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Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Crowded Buddhist Shrine - Long Khanh Temple - Quy Nhon, Vietnam
People often have a romanticised idea of the Buddhist aesthetic. Actually, people hold all kinds of unrealistic notions about many aspects of Buddhism, but the great cliche is that of the clutter-free, ultra-simple, zen-like atmosphere.
I'm here to tell you that Buddhist temples and monasteries are not like that. Especially not in Vietnam.
This is a shrine in a senior monk's room at the largest temple in Quy Nhon City. Actually, as these things go, it's quite restrained - I've certainly seen far more crowded shrines in my time.
But you can see, there's a certain dedication to colour, and plenty to catch the eye.
I actually like my Buddhism like this: colourful, chaotic, unpretentious and appealing directly to common ideas. I love that life in Vietnamese Buddhist monasteries can be chaotic and crowded, the shrines dusty and filled with tat.