[Devotees prostrating themselves outside the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet.]
[Monk prostrating himself while circumambulating the bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, India.]
Buddhist scripture tells us that the Buddha realized his great awakening while sitting beneath a tree in the wilderness of northern India at Bodh Gaya. According to the sutras, when he awoke on that auspicious day, the entire natural world bowed to him in gladness, recognition, and veneration. We join in reverence and enter into that moment each time we bow.
—Lama Surya Das
Steve McCurry is a photojournalist renowned for his work in Asia and for National Geographic magazine. Lama Surya Das is the founder and spiritual director of the Dzogchen Foundation in Massachusetts and California, and the author of several books, most recently Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts. This article originally appeared, in slightly different form, on www.beliefnet.com.
The photographs for this portfolio are from Steve McCurry’s latest book, The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage, © 2003 by Phaidon Press Limited, www. phaidon.com. All photographs are reproduced with permission of Magnum Photos.