Slouching Towards Nirvana

  • Dates
    2017 - Ongoing
  • Author
  • Topics Portrait, Social Issues, Documentary
  • Location New York

Buddhism in America

Turning the lens to the spiritual realm, I was hoping to resolve my own crisis of faith in searching for the fundamental meaning and metaphysical experience of practicing Buddhists in America. Reaching nibbāna (Nirvana), or achieving enlightenment is the highest and most ultimate goal of most Buddhist monks and some laymen, but is it a “thing”, a “state”, or a “place” that one could slouch towards? Buddha is unequivocal: nibbāna is the complete relinquishment of any form of attachment, be it emotions, sensory experiences, mental constructions or consciousness. It literally means “extinction” of all life-affirming will manifested as Greed, Hate and Delusion, as such to achieve a form of liberation that exceeds all societal constructions and worldly boundaries, to transcend human suffering and misery of samsara. Steering away from any dominant mode of definition, my photographs aim to carve out figurative spaces where the boundaries between fantasy and reality blur, offering visual propositions that both demand and resist interpretation of Nirvana as "the Island".

"It is the Unformed, the Unconditioned, the End,

the Truth, the Other Shore, the Subtle,

the Everlasting, the Invisible, the Undiversified,

Peace, the Deathless, the Blest, Safety,

the Wonderful, the Marvellous,

Nibbana, Purity, Freedom,

the Island,

the Refuge, the Beyond."

~ S 43.1-44

© Lea Hoang - Skillman, Meditating

Skillman, Meditating

© Lea Hoang - Vajiradhammapadip Temple, Mt Vernon

Vajiradhammapadip Temple, Mt Vernon

© Lea Hoang - Bacne, Rockaway Beach

Bacne, Rockaway Beach

© Lea Hoang - A Monk's Bed

A Monk's Bed

© Lea Hoang - Tuyen and the Island

Tuyen and the Island

© Lea Hoang - Retreat Attendee, Bronx

Retreat Attendee, Bronx

© Lea Hoang - Tuyen, Dreaming

Tuyen, Dreaming

© Lea Hoang - Dragor, Dressing

Dragor, Dressing

© Lea Hoang - Dragor, Entering

Dragor, Entering

© Lea Hoang - Metta, Temple of Enlightenment

Metta, Temple of Enlightenment

© Lea Hoang - Buddha, Bronx

Buddha, Bronx

© Lea Hoang - Temple of Enlightenment, Bronx

Temple of Enlightenment, Bronx

© Lea Hoang - Dragor, Sleeping

Dragor, Sleeping

© Lea Hoang - Dragor, Dreaming

Dragor, Dreaming

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