Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monastery Gardens - Thu Duc - Benedictine Monastery

For something a little different, I thought I would show you the gardens at the Benedictine Monastery in Thu Duc, a satellite city of Ho Chi Minh City.

Once upon a time the monastery would have been in a rural area, but these days it is really just a suburb of the enormous, amorphous metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City. It's about a 30 minute drive from my house in Tan Binh, and the taxi ride comes to about $15. Taxi drivers can NEVER find it.
There are several gardens in the monastery, all serving very different purposes.
These are the front gardens, which are packed for most of the day with Catholic lay-people waiting for confession and to receive the blessings of a monk. The monastery has a reputation for helping women to conceive, so it is quite a popular pilgrimage spot - even for people of other faiths.

There is a large working garden - which includes this fish farm. The monks grow their own food, and they also propagate cash crops - most particularly marigolds for sale during the Lunar New Year.

Out of sight of the public lie the monastery gardens proper. These are spaces for the monks to enjoy, and are normally based around a piece of statuary. These gardens are quite beautiful, and are meant to inspire meditation and prayer.

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