However, as a young man, Vreeland gave up that life to become a monk at the Rato Monastery at Mundgod in Karnataka, India.
During his years as a monk, Vreeland has struggled with his relationship with the camera worrying that his attachment to photography as an artistic pursuit might compromise his dedication to his spiritual path.
However, when the promised funding for the rebuilding of the Monastery fell through because of the 2008 global financial crisis, the value of Vreeland’s photographs became tangible. A special exhibition of his work in New York raised the funds needed to complete construction.
In 2012 the Dalai Lama appointed Nicholas Vreeland as Abbott of the Rato Monastery.
Today, Vreeland divides his time between the Rato Monastery and New York City where he is the Director of Kunkhyab Thardo Ling, The Tibet Center. He continues making pictures in and around the Monastery and during his travels.
Nicholas Vreeland often shares his pictures with his friends who open his e-mails knowing that their day can only get better. These photographs of the celebration of The Year of the Iron Rat are his latest installment.
Peter C. Jones