Debating Monks at Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India, 2001
In Tibetan Buddhism, debate is considered an integral part of sharpening critical thinking and analytical abilities and demonstrating one’s understanding of Buddhist logic and philosophy.
These monks are part of a sect called the Yellow Hat Sect or Gelugpa. It was formed by a reformer in the 14th century who wanted to emphasize compassion and emptiness. The Dalai Lama is the leader of this group. The picture of the debating monks was taken in India during the time that the Dalai Lama was present.
I have had the privilege of photographing His Holiness the Dalai Lama many times, and each time I am impressed by his humility, humanity, and sense of humor.