My Journeys of Faith

Earlier this week, Craig had a post showing some of his images of faith in Asia.  Craig’s post was in response to Steve McCurry’s A Matter of Faith posting, which was followed in return by David Sanger, who posted Images of Faith.  David called for other photographers to make similar blog posts; this is my contribution.

Prayers at Night
Bagan, Myanmar

I have to admit, I was quite enthused to start up this post; Faith has been a pretty constant subject in my photography and religious faith is something that I find inherently beautiful.  Finding images was not the issue, even a very cursory run through my photo library came up with way, way too many photos to post here.  Even as I write this post, I really don’t know how many photos I will include.  Doubtless it will be too many; editing things down is difficult.

Smoke Gets in Her Eyes
Longshan Temple, Taipei

For some photos, I will simply give titles, for others, I will offer some details or an opinion.  I hope you will wade through all that I post and I do hope you will enjoy. Thanks for your indulgences in what will be an overlong post.

Outside the Jama Masjid Mosque
Fatehpur Sikri, India

To my mind, one of the greatest things about houses of worship in the East is how they are not simply places to pray, but they serve as community centers.  People visit, eat, play chess and just generally live in and around the temples and mosques in Asia; I am much more drawn to the community center feeling of these places than I am to the more single use churches in the west. Here at Jama Masjid, the men spend hours socializing between prayers.

Drying
Taipei, Taiwan

Similarly, I don’t believe that you would find someone both washing his shoes, then laying them out to dry on a church’s steps, as I found at this small temple in Taipei.

Monk With Dirty Feet
Wat Phrae Kaeow, Bangkok, Thailand
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Nun With Umbrella
Bayon Temple, Angkor Complex, Cambodia
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Prayers to the Reclining Buddha
Ayutthaya, Thailand
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Monk for Life
Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham, Luang Prabang, Laos
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JiGong, the Mad Monk
Matsu Pilgrimmage, Dajia, Taiwan
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Dajia, Taiwan during the Matsu Pilgrimage

I have been told that the Matsu Pilgrimage, the yearly trek around central Taiwan, is the worlds third largest religious pilgrimage. I don’t know if that is true. There is no doubt however, that it is huge. Hundreds of thousands take part.

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Monks Move Fast
Luang Prabang, Laos
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The Littlest General
Matsu Pilgrimage, Chunghwa, Taiwan
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Tired
Buddhist High School, Luang Prabang, Laos
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Burnt Offerings
Agra, India

This was special for me. Just wandering around near my guest house in Agra, this man pulled me into a tiny temple, lit some type of oily solid and prayed with/for me. Language difficulties prevented me from knowing much, but his faith and openness left a strong impression on me.

Religion as Political Protest
Taipei, Taiwan

Here, Falung Gong/Falung Dafa followers pray in the grounds of Taiwan Freedom Square, otherwise known as Chiang Kaishek Memorial Hall.  The prayers serve not only as an act of faith, but also as a statement; just across the Strait of Taiwan, the followers of Falun Gong are not only discouraged from practicing their faith, but they prohibited from doing so, sometimes being detained, jailed and even worse.

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Giving alms to monks is an important part of the Buddhist faith.
Nowhere have I seen it be take more seriously than in Luang Prabang.
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Word by Painful Word
Buddhist High School, Luang Prabang, Laos
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Confucius Day Celebrations
Taipei Confucius Temple

The birthday of Confuscious is the one day in which the otherwise serene Confucius Temple comes alive.  Starting at sunrise on that day, it is standing room only.

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Candlelit Prayers to the Reclining Buddha
Shinbinthalyaung Temple, Bagan, Myanmar
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Monks, Prayers and Candles
Bagan, Myanmar
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Cleanse the Buddha, Cleanse Your Soul
Scwhedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar
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Matzu’s Birthday Celebrations
Guandu Temple, Taipei, Taiwan
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Lighting Candles – a beautiful woman in a beautiful place
Scwhedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar
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Wild Eyed General
Taipei, Taiwan
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Incense
Xingtien Temple, Taipei, Taiwan
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Praying While Life Passes By
Xingtien Temple, Taipei, Taiwan
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Morning Rituals
Varanasi, India
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Alive With Color
Cao Dai Temple, Tay Ninh, Vietnam

Taking elements from the world’s six major religions and mixing them into a maelstrom of color and activity, the main Cao Dai Temple, just outside of Saigon remains one of my two all time favorite religious spots.

Three by Three
Cao Dai Temple, Tay Ninh, Vietnam
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At the Foot of Buddha
Angkor Wat Complex, Siem Reap, Cambodia

If you have made it this far, I offer my most sincere thanks for your endurance.  A special thanks again to Craig for bringing this to my attention and encouraging others to post as he has.

8 thoughts on “My Journeys of Faith

  1. the beautiful riot of colours bring forth the colours in the religion which weave beautifullly to produce a cloth of greater human values and respect ..
    Just awsome

  2. Pingback: More Images of Faith | David Sanger Photography

  3. I love the look on the “wild-eyed” general’s face – beautiful collection.

    I’ve always been intrigued by religion as well, so this has been a fun series of posts to watch.

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