matthieu ricard

LAROUNGAR MONASTERE TIBETAIN

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About the artwork

This image was taken in Larung Gar, the largest Buddhist community in the world located in the Serthar county in the west of Sichuan province. At an altitude of 4 200 metres, hidden on the high Tibetan plateaus, this influential site whose existence is controversial today, accommodates more than 40 000 Buddhist monks, nuns and students. Larung Gar is a place outside of time and space, in which chaos and harmony coexist through the thousands of wooden and iron rooftops. From a small gathering of about a dozen people in 1980, its numbers have swelled to an immense size thanks to the incredible organisation developed by its community over the years. However, it attracts harsh criticism from the Chinese authorities, who would like to be able to restrain its sudden growth, as 1 000 new huts are apparently built there each year. Given the major destruction of housing that is taking place in this region of the world, this captivating photograph bears witness both to religious freedom and to the violence of the world.

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