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Portrait of Izac


Izac and his family came to visit the Mountain Spirit Center at the same time as I was there taking pictures. His Dad showed him how ring the zen bell by swinging the beam (see below.) We all noted that the bell tone was very relaxing, then I researched:

The 大鐘 Ōgane (1) is the largest bell used in the monastery, it hangs underneath a specially-designed structure. The heavy swinging beam (2, 撞木 shumoku) is used to strike the bell. It is this bell which reflects the spirit of the Buddhist temple. The ring has a peculiarly soul-pacifying effect.     SZÓTÓ ZEN SŌTŌ ZEN

Izac was a seven year old from Tehachapi, California, USA. Isaac liked playing Minecraft, and with Legos, and going to the park. He obviously liked Batman (notice his cap); his favorite Batman villain was Joker.  “Batman is my favorite,” he asserted, “because he has a battery ram and he has a grabble hooker so like when he’s far away, he can like hold the grabble hooker and then he can like get up where no one can go.”

For those of you who are not familiar with Batman:

LEGO Batman with Grappling Hook

Izac likes the cartoon Batman a bit more than the live action version. Both he and he Dad were surprised to find out that the actor, Mark Hamill, who was Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, played the voice of Joker on the cartoons.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Buddhist Prayer Bell

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I love music

Portrait of Karen


Karen was from Friend, Nebraska, USA. She came to visit her son and his girlfriend in Tehachapi, California, USA. I met her at the Mountain Spirit Center, a Kwan Um School of Zen Buddhism, as she was enjoying the view and taking pictures of the gorgeous site (see below.) It was the embodiment of ZEN, that is, it was extremely relaxing. Please read the link to learn about their lifestyle and philosophy of sustainability and environmental concern.

Karen was a manager at  Walmart for 13 years. Karen was a quiet and shy person and I really appreciated that she let me take her picture because usually people who are as reticent as her don’t let me take their picture.

Since I started doing this project, I have asked many strangers to let me take their portrait and post it on the internet. The majority say no. You can’t imagine how many people don’t let me photograph them. Or maybe you can. The ratio is minimally one lets me take a picture to every three who don’t. But it could be even bigger than that.

The day I  Karen, I snapped this moment in Karen’s life, I went to a meeting in Mojave hoping that I would get to take pictures of several people. I thought I’d come out with a minimum of three pictures. But it ended up I got no pictures at that meeting. So I went driving off into the desert, and then into the mountains and that’s how I found Jason-3, Milford, Karen, and Izac.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Hills of Pine Canyon, Tehachapi, California