Buddha’s Thumbnail

This is our entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Hands.

North of New Bagan, Myanmar, just off the Bagan-Chauk Road in Myin Ka Bar, are some of the largest Buddha figures we have ever seen.  One of these was a bhumisparsha Buddha, seated with his left hand palm upward on his lap and the fingers of the right hand pointing to the earth beside his right knee.  For a sense of the size of this Buddha, consider that the human hand in the photo is covering less than half of the right thumbnail of the Buddha.

This photo was taken on February 11, 2017. Specs are:

Olympus TG-4, ISO 2000, f/2.0, 1/30 sec, 4.5 mm.

Why we went to South India

We went to South India for several reasons, but the primary reason was to take this picture at the Hampi Temple Complex.

The object of this picture is a chariot carved from stone.  The chariot originally contained a Garuda, an eagle-like creature from Hindu mythology. The chariot represents the type of cart that Hindu idols are carried in during religious processions. This chariot stands guard outside a temple to Vishnu and is oriented so that the Garuda can gaze at the idol representing the god inside.

Vishnu is one of the three main Hindu gods.  Brahma is the creator of the universe, Vishnu is responsible for its continuation, and Shiva is responsible for its destruction. Each Hindu god has an animal-like vehicle for travel and Vishnu travels on the back of the Garuda. Vishnu is incarnated at times of need. Two incarnations of Vishnu that are familiar in the West are Buddha (not everyone in India agrees with this) and Krishna, whose American supporters — the Hari Krishnas — made it difficult to pass through airports in the 1970’s because of their chanting and soliciting of donations. It wasn’t clear to us if the Garuda gets reincarnated also.

Fun facts:

(1) This chariot is of such significance that its image is on the money.

(2) For centuries, the stone wheels could be turned, but the Indian government decided to cement them in place.

Buddha’s Feet — Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Shoes or Feet

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Shoes or Feet (human or animal).

We did a temple tour during a 2017 visit to Chiang Mai, Thailand. We took literally hundreds of pictures of Buddhas housed in the temples, including this picture of the feet of a reclining Buddha in Wat Chedi Luang.

This photo was taken on January 31, 2017, and was converted from color to black and white with selective color using Silver Efx Pro.

The Buddha’s Silence

This is our entry in The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Silence.

This Buddha figure sits in a tall niche in the Pahatothamya Temple in Bagan, Myanmar.  As unenlightened visitors to the temple, we experienced the Buddha’s silence.

This photo was taken on February 10, 2017.  Specs are:

Canon SL1, ISO 3200, f/3.5, 1/125 sec, 18mm


Shwedagon Buddha

This is our entry in Lost in Translation’s BLACK & WHITE SUNDAY: HEADSHOT.

The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar (Burma). This Buddha statue is one of hundreds there, each as beautiful as the other.


This photo was taken on February 5, 2017. The original main colors of the statue are ivory (skin), gold (robe), and red (lips). The photo was converted to black and white in Lightroom. Specs are:

Olympus TG-4, ISO 100, f/3.2, 1/3 second, 9mm


The Dhamekh Stupa in Sarnath

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Old.

Gautama Buddha is the Buddha upon whose teachings Buddhism was founded. During Buddha’s lifetime,  he identified four important sites for pilgrimage: Bodh Gaya, where he attained enlightenment; Lumbini, his birthplace in Nepal; Sarnath, where he delivered his first teaching, the dharma; and Kusinara, where he died and attained nirvana-after-death. 

In September 2014, we visited Sarnath, located almost one mile northeast of Varanasi in the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh. The Dhamek Stupa, built in 500 AD, enlarged several times but still unfinished, is believed to be at the same location in the deer park in Sarnath where the Buddha delivered his first teaching to his five disciples. The stupa is just over 140 feet tall and 90 feet across at the base. Because it is an important pilgrimage site, many people visit this stupa and walk around it clockwise three times while reciting a mantra or prayer.

The Dhamekh Stupa in Sarnath

This photo was taken on November 19, 2014. Specs are:

Olympus TG-3, ISO 100, f/4.5, 1/500 sec, 9.61 mm


An Active Astrological Heritage at Schwedagon Pagoda

This is our entry in The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Heritage.

In February 2017, we visited the Schwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. Shwedagon Pagoda contains relics of the four most recent Buddhas, which makes this pagoda the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar. Around the base of the pagoda are eight planetary posts at the eight compass directions, one for each day of the week. (Wednesday is divided into two days.)  At each planetary post are a large basin of water and three statues: a white marble Buddha, a guardian behind the Buddha, and an animal  in front associated with that post’s day of the week. The picture shows Tuesday’s post, with its lion statue in front. A visitor wishing to perform the ritual first finds the post matching his or her birth day (of the week) and begins with a prayer, followed by pouring three cups of water each over the Buddha, guardian, and animal, in turn.

This photo was taken on February 7, 2017. Specs are:

Olympus TG-4, ISO 100, f/4.2, 1/80 sec, 13.5 mm