Click here to view this artwork, Prayer Beads | Tibet, and its currently available sizes.

On the morning when I made this image of an elderly woman in the Himalayas of Western Tibet, the temperature was 10 degrees Fahrenheit. She was entirely blind, but expressed decades of familiarity as her hands moved along the garland-like necklace known as a mala. Each of the beads is sacred in that it centers its owner in meditation and prayer, leading to spiritual enlightenment. That thought and her calm, welcoming demeanor warmed me and I forgot entirely about temperature.

During my time in Buddhist villages and communities, one of the many things I’ve come to admire is the respect, attentiveness and care younger people have for elders living among them. This ranges from children to middle-aged folks and means this woman who told me she had never married and had no family members to rely on in her final years, nonetheless, was worry-free about her wellbeing. The community, the beads—her faith—and wisdom etched into her profoundly lined face were the bedrocks of her assuredness.

Today, I am in an airport on the way to a speaking engagement. All around me, people hold their cell phones; their hands moving along the surfaces much as did this woman’s hands trace the contours of her mala. We place our confidence and comfort in our phones not because we worship technology but because our phones connect us to friends, family, memories, and the world within and beyond ourselves. As long as we recognize their ultimate purpose, phones serve as portals to enlightenment, unity, love, community and peace.

Limited Edition


18 x 24 inches (45.72 x 60.96 cm)

24 x 32 inches (60.96 x 81.28 cm)

30 x 40 inches (76.2 x 101.6 cm)

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