Nurtured, Bir, India, Inner Harmony series

In 2015 I was privileged to stay at a Buddhist monastery in Bir, India. The day prior to taking this photograph I was fooling around with this 6-year-old and his fellow monks during an informal cricket match. This image was captured without direction as they lined up to start a processional ushering in an all-day sacred Puja ceremony.

The interplay of hands in Nurtured strongly suggests the existence of a strong ‘family’ bond. This point becomes self-evident when the viewer realizes that throughout Asia the head is considered a sacred part of the body and only touched by close relatives. The loving relationship that exists between these boys is further reinforced when we sense the security felt by the young monk as his tiny hands firmly grasp the fingers of a trusted family member.

For me Nurtured expands my definition of family, while acknowledging the myriad of circumstances that shape our physical and emotional well-being. Nurtured also highlights the reality of our reliance and interconnectedness with all of humanity, nature and a multitude of other unknown factors.

Boys in Prayer, Punakha, Bhutan, Inner Harmony series

One’s effort to be compassionate, if not guided by wisdom, is like a ship without a rudder. A person may have the best of intentions but if they are unable to think clearly, unencumbered by destructive emotions such as bias, ego, greed and anger, their effectiveness may be suboptimum or even harmful.

In this photograph young Buddhist monks recite their afternoon prayers. Biblical canon can serve as a wonderful moral compass when trying to respond with compassion during challenging situations. However, one must be vigilant because the underlying message of scripture can also be distorted and used to manipulate and oppress. Therefore, wisdom is crucial when exploring core principles embedded in religious text.