Сaged by Oscar Ciutat
“The project started by chance back in 2008. I was visiting the local zoo, which I hadn’t been to in ages, and started taking pictures of the captive animals, just like everyone else was doing. My attention kept being drawn to their eyes, which, to me, seemed very sad, and I ended focusing my camera on them. I was intrigued by whether my impressions would be apparent to other people in the images. I wondered if that popular old saying, referring to humans, that goes the eyes are the windows to the soul could hold true for animals as well.”
"I have a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy. Now I want to learn as many languages as possible so I can teach as many people as possible."
"What do you think is the most important thing that people can learn from Buddhism?"
"Compassion. Everyone suffers and everyone needs happiness."
A bit of context on this next series of photos: Dharamshala, India is where the exiled government of Tibet resides. Led by the Dalai Lama, nearly 100,000 Tibetan refugees live in this northern Indian city, where they seek to maintain their traditions and culture in exile. The long journey from Tibet to India includes a grueling 28 day walk through the Himalayan mountains. Many of the refugees make this trek as children, sent by their parents in hopes of studying their language and religion in freedom. In conclusion, here’s a young Tibetan monk playing with a kitten.
"Before I went to the protest that day, I stood in front of a picture of the Dalai Lama, and I swore an oath: ‘If I am arrested, I will not give the names of any of my friends.’ They put me through eight months of interrogation. They burned cigarettes on my face. They made me stand in ice for four hours, until my skin froze into the ice, and then they pushed me forward. They gave me electric shocks on my tongue. They told me they were going to kill my father and mother. After eight months, I had a trial. Two guards stood next to me when I testified, and they hid electric shocks in my sleeves in case I said something they didn’t like. I was sentenced to four years. Sometimes I’d get so hungry I’d eat toothpaste. And sometimes I’d get so thirsty, I’d drink my urine. When I finally got out, I weighed 39 kilograms."
"It was March 5th, 1988. There was a prayer festival that day, so we thought it would be a good day to protest. It was entirely peaceful. We were only shouting three things: ‘Long live Dalai Lama,’ ‘Free Tibet,’ and ‘Bring Dalai Lama Back to Tibet.’ First they fired tear gas, and then they started shooting. A girl standing next to me got shot in the heart. We ran into the temple, but they came in and kept shooting. I saw three young boys get thrown off the roof. I was shot, but I managed to escape, and two Tibetan doctors helped remove the bullet. One of the doctors worked for the Chinese army, but she still helped me as a Tibetan. Soon there were posters of me hanging up all over town. They said I was a dangerous monk. My friends dressed me in women’s clothes. For a week, I wore lipstick and rings and long hair. But at one point I tried to visit my mother, and that is when they found me."