Wallpaper Stories – “The Professional Buddhist Monk”
On a recent business trip to China, I was staying in the small factory town of LiaoBu near DongGuan in the Canton province. At the time I was working with a manufacturer designing several different photography related products. For a solid 5 hours I was couped up in a small conference room trying to create some sort of physical manifestation of the concept I had in my mind. With little luck, I began feeling a bit restless. So, like any photographer, I decided to take up my trusty 5D and go for a little walk despite the less than favorable weather.
Only a week prior to Chinese New Year, the typical crowded bustling streets of LiaoBu were starving for pedestrians as most of the towns inhabitants had already gone home for the holidays. However, to put it in proper perspective I should state that “starving” in terms of LiaoBu is much like the typical business day in Downtown Los Angeles in terms of the amount of pedestrians going about their business. After walking for about ten minutes, I came across a small street fair with several vendors. While some were peddling merchandise, others had setup amusement park-like games.
However, in the middle of it all, was Buddhist Monk sitting on a tattered blanket with all sorts of Buddhist trinkets, figurines and jewelry. The ubrupt shift from being “of the world” to “of the spiritual” was only enhanced as vendors surrounding the monk sold everything from black-market books and magazines to bootleg DVDs and software. I stopped to glance at what the monk was selling and within seconds, a crowd of locals had surrounded the empty monk’s display trying to ascertain what exactly had caught this “foreigner’s” interest.
While I stood there, I realized that more likely than not, this was not in fact a real Buddhist Monk. But, rather a “Professional Buddhist Monk” who made his living dressing and posing as a monk and selling his Buddhist merchandise. After briefly reveling at just how many ways there are to make a living, I quickly dismissed the thought and bought into his authentic display. I then told the man that I would be willing to purchase a bracelet if he would be willing to bless it. After all, good luck is good luck, even when it’s purchased ;)
Enjoy the image, you can click here to download the full 1920×1200 sized wallpaper.