Serving the worldwide Dharma community since 1999
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. 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 the 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 look website, which coincides with our 10th anniversary. Garuda Trading was established in 1999 and despite the current financial climate, we are still bringing you fine quality Dharma items from the Himalayan regions. We are based in Cornwall, a peninsula surrounded by ocean and located in the South West of England. Our online collection continues to expand, along with our understanding of the items we source. Our activity is partly the fruition of seeds planted during my monastic years as an ordained Buddhist monk. As practicing Buddhists, the view of right livelihood is extremely important to my wife Pema and myself (the two folks who deal with your orders and manage the website). Your positive feedback shows us that Garuda Trading continues to be a worthwhile contribution in helping to support the Buddha Dharma flourish outside of Asia. It is also a great source of joy to know that, in some small way, we help aid your Dharma practice.
Due to the very detailed nature of Buddhist iconography and the importance of the underlying symbology, it is necessary to thoroughly check that the quality and details of each item are iconographically correct. This is often overlooked in the marketplace, so we try our very best to hand select each product in our inventory. This means we 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 the best items currrently available.
The majority of our products are purchased from highly skilled Tibetan, Nepalese, Bhutanese and Indian artisans with established workshops and trade contacts in Tibet, the Himalayan regions 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, this ensures that they have a reliable income. 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 the artisans. 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 in Tibet, offerings to monasteries, sponsoring monks and 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 texts 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 hunt down 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 your visit has given you an understanding of the underlying motivation at the very heart of our store. Enjoy looking through our website and if you would like to contact myself or Pema, then please feel free to email us.
James Wainwright ~ Cornwall ~ 26th August 2009
This website is a labour of love and is constantly evolving. All photographs and website design by James Wainwright.