Embrace Foundation
BULLETIN
Most Recent Updates
Dr. DeOtis Roberts & Mrs. Roberts, Baptist Theological Seminary
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Embrace Foundation is a non-profit,  
educational foundation set up to  
create better understanding  
between people of different  
religions, cultures, traditions and  
world philosophies.

Embrace Foundation works to bring  
leaders and scholars of world-wide  
religions, cultures and philosophies  
together by sponsoring forums,  
seminars, lectures and developing  
an international exchange program.  
Embrace Foundation is particularly  
concerned with reaching the world  
public through the media.
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Travel As An Interfaith Act
Embrace encourages all who can  
do so, to learn about other  
traditions and cultures by traveling  
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hope that people every where  
become life long students of our  
world-wide humanity.

“ In every man there is something  
wherein I may learn of him, and in  
that I am his pupil.”
                                  R.W.Emerson
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SEE: New! Traveling in Azerbaijan in CELEBRATE HUMANITY  - SEE: New! Traveling in Lebanon 2018 and Traveling in Georgia in CELEBRATE HUMANITY - See: TRAVELING  IN CYPRUS in CELEBRATE HUMANITY - FINALLY ! - See: CURRENT The Embrace Founders Travels in Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Lebanon & Cyprus  -   IMPORTANT ! See: article of TRAVELING IN TURKEY in CELEBRATE HUMANITY
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NEWEST UPDATE !
8th January 2019

Embrace has just put a new article: TRAVELING IN AZERBAIJAN in the Celebrate Humanity  
section.

Enjoy the photos of two unusual spiritual places - A Zoroastrian (Fire) Temple and the incredible  
magnificently mirrored Mir Movsom Ziyaratgah - Mosque & Shrine Complex.

UPDATE !
6th January 2019

Embrace has just put a new article: TRAVELING IN LEBANON in the Celebrate Humanity  
section.

This is the third trip for the Embrace Founders to Lebanon in recent years. Each time they have  
focused on different aspects of the country. Unfortunately, the issue of Syrian refugees  had to be  
dealt with, because many of them were in the hotel that Ajata and Virginia stayed in, the restaurants  
the Founders ate in . . .  Like Turkey, they were everywhere.

It has become necessary to touch on a some of the atrocities that have been visited upon Lebanese  
civilians over the years, although it does not go into the use of napalm or the murder of unarmed  
peace activists. For those who wish more information see:

http://military.wikia.com/wiki/Israeli_incursions_into_Lebanon


It is critical that those reading Embrace articles understand that Embrace strongly supports  
Judaism and the Jewish grassroots people uninvolved with politics or political lobbying.  
However, in no way to we support the government in the Holy Land. Nor do we support any  
government or political leader.

UPDATE!!!
4th January 2019

Traveling in Georgia (2018) is now in CELEBRATE HUMANITY.
Georgia is a microcosm of what is developing worldwide. Those who read this may gain a clearer  
insight into aspects of what may be happening in their own countries, even in some parts of Africa.

There are many human interactions and real dichotomies occuring in Georgia at this time in history;  
Very Old Communities of Georgians - Christians and Jews, Russians, Iranians buying property,  
Saudi tourists in large numbers . . .

http://www.embracefoundationinternational.org/Traveling_in_Georgia_2018.html

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  
Russians families. 

UPDATE!
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.
NEW! 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.

UPDATE!
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:
EMBRACE SACRED PLACES. ORG.  It will take quite a few months to edit them all.

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  
being renovated.

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.

UPDATE !!!
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.

UPDATE !!!
20th February 2018

Again,we are sorry for the delay - FINALLY! the articles:

TRAVELING IN LADAKH  and
TRAVELING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE DRAVIDIAN SIDDHAS

with many photos can be accessed from the CELEBRATE HUMANITY main page under  
2017.

UPDATE !!!
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  
sacred places.
 
In the case of EmbraceSacredPlaces.Org, ancestor temples fall in the category of Traditional,  
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  
numerous worlds.)

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.

UPDATE !!!
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  
concerned about.

For those who know the EmbraceSacredPlaces..Org website, you will remember that shortly after  
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.