Miksang Moment at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden

The coolest thing just dropped into my lap the other day -- the opportunity to have one my Flickr photos be part of an interactive Schmap travel guide for the city of Portland! I haven't done much traveling over the last several years, but after Schmap contacted me for permission to use my photo of the lotus blossom at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, I'm thinking their online interactive guides would be perfect for my next destination. They're specifically designed to help you plan your trip from your computer by giving you virtual tours and then you can download it to your mobile phone to take it on the road with you.

lotus pond portland chinese garden beth hemmilaLotus Flower at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, Beth Hemmila

The funny part of this story is that I really do love this photo, and it seems unexplainable. It's not particularly innovative or special but something about the colors and light give me a sense of peace. I'm dying to share a secret about this shot...it came to me from a prayer :)

Have you ever heard of Miksang? It's a form of contemplative photography that emerged out the teachings of the Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Choygam Trungpa Rinpoche. Miksang in Tibetan means "Good Eye" and is based on Shambala and Dharma art practices. This idea of "good" is more about freeing your mind of thought and opening to a pure moment. It is described as moment when you are able to merge a clear mind with a softened heart and experience pure perception without any emotional blocks. I've never actually attended a Miksang workshop, but the day I visited the Portland Chinese Classical Garden, I did a small, silent meditation before each photo as a way of letting go of perception.

For me, this lotus blossom photo is filled with my own reverence for a splendid summer day, and the gratitude that this image arrived without any expectations but rather a sense of being available to whatever happens. How delightful to think this lotus blossom photo may inspire others on their travels through the fair city of Portland!


  1. Congrats on the photo inclusion! Isn't it amazing when one photo out of maybe a hundred or more just leaps out and you mind yell "YES, that's it!!!". And you realize that pure moment is a snapshot in your mind, an integral part of you that can be revisited for the rest of your life (:

  2. Beautiful photo, Beth. Being open to the beauty around you is what it's all about, isn't it? Congratulations on having that open-ness recognized.


  3. That's terrific about your photo - congrats. Thanks for sharing the story about its creation. You've inspired me to make the trip up there to the garden soon.

  4. What a great story Beth! Congrats. And oh...I do love the idea of "contemplative photography." Thanks for introducing me to that.

  5. Babs so glad this may send you off on your own journey through the Portland Chinese Classical Garden!

    Catherine, wow it does feel good when a photo happens for no reason but like Emanda said "being open to the beauty." Everyday I bless the invention of the digital camera so that I can snap away with abandon.

    Sandra, good to see you!

    Tinkerbell, so happy you connected to this idea of contemplative photography. It's something I would love to take a workshop in someday.


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