On the evening of May 25, the Tam Bao Temple held a "Buddha Birthday Celebration". The Tibetan monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery participated in the event following their week of creating a mandala sand painting. There were hundreds in attendance, both temple members and visitors, and the atmosphere was reverent, welcoming and lots of fun, too. There was truly a community spirit shared by many. These photos capture the monks chanting then sharing words about living with compassion and thoughtful actions. Following the ceremonial section, talent performances were given by members of the temple for all to appreciate. //
There a four Buddhist nuns in this image, and I really gravitated toward their presence during the night. When I first arrived with my daughters, all monks were already on a stage facing a display which included a young Buddha with one hand pointing up and the other down. The monks were organized with the head Tibetan monk, Thay Dao Quang of the Tam Bao Temple, and another in the closest row to the Buddha, then the Tibetan monks, then four female Buddhist 'sisters', as I had heard one called during the week. There was one sister with whom I was more familiar from my daily visits. She had always been busy working outside every time I saw her, yet she always showed so much kindness to my girls with her laughter and gestures. This was the first time seeing her in a different context and I felt in awe of her ways. She is not clearly visible from this perspective, but she is standing in prayer with the others. They were very beautiful together.
In wanting this profile view, I stood from within a small pine tree along their side and zoomed out to full length on my lens. With a 6.3 aperture and ISO 1600 (using older body), I knew that the shutter speed would be too slow to keep the camera steady. I went for it anyway because I really liked the way they looked at that moment. There's a bit of blur and technical challenges, but I feel that it works with the texture effects of the tree and the black and white processing. That is what I felt, a tenderness towards the nuns, and I hope that is delivered through the image.