Sunbeams in Silence: What is Holy?

Sunbeams Illuminating Interior of Tibetan Buddhist Monastery
In winter 2010, I had the good fortune to be asked to go with a musician friend to shoot some video clips for her forthcoming DVD. We chose the small, quiet Tibetan settlement of Bir (aka Chautra) in Himachal, Pradesh, north India as our set.

Bir Settlement has one road, and at least four Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in various traditions. Late one afternoon, wandering the street before dinner, we decided to stop by a small Nyingma tradition monastery. The monk attendant pleasantly agreed to allow us to tour inside and gave me permission to shoot freely.

He took us around the room, and happily explained to the best of his ability what we were observing. My friend speaks fairly fluent Tibetan and is well versed in the culture, whereas, at the time, I understood only basic language and knew less about the religion and history.

As we completed the short tour and turned to leave in respectful silence, I noticed these brilliant sunbeams illuminating the interior. For me, it felt like a sacred and holy moment.

Image copyright Tammy Winand
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