Burned Monk Child – Released Donaldo Barros

This young Buddhist child in a nearly inaccessible country buried deep in the Himalayas is inspiring people around the world, thanks to a photographer’s quest to understand happiness.

Namgay Dorji, an 11-year-old monk from a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan is covered in burn scars – but it’s never affected his dreams or aspirations.

“I come from Laya; my father brought me,” he told the photographer with a shy voice. “I was in a fire when I was very young and I don’t remember what happened.”

“Having these scars is fine with me, I don’t care,” he said with simplicity and a little smile on his face.

“When I grow up I want to be a great Lama,” he said to photographer and motivational speaker Donaldo Barros, before bidding him farewell and returning to his chores.

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In the short span of just 21 days, Barros traveled throughout the country of Bhutan, which has held the title of World’s Happiest Country. Armed only with his camera so he could take photos of the kingdom’s locals, he ask questions that he hopes will enlighten the rest of the world on the true secret of happiness.

Donaldo’s photo collection, called In Search of Happiness: Journey to the Last Shangri-La, is a breathtaking social media diary documenting his 21-day journey among the natives.

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“People have become bitterly cynical and so many believe that the world cannot be changed for the good,” said Barros. “Going to Bhutan gives me the opportunity to prove that the impossible exists until someone makes it possible. During my trip, I hope to find answers as to how we can change the world in a positive way. This trip is my contribution in my efforts to do so.”

Donaldo’s journey, which ended June 7, took him through Gasa, the birthplace of Bhutan and location of Namgay’s monastery, which he claims has never been photographed before now.

Soccer Monks - Released Donaldo Barros
Donaldo’s photo of monks playing soccer simply states “Happiness here is contagious.”

While sponsored by Choki, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving ancient cultures and antiquities, Donaldo has explored some of the kingdom’s most sacred and revered sanctuaries in order to share their wisdom with the world.

Penjor Bhutan Farmer – Released Donaldo Barros
All this farmer wants to do is meditate. (All photos used with permission of Donaldo Barros)

“I’ve been always a farmer,” says 66-year-old Penjor. “Instead of going to school, I would prefer to stay with the horses and feed them. I’m old now, and all I want to do is to meditate.”

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View the collection of awe-inspiring photos on Choki’s Facebook page and Instagram account.

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