The Land Of Serenity

By Matthieu Ricard



Written by Joelcy Kay

Editor & Curator of Edge of Humanity Magazine



Peaceful landscape photographs found  in ‘The Land of Serenity’ (the book’s first chapter) pave the path for this calm depiction of life in Bhutan.  The chapter is also composed of village life images. My favorite is a photograph of two men dressed in reddish robes between prayer flags (pp.24 & 25). 

The Tiger’s Lair (the book’s second chapter) is about temples. The fog surrounding the mountain as well as the incredible location of these temples provides a surreal vibe to the  landscape photographs; the interior shots are vibrant, and in these places one can easily reach a state of contemplation. Images taken in the 1980s and 2000s.

Intimate colorful portraits of Master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche dating back from the 1980s accompanied by a text about his life can be found in the  ‘A Spiritual Master’ chapter.  Traditional ceremonies, and gatherings for teaching and reading also appear here.

Confusing for the eye is the architectural shot of the Kuje temple on page 105 in the ‘Architecture: A Spiritual Dimension’ chapter.  Interesting depiction as the viewer must rescan the picture in order to assure orientation which refreshes the palate in the process.  This chapter depicts Bhutan’s unique architecture, buildings on enchanting landscape, as if they were there for eternity.

In the mix of images from ancient Buddhist art are environmental portraits of contemporary artists and craftsmen recreating these treasures from the past.  The weaver in page 143 (ch. Sacred Art) is my favorite; this environmental portrait depicts a woman working her traditional wooden loom and the surroundings are full of light and life.

‘Dancing Monks’ is the next chapter.  These vibrant images depicting festivals, dances and ceremonies from 2007; they emit energy and culture.  Loaded with dancing masks, my favorite (must bring it home)  artifact. The tight close-ups of these masks makes the artifact collector inside me salivate a bit. 

Master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche is featured again in ‘The Great Accomplishment Ceremony’ chapter showcasing ceremonies from the 1980s. 

A dramatic presentation can be found on two very dark (black, fire and red) photographs taken in Paro Kyichu, 1982, my absolute favorites.

Also included in this chapter are images of ceremonies from 2005 to 2007.

Offerings Of Fire And Light; the last chapter in the book also includes Master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche ceremonial images from the 1980s, but they take place outside on open land in a vast landscape.  These sky and land combinations give the ceremonies another dimension.

Ceremonial images from the 2000s are also included.

This is a book one can enjoy and relax while flipping its pages.  I recommend it to anyone interested in Bhutan, Buddhism (ceremonies, art, monasteries, temples and daily life), South Asia , the  Himalayan,  landscape, travel,  Eastern philosophy and travel. Enjoy!


For book specifics see below


Bhutan: The Land of Serenity



Are you looking to have a published review of your Photo Book?


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Here are some of her book recommendations:


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