Serving the worldwide Dharma community since 1999
Why the Garuda? The sacred Garuda (Tibetan: Khyung) is a mighty wisdom being with dominance over the sky. As one of the 'four dignities' he also represents the fire element and the fearlessness of the Windhorse energy or Lungta. He is believed to nest in the wish-fulfilling tree of life and unlike other birds, he is fully developed inside the egg. At the moment of hatching, he is immediately able to soar unhindered in vast and open skies. This symbolises our own true nature, which is free from all limitation and is fully perfected from the very beginning. The Garuda therefore represents the awakened state of a Buddha. Images often show him holding a snake in his mouth and hands. This is pointing at his special ability to overwhelm the Nagas and is also a more potent sign that he has conquered desire. The Garuda has absolute confidence and his activity expands in all directions. In certain Nyingma teachings he is seen as a keeper or protector of hidden treasures and is also a manifestation of Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. In the Hindu tradition the Garuda is the steed of Vishnu, and the Shaivites worship him as the guardian of Lord Shiva.
Dear friends in the Dharma,
Welcome to our new website launch (2009), which coincides with our 10th anniversary of importing Buddhist handicrafts from the Himalayan regions. Garuda Trading was established in 1999 and despite the current financial climate, we are still managing to bring you fine quality Dharma items. We are based in Cornwall, a beautiful rugged peninsula surrounded by ocean in the South West of England. As one of the Celtic Nations, it is a land steeped in ancient history, with many standing stones and megaliths dating as far back as 10,000 BCE. A number of important heritage sites can be found on Bodmin Moor near to where we are located. Cornwall also has strong links to the legends of Merlin and King Arthur, the latter often being compared to Tibet's great Warrior-King, Gesar of Ling. We have always found it an inspiring place to live and base our business from. The positive feedback we receive from customers all over the world is extremely encouraging and greatly motivates Pema and myself (the two folks who manage the website and post your orders). It also shows us that Garuda Trading continues to make a worthwhile contribution, supporting artisans and the Buddha Dharma to flourish in and outside of Asia. We find it a great source of joy to know that, in some small way, we are able to help aid your Dharma practice.
As practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, we are keenly aware of the importance of keeping authentic Tibetan and Himalayan craftmanship alive. We have always firmly believed that the Vajrayana symbolism displayed in Himalayan ritual art, should be reflected as accurately as possible in the crafts we source. The correct forms and mudras of a deity or Buddha should always be present in a statue or thangka painting for example. It is therefore essential to thoroughly check the quality of each piece that is offered to us. This ensures that each artwork carries a much stronger blessing for one's practice and helps maintain authentic traditions for future generations. Sadly, this attention to detail is often overlooked in the marketplace. We therefore try our very best to hand select each product in our inventory and can spend several months each year in the Himalayan regions searching for special items. We believe this gives our customers greater confidence in what we have to offer. Nepal and India also produce vast quantities of poorly made Dharma goods in an attempt to satisfy the increasing demand for Buddhist practice supplies. As a result of this, these lesser quality items are now appearing in shops and meditation centres throughout the West. So with this in mind, we go to great lengths to source only the best Dharma items currently available. The hand crafted items on our website are not mass produced and so products are always subject to availability with our suppliers.
The vast majority of our products are purchased from highly skilled Tibetan, Nepalese, Bhutanese and Indian artisans, with established workshops in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and India. These workshops are small family run businesses with no child exploitation. Wherever possible we try to guarantee continued trade with the same suppliers as this ensures a reliable income for the artisans. It also means we can work much more closely with them and build stronger relations. We also pay for all of our goods in advance, so none of our suppliers struggle to produce the items we need. In some cases we purchase from community trade projects and established charitable organisations in Nepal, which means a better income and working conditions for everyone involved. We also try to purchase items, wherever possible, directly from monasteries in Nepal and India. This can include hand made ritual incense or our consecrated treasure vases for example. We fully realise the importance of fair trade and will continue to increase our own awareness in this area, whilst constantly looking to improve on the quality of the goods we are providing.
A further percentage of our profit is donated to various Dharma projects in and outside of Asia. This may include projects directly working in Tibet, offerings to monasteries, sponsoring monks, nuns and retreatants, statue and stupa building, re-painting the Boudhanath Stupa, contributing to bringing Tibetan Lamas to the West, releasing animals destined for slaughter and sponsoring pujas and the reading of Buddhist scriptures etc. Through your support we are able to provide a market for these products and in so doing give a reliable income to many Tibetan refugees living in the Himalayan regions. If you have any queries or suggestions then please do contact us. Even if we can't help, we may be able to point you in the right direction. If you need something that we do not have on our website, then we may have it in our inventory that has yet to be posted. We regularly visit the Himalayan regions and would be happy to look for or commission any special item you require.
We will be constantly updating our inventory, so please continue to check our website for new additions and changes. If any learned Buddhists find mistakes on our website, then we welcome your help in putting us right! I therefore apologise in advance for any errors we may have made. I do hope I have been able to give you some idea of our underlying motivation at the very heart of our business.
Please enjoy looking through our website and if you would like to contact myself or Pema, then we look forward to hearing from you.