“Everything is a teacher. Nothing is insignificant.”

This work is dedicated

H.H. Kenting Tai Situpa Rinpoche

who inspired and blessed
this photographic journey
since its inception
through the sublime wisdom of the
Five Elements.

“Seeing Nature as Your Own Nature”
by H.H. Kenting Tai Situpa Rinpoche

The Earth which we all walk on and which we are sitting on right now; that is like commitment. The earth represents commitment, the real foundation, unshakable, most tolerant and most stable. Nothing shakes it. It is always there. That is the base, the foundation, the devotion.

Water is like compassion . It makes things grow. Compassion is like water. Compassion cleans like water. You can be the most evil person in the whole universe. The moment you develop true compassion, all that evilness is transformed right there and you cannot be evil again. So, compassion is the purification like water. It is transformation and purification.

Fire is like wisdom because fire burns, fire transforms, and fire makes you see things. It’s dark you can’t see anything. If you have candlelight, you can see. So, fire represents wisdom. It is always there, and with wisdom you see. Without wisdom you don’t see. Therefore fire is like wisdom.

Wind* is like experience. Through learning, through practicing we have experience; and because of that we move, we progress. We get from here to there through experience.

Space is like the mind. It’s endless, it’s vast, it has no limitations; nothing changes it. It can contain everything. So this is like the mind.

H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche. A Commentary on the Ninth Karmapa’s (Wangchuck Dorje) Ocean of Certainty. Woodstock, NY: Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, 1998.
*In the Apprentice Cards, Wind represents the Air Element.


My infinite gratitude to my mentors and teachers especially H.H. the 16th Karmapa, H.H. Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche and Kenchen Thrangu Rinpoche whose profound guidance and teachings have inspired and sustained my long journey as an apprentice of life.

To the many people named and not named who have contributed in one way or another to this work over the past decades: Ed Bastian, Domenica Bianca, Peter and Jennifer Buffett, Eve Ensler, Anita Eubank, Shukri Farhad, Annette Guionnet, Deirdre Hade, Svetlana Johnson, Nancy Koppelman, Allie Lebos, Roberto Liera, Donna Christine McGuire, Judi Muller, Katherine Morrow, Julia Paradiz, Vicki Riskin and Mike Verbois, with deep gratitude.

The Apprentice Cards project was made possible thanks to a very generous grant from The Tides Foundation and the sponsorship of The Foundation for Radiance, and The Spiritual Paths Foundation.