Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Old Warehouses - Cholon

One of my dreams was always to buy one of the old French-era warehouses that ran along the river from Cholon all the way into Saigon. They were the places in which much of the action in Graham Greene's The Quiet American took place.
These buildings were just exquisite - spacious and derelict, they were ripe for renovation, and would have made spectacular houses - even boutique hotels.
Unfortunately, in recent years most have them have been destroyed, in one of the most criminal efforts at "beautification" ever undertaken by an inept local government.
These picture was taken approx. 2003 - just before the bulldozers went through to create wider streets and a "more beautiful" riverside district.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Meditating on Bells

Bells are a big part of Buddhist culture in all countries, and in Vietnam the temples pride themselves on both the big bronze bells that call the faithful to prayer from the bell tower and the smaller but more finely tuned bowl-bells that are used during chanting in the prayer hall itself.
For the past few months I have been using bells a lot in my meditation teaching, and I am going to be really exploring this theme when I do the Cafe Church at The Chapel by the Sea in Bondi on April 11 at 7pm. Do come along and share the experience/experiment with me.
Speaking of bells, I have recently heard a really fascinating documentary on the BBC World Service on the significance of temple bells in Japan, and I can't recommend it enough - a really fascinating radio documentary.