Breathing in the Burmese Buddha

Four short videos based around my book, Breathing in the Buddha: A Photographic Exploration of Buddhist Life in Indochina

If you’d like to get a taste of the newly emerging place called Burma by some, and Myanmar by others, sit back, turn up the volume and be prepared to be taken away to a magical and mysterious place.

Shwedagon (4 mins)

As I circumnavigate the gigantic gold-leaf covered central stupa of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Burma, I’m surrounded by Buddha statues and shrines. People come here to earn merit for their next incarnation. Some bring offerings of flowers, others wash the Buddhas. Some pray, many meditate. I join a group and meditate for awhile. A bell tolls in one of the shrines as monks chant and the strong aroma of incense fills the air. More people arrive. As the sun goes down and the lights come on, the stupas shine gloriously. Time slows and seems to stop. Is this a glimpse of Nirvana?

Music: “A Tale of Two Cities” by Mark Isham

Living Buddhas (6 mins)

A series of “environmental portraits,” dedicated to the warm, gentle, and brave people and communities of Burma. While they may be content and even joyful and, of course, ever-present in their Buddhist faith, they still live in hope that the day will come when they truly are free.

Myanmar ‘Scapes’ (6 mins)

Inle Lake, the mountains of Kalaw, and the thousands of shrines that dot the plains of Bagan are shrouded in legends and tales that are hundreds, even thousands of years old. This land of hospitable people is filled with sunrises and sunsets like no others. This show highlights the landscapes, sky-scapes, and architecture of this beautiful, warm, and friendly country.

The Festival of Taunggyi (4 mins)

By the light of the November full moon, high above Taunggyi in the north western state of Shan in Burma (Myanmar), the hot air balloon competition is beyond imagination. The wild joy of hundreds of thousands of people is palpable for five days and nights of celebration.


What are you thinking?