then took a travel van 100 pesos one hour and arrived at the main port in Tagbilaran City. From there we took fast-craft to Cebu, another two hours arriving at Pier 1. This trip was nearly the same cost with the advantages being only four and a half hours on the water vs 13 hours on the night ferry. However as a trade off… if you go by night ferry you arrive directly on the island. They also have direct flights from Manila and sometimes Cebu…beter to check with the airlines.

My first impression of the island was it reminded me of a paradise south seas island, with its lush vegetation many volvanoes, waterfalls, mountain springs and interesting history. Camiguin is blessed with many tourist destinations which can easily be seen within one week vacation. There is a good road circumventing the entire island which is about 68 kilometers and can be toured with a rented motorcycle, tricycle, or tour guide. It has one main capital named Mambajao where most of the resorts are located close by. In Mambajao you can find a market, atm machines, and a rooftop hotel with a good restaurant.

Motorized Triycle

Motorized Triycle


The remainder of the island is rather remote and rustic with a few small towns dotted along the coastal road. There are two ferry ports one located near the capital and a brand new major port located at Benomi Port. We elected to stay a three different resorts to get a feel for the island and in different locations.

Our first resort is only a few kilometers from Benomoi Port and is located at Tanguines lagoon. We stayed at the Fishpen Resort in a small cottage right on the lagoon amongst the many fishpens which you can either catch your own fish, select one from the fishpen, or order fresh from the menu.

Fishpen Resort

Fishpen Resort


Our next resort was the Egnimata Tree House located near Mambajao, which is an artists haven. We stayed in the shell room or honeymoon room on the second floor and was amazed at all of the artistic touches… including an impressive elephant tusk outdoor sculpture created by a native artist.
Enigmata Tree House

Enigmata Tree House


Our last resort was on the side of the island near the Sunken Cemetery and Bura Soda Springs and is named D and A Cottages Resort. It has a large reception area and restaurant with quaint cottages built over the cliff looking directly onto the ocean. It also has a nice swimming pool where you can view the mountain volcanoes and relax…watching the changing lights in the pool at night. The staff is friendly and professional and make you feel welcome and a part of their family… making us want a return visit in the future.

D and A Cottages Resort

D and A Cottages Resort

We chose to rent relas (motorized tricycles) for 100 pesos per hour and went to the Ardent Hot springs, near Mambajao which is wonderful to just hang out in the hot springs stream coming from the mountain volcano. They have a restaurant and cottages for rent and offer massages at reasonable prices. From there we viewed White Island just across from Paras Resort. The following day we photographed the Sunken Cemetery, climbed three kilometers straight up a mountain trail named: Walkway to the Old Volcano and witnessed the Stations of the Cross.

Ardent Hot Springs

Ardent Hot Springs


After a night swim at D and A Resort we planned our next day which included a day trip to Burla Soda Springs located only about 4 kilometers from D and A Resort. The springs originate in the volcanic mountains and have a great swim area. The water tastes like club-soda and makes you super relaxed plus your hair is soft and shiny.
Bura Soda Springs

Bura Soda Springs


The following day we went to the Sto Nino Cold Springs located four kms from Catarman which is a large spring and swimming area at the base of a mountain volcano. We returned to Fishpen Resort and walked to the Mangrove Park and Eco Park and had an excellent lunch at Lagoon Bistro. With fish jumping and splashing on a moonlight night we drifted off to sleep. The following morning we took the fastcraft to Bohol from Benomi Port.
Camiguen Island 154

So there you have it! Camiguen Island is a great tourist destination with something for everyone. A great zipline at Fishpen Resort, rent a motorcycle and tour the island, visit one of many dive resorts, swim, soak, and relax in many of its natural springs, learn some history and take photographs till the cows come home. Whats not to like? They are beginning to gear up for major tourism….so get off the couch grasshopper so you can see with your big bug-eyes before its to late. We are talking natural and unspoiled…just saying.

Camiguin Island

Camiguin Island

QUOTE: “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” —author unknown

Camiguen Island 205

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The island of Camiguin lies in the Bohol Sea in the south of the Philippines. It is a small pear-shaped, volcanic island between the islands of Bohol, to the north, and Mindanao, to the south. Camiguin and Mindanao are only separated by a narrow strait. Population approximately 67,000 people.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Your Back…travel light.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Its all in zee travel! Really?

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

2 Comments

Filed under Camiguin Island, D and A Cottages Resort, Enigmata Tree House, travel trip, Uncategorized