Installing the Buddha

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My friend, and photo buddy, Jamie, asked if I would join her for a “meditative photography” weekend, preferably near or at the beach. After choosing Carolina Beach, thanks to the generosity of long time friends of mine, we wandered up and down the Carolina/Kure beaches for much of the weekend. On a whim, Saturday afternoon, I suggested the Theravada (meaning “Forest Monks”) Buddhist temple in Bolivia, Wat Carolina Buddhajakra Vanaram, and Jamie was enthusiastic about seeing it. I looked at my watch and thought “oh No! It’s 4:15! they’ll surely not entertain visitors this late in the day.” But we decided we would take the chance, even though it would mean beginning the drive Immediately, if the place closed to visitors around 5 (which is not the case, apparently).

When we were greeted and offered a tour, we were told, “You have come at a very special time”  These pictures show what he meant.

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The statue was given by a friend of the temple, in Florida, and was brought up, stored, while the space was being prepared; we were just two of the people who had shown up “out of the blue” on that very day.
At day’s end, I can tell you that we both felt as if we had inexplicably been there for a very special moment in time… if there really is something called a blessing, it was in the green air we all breathed together with the monks in the woods of Wat Carolina.
By now, the statue must be fully assembled and installed.

Published by

Wayne Upchurch

For years, as a “professional ogler” (a newspaper staff photographer), I simultaneously explored photography as craft/process/medium in its own right. The photojournalism work –credentials and mindset– got me into (and out of) places I would certainly never have had access to on my own. I was also practicing the discipline of getting a picture where there didn’t appear to be one and getting it Finished in a timely manner, to professional standards. I also learned to create imminently readable images despite poor reproduction in a small size. Though it took me several years to get this, the value of making photos that illustrated something already laid out in the story was suddenly Not Enough, and I began to make assignment pictures that added dimensions not already in the writing, or better Yet, raised questions so that the reader would go to the story for more answers. Having gained more than dreamt of, when starting out, I left to pursue my own personal photography, mounting exhibits along the way. I also worked with commercial photographer friends doing studio product photography, and making headshots for actors. Later, I also helmed a Public Radio “spacemusic” program, and acted in a Wilmington, NC drama company. I put the cameras away for a few years, to finish shedding the habit of self-limiting my identity as just “Photographer”, and can now pursue personal pleasure and expression through the freedom that digital imaging offers. Sharing photos on Flickr and participating locally in meetups and outings has renewed a passion for making new images and for sharing the process with others. For some time, I’ve found myself writing detailed comments on other people’s photos, as well as thoughts and pet ideas about photography, in general.

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