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谈颖娴|Xiaoniu

Email: xiaoniu_tan@foxmail.com | wechat: txiaoniu8

 

 

About me

Between lights and shadow, comes along Xiaoniu. In spite of different shades of meaning in Chinese, Xiaoniu is the power of my life before being my name.  Shine not burn, humble not dull, being appropriately assertive is the key point illustrated by Xiaoniu, as a personality and a sense of perspective as well. Lights and shadow together compose the photo, in any forms of Xiaoniu, sparkling or dimming, I would be active to see what literally I am consist of.

  • A Buddhist 80%
  • A Photographer 60%
  • A Freelancer 50%
  • A daughter 75%

My personal photography website probably would never have been initiated was it not for the encouragement and enlightenment provided by my Buddhist Master Tianzhen.

He looks at the world with the eye of Buddha which personifies the encyclopedia of the wisdom, and he knows the answer to any questions you might ask. The following are some examples of Q&A on and far beyond photography.

I: “What is the key point to the composition of a photograph?”

Master Tianzhen: “If the road ahead was blocked, turn around to see the mountains.”

I then found that there could always be a turning back before every step I take ahead. Moving back and forth without the slightest hesitation; Standing here and there without attaching too much weight on any findings before my eyes, I could expect to figure out what’s the most important and the least automatically, and to get the photos finally composed.

I: “How can I capture the decisive moment?”
Master Tianzhen: “Look, your hat blew off while the door blew open, but there was in fact no wind blowing through at the time.”
I: “Did that mean everything was empty thus nothing could ever be captured?”
Unexpectedly, Master Tianzhen tapped me on shoulder and said: ” Nice to meet you at such a decisive moment.”

 

All of a sudden, Words fail me and the air is filled with the song of the birds. Never has nature seemed so harmonious nor the people more picturesque, and it is the time for me to take a picture of spring no matter how scalding the July has been.

I: “Is black and white more expressive than color with regard to the photography of the documentary? ”

Mater Tianzhen: “Every existence is inherently whiter than white, why do you not show them in your true color?”

His enlightened approach to teaching awakens the realization that I should not let my judgement be colored by any personal feelings if I aim to document life -that same life which is not as complex as the mental images I have previously composed and that can neither be seen in black and white.

If happening to be a photographer is my great fortune, being a student of Master Tianzhen is bound to be the brightest part of my life. By practicing Buddhism with him, I understand that photographs are not merely the experience captured but be the window into the world both known and unknown. The camera is also not be used as the arm of the consciousness in its acquisitive mood, but as an eye contact with the universe. When it’s blowing, my own image reflected on the river goes away with a series of ripples, but I am standing still in the heart of the universe from beginning to the end.

I once shaved myself off, but that was the least of being a Buddhist. In other words, there was no direct connection with learning Buddhism at all, in contrast to most people’s view. Going through the 3 main sutras of Buddhism, my eyes were opened to the realities of ourselves and of the world. I felt my life blossomed inside me after reading the “Prajna Paramita Sutra”. Then with “Diamond Sutra”, I arrived at the view that we need to see through the emptiness of the material world and unburden ourselves. Finally, the great wisdom of the Buddha in “Surangama Sutra” made me do serious reflections to answer “The Seven Questions and Answers of the Whereabouts of Heart”. Coming out from a serious internalization of the contents, I have made up my mind and turn my life around.

“Run, seek, find the treasures of the world, know all the knowledge of the ages, taste all the pleasures of the universe, then, at the peak of it all we experience the emptiness in nothingness. Finally, answers come flooding in colors brighter than ever before”

I have written this gatha in reverence to Buddha and to rejoice my enlightenment. It is similar to some words from scientists, who after dedicating their lives into proving their theories, found out that the answers they are looking for have already been laid plainly in front of them, waiting for them to notice it with their humane and common sense.

My parents believed in Science. My dad is a micro-electronic engineer while mom studied clinical medicine. Both of them seek to find answers through science. Upon learning about Buddhism, they have realized that it actually holds the answers they were looking for. Subsequently, my dad was able to make an essay connecting science and the philosophies of Buddhism, which can be viewed in here . With this environment, I was able to live a Buddhist life at a young age. We are a vegan family strictly upholding the Five Precepts and practice Zen Meditation every single day.

Since I was young, I am always eager to continually challenge my mental faculties. I saw that learning law will keep my mind active, polish my logical thinking, enhance my debating skills, and it will lead other fields of studies. However, during my internship with criminal defense lawyer, and after handling several cases, realizations came to me. One special case, made this even clearer, my client, a Chinese teacher, is accidentally involved in an illegal absorption of public funds scheme. We have gathered evidences to prove her innocence, though such were not honored in court. Overnight, from a reputable status she was behind bars. That was an eye opener that nothing is permanent, that no one, regardless of status, can escape from twists in life. Furthermore, with regards to my law practice, I lost my initial enthusiasm on it since what I have learned in school is not the reality in the court. In books, evidences will guarantee innocence or guilt but based from observations, it doesn’t matter that much. I still continued my law studies but I have looked further into Buddhism. There with a more matured and open mind, I was able to see the principles of life in the first 3 sutras that I have read.

After graduation, I have dedicated most of my time into Buddhism and totally got law out of my plans. I taught myself, with the help of my dad, to build an online platform to commune with other Buddhists, and to tap more people from all walks of life. Consequently, gmjz8.com was born in 2011. As Buddhists living in a modern world, we bring ourselves together through online forums. Once or twice a year, we meet in a meditation camp, which also includes a live question and answer portion for queries about Buddhism. For three years now, the web has been running smoothly and serving its purpose of bringing us together in illumination all over the china and soon, all over the world. I see to it that is strictly non-lucrative, amidst the commercial offers of some companies, I keep my website free of any advertisements. Now, the web has a record of over 60 million pageviews.

Tanxiaoniu.com is much easier to start up with the experience I have had and the helps from the programmers in our group, however, English writing becomes a new challenge to me. Apart from the language using, there are paradigm shifts of the expression that have resulted in some struggles with me sometimes. Albeit the contents covered here are less serious than gmjz8.com, I take it as serious as it. Thus, please very kindly send me an email if you find anything needs to be corrected or improved, I would be very grateful hearing from you.

Email: xiaoniu_tan@foxmail.com

Wechat: txiaoniu8

My Recent Works

Websites to learn Buddhism and Photography

拈花者.天真 tianzhen.name | 光明觉照网 gmjz8.com | 叶梓的摄影术 byleon.com