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About the Dharma Heritage Project

Please click here to read a letter from Robert Buswell, Distinguished Prof. Emeritus, UCLA

Chronicling Buddhism's contributions to world cultural heri-tage and peace through the art of documentary photography and film with an emphasis on endangered Buddhist cultures. 

The Dharma Heritage Project was established by photographer and Fulbright Scholar Don Farber in 1988 to photograph Buddhist cultures internationally and to present this work to the public in books, museums, and various forms of media. Mr. Farber has been photographing Buddhist life for more than 40 years, integrating documentary photography (and more recently filmmaking) with visual anthropology and Buddhist studies.  The work is being carried out in collaboration with Buddhist masters and their communities; scholars in Buddhist studies, anthropology and Asian art history; curators, publishers, designers, and artists; and with specialists in documentary filmmaking.  


The work of the Dharma Heritage Project is of historic, educational, and artistic benefit and will serve as a legacy for present and future generations in understanding and appreciating the important contributions these cultures have made and are continuing to make in the world.  The Project places urgent and special emphasis on photographing and filming elder Buddhist masters who are living links to ancient wisdom and to time-honored ways of life that are endangered due to modernization, religious persecution, and other societal pressures.  


Our work also includes documenting spiritual practices and ceremonies and traditional Buddhist dance, music, arts, and architecture. Of special emphasis currently is the documentation of the endangered Tibetan Buddhist way of life and the last living Buddhist masters trained in the old Tibet.  Other aspects of the project are chronicling the establishment of Buddhism in the West and recording Buddhism’s participation in efforts to serve those in need and to promote interfaith dialogue, environmental responsibility, human rights, and world peace.


The work accomplished by the project becomes part of an archive housing the photography, video, and research, which is available for scholars to include in their publications, for museum exhibitions, magazines, books, websites, and films.

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