The super beautiful Mountain Spirit Center located on the geographic border that separates the Mojave Desert from the Tehachapi Mountains in Southern California glows resplendently under a portion of the Milky Way. This is a Korean Buddhist temple, founded in the 1970’s, and is open to the public while also serving as an active monastery. While I was shooting the foreground in this image, I saw a subtle movement in my peripheral vision off to my right, and turned to see a monk, thin and bald, wrapped in traditional robes, walking down a dry arroyo that leads to the surrounding mountains. I was no more than 20 meters from him as he wandered down from the hillside to return to the monastery for the evening.
The building in this image is a temple the public can access during daylight hours, and inside this structure there resonates a peaceful joy as ornate Buddhist architecture emanates a deep spiritual presence. Placed throughout the temple are bookshelves with Buddhist texts anyone can leaf through and ponder, in which the major tenets of compassion & emptiness (which isn’t nihilistic in the Buddhist understanding of the term) can be read and reflected upon. There is deep insight into the human life and mind inside this very building. I majored in Religious Studies in college with an emphasis in Buddhism, so for me the experience inside this temple reading and reflecting was sublime and much needed. And on this night, the skies were radiant and clear, the ancient starlight above completing a scene of limpid spirituality.
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