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Khmer temple Trà Vinh, VietnamOn Thursday, I got to Tra Vinh province after a 4-hr bus from Dong Thap, only to find out that I wouldn’t be able to go ahead with work. Already there, and not wanting to spend another 4 hours on bus to get back to SaiGon, I decided to stay for a day.

Next day, on a rental Honda (scooters here are simply referred as Honda), I rode along the major roads and just stopped at whatever that caught my eyes and piqued my interest. 60% of the population here is Khmer and the most visual indication is all the Khmer temples dotting around.

At the third temple that I stumbled upon, the monks were friendly, and spoke Vietnamese well enough, that they invited me to stay for a drink, and then for lunch. Our conversation ranged from the differences between the Southern school of Buddhism (Theravada, found here and similar to what you’d see in Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar) and the Northern school (Mahayana with heavy Chinese influence), to how this land once was all Khmer land. Read the rest of this entry »

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– those who don’t have access to running water, who have to ration their use, who treasure every single drop, would pay ten times more than those who can turn on the tap 24/7

– those who live next to electric dam or who were displaced by its construction would be the last to get electricity.

– those who would never kill stray animals, who observe strict vegetarianism, would still kill other human beings, people of other religions.

– those who are so devout that they would wage a war to triumph their religious conviction would blow up themselves and others during the holy month.

– always accumulate for themselves, live selfishly and yet, always live in the fear of rumors and yield to others’ judgment.

– go to temples and pray to the Buddha; Buddha teaches – at least this is what i think – not to be self-absorbed, not to avoid hardship in life, and to be detached from all wants, and yet they only pray for more wealth and more success

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