The hands of this monk coming together I see as an act of grace. There is connectivity to the spiritual world and the circularity of devotion that in this case surrounds his very soul and the reverence of gesture. In making this image I take my place as an observer while honoring the ancient Buddhist practice of resting with what is. The act of photography draws me into his inner sanctum; a blessing in and of itself.
Many Buddhist concepts I so admire and aspire to—these mindsets that release ownership of things and people and ideas—stand in direct opposition to Western tendencies I recognize as controlling, ruminating, trying to change things or people, accumulating, plotting, planning as if time or love or power are possible to own.
When I reach moments I call “enlightened,” I find I’m effortlessly connected to everything. Admittedly, most often on my daily walks, my thoughts turn to dreaming of possibilities. I have to deliberately call myself to appreciate what is. I tell myself to marvel at the flowers along the path, how the light changes every day, how the air can be muggy or super clear.
This is devotion, and devotion carries desire, but has nothing to do with grasping. Instead, there is gratitude for what is held in this monk’s naked hands; the one arm exposed, the other draped in a protective garment. There is a sense of two arms from different lands coming together in this monastery and moment of grace.