Although I have traveled into Nepal with the International Snow Leopard Trust and supported research into this mysterious mammal, I have never seen a snow leopard in the wild. Even the scientists studying them in their Himalayan kingdom see them mostly in traps. The great zoologist George Schaller ( who put the mountain gorilla, the serengeti and the giant panda on the map ) has not seen one. In 1973, he and author Peter Matthiessen walked 250 miles deep into the remote Nepalese mountains to research the Bharal or Himalayan blue sheep. Since this sheep is an important prey animal of the snow leopard, they felt that they would be bound to see this most beautiful of big cats. Matthiessen wrote a book about the expedition entitled THE SNOW LEOPARD. It won the National Book Award and is considered one of the great works of American nonfiction. They did not see a snow leopard. This is a book about superhuman struggle, disappointment and philosophical growth. At the apex of the expedition they met a Lama or monk who had looked at one mountain view in its mighty isolation and silence for eight years. Because he was crippled, it would be this way for the rest of his life. When asked about it, he replied with a laugh, " Of course I am happy here! It's wonderful! Especially when I have no choice!" Matthiessen writes, " In his wholehearted acceptance of what is, I feel as if he had struck me in the chest." The search is quite enough. " Have you seen the snow leopard?" " No! Isn't that wonderful?" Peter Matthiessen had already begun his spiritual journey into Buddhism. I suspect that noty seeing the snow leopard had something to do with him becoming the zen master that he is today. In this painting , I have attempted to show the almost transparent mystery of the snow leopard, coming out of the empty whiteness of a zen-like space. George Schaller said, " Maybe it is better if there are some things that we don't see. There are countless people dedicating their lives to protecting living things that they never will see. This is true nobility."