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Today, we tend to think of an avatar as a digital image that represents a person in an online environment. It’s the face or icon that represents you in your Twitter stream, or on your Facebook page. But the original word avatar comes from ancient Sanscrit, based on the root words ava (descent, coming down) and tatari (crossing over). The original meaning of avatar is the divine made flesh; an incarnation or physical manifestation of an idea or god. In Hindu belief, Buddha was an avatar of the god Vishnu – a physical manifestation of the deity descended to earth. Energy transformed into matter.

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Taken on October 30, 2011