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Why I Do What I Do...

Martin Explains His Motivation and Purpose

The morning after climbing Mt. Fuji in a snow storm,
ready for the long ride to Tokyo.

There have been three primary motivations for my research and travels to the world's sacred sites. One motivation has been to gather evidence showing that pre-industrial cultures throughout the world recognized the Earth to be a sacred being worthy of deep respect and gentle treatment. Studying the development of sanctity at sacred sites, it is clear that many ancient peoples had a reverential relationship with the living earth. If such a relationship can be reawakened and encouraged in our own culture, we will be better able to address the crisis of worldwide ecological degradation. Many people, after viewing this website, report a deepening of their connection to and concern for the Earth. From such deepening arises a commitment to personal behaviors and larger social actions which make positive contributions to life. This website is therefore a powerful tool for assisting the emergence of global ecological consciousness.

A second motivation has been to photographically document the world's great sacred architecture before it is forever lost to the ravages of modernization and industrial pollution. Sacred architecture represents the greatest concentration and the most sublime examples of humanity's artistic expression. Due to their outdoor locations, however, these great art pieces do not receive the protection which paintings and sculpture receive in environmentally-controlled museums. It is my hope, through this website and my writings, to stimulate an increased public awareness of both the value and fragility of these wondrous works of art.

A third motivation has been to study the miraculous phenomena frequently reported at sacred sites. A growing body of evidence indicates that there is indeed a density of holiness that saturates the locality of the pilgrimage places and that this holiness, or field of energy, contributes to a wide variety of beneficial human experiences. The living earth has much to teach us human beings and the ancient sacred sites are classrooms where this instruction is abundantly given.

martin elephant

Martin India V