Contemplative Photography Exhibit

Monday - Thursday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday - Sunday, by appointment
University Main Building, Second Floor [
Free and open to the public

“Nature is a good and wise advisor, a contemplative teacher … if I pay attention,” says Martin J. Verhoeven, Dean of Academics at Dharma Realm Buddhist University. The DRBU Arts Initiative presents Contemplative Photography, an exhibit of landscape photographs by Verhoeven, taken while kayaking and hiking with his Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Nellie. The photos feature myriad creatures and breathtaking scenes of the Maine wilderness.

Accompanying the photos are reflections by Verhoeven on his immersion in the natural world. The rich interplay of the photographs and written reflections make a powerful statement about the value of contemplation in nature. They draw the viewer into the experience of being one with the environment. 

According to Verhoeven, “A day in the woods or floating on a lake humbles and attunes. I am forever different and somehow better for what I stopped to see. Renewed, re-centered, reminded, and returned. And if I can share these photos with others, they too might be changed for the better. I hope so. The camera holds a mirror to nature, and nature in turn mirrors our minds.”

On Sunday, October 20, at 3:00 pm, DRBU will hold a reception and short talk with Martin Verhoeven in the exhibit space. DRBU invites the public to this free event to view the exhibit and hear the photographer’s story. Light refreshments will be served. 


Martin J. Verhoeven

Martin J. Verhoeven is Dean of Academics at Dharma Realm Buddhist University. In 1976, he met and trained under the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, becoming a monk (with the name Heng Chau) in 1977 and taking full ordination in 1979. His study with Master Hua took him to monasteries around the world. It also led him to undertake a two-year, 600-mile bowing pilgrimage along the California coast with Reverend Heng Sure from 1977 to 1979.

After 18 years as a monk, Dr. Verhoeven returned to lay life, continuing to study and teach Buddhism and related topics in the United States as well as in Asia, Europe, and Canada. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His particular areas of interest are the historical teachings of Buddhism, the Euro-American encounter with Asian religions, and the process of religious acculturation. 

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