Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Seeing Tradition

One evening nearly every month members of the Tibetan community in Seattle gather in their Buddhist monastery,  and, in the language of their homeland, recite prayers for world peace, for good health for their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and for their countrymen still living in Tibet.

The Tibetan community here is vibrant, and, in addition to monthly prayers, there are other kinds of cultural events as well.  A week from now, for example, there will be a concert of modern Tibetan music.  And there are also observances of Tibetan holidays…and of the Dalai Lama's birthday…and traditional ceremonies  to celebrate marriages, or to mourn a death.

The prayers, however, strike me as a kind of centerpiece for the community.  In the eight years now that I have been photographically documenting Tibetan culture in the Pacific Northwest, I have only missed monthly prayers a very few times. 

The prayers are low-key and quiet, admittedly not even a blip on the radar of all that goes on in "big city"  Seattle. 

Nevertheless,  I have seen that gatherings like these bind a community together.