Life at Temple

Saw Su Ba (monk) in my dream last night. She smiled at me and called out my name. She passed away a few years ago. Although, the last time I saw her was 19 years ago, her kind-hearted descriptions remained in my mind forever. When I was five, spent about a year at the temple and it was the happiest experienced ever. There was Su Ba (“grandma” monk), Su Co (“auntie” monk), chi My Chau (“sister” monk) and me (just a lucky regular 5 years old kid). Chi My Chau was adopted to the temple after her parents abandoned her because of her disability. According to the Vietnamese theory, it was a curse if the child was borned abnormal. The parents must killed or gave up the child. However, Chi My Chau was the kindest and sweetest individual I’ve known all my life. Although she was limping when she walks, she was always taking care of me and was never too busy to spend time with me.

Each morning, Chi My Chau and I watered the garden then we would helped Su Co sweep and clean the temple. After that, we would pick out vegetables to prepare lunch. Vegetarian dishes were always delightful. I loved the fried rice that was made from white rice and vegetable oil. Plain and simple but delicious. They used to teased me how easy I was to raised, all I need was the fried rice. After an afternoon nap, it was play time. Chi My Chau taught me how to make all kinds of neat stuff such as kites, birds, propellers, etc. from coconut leaves and papers. Flying kites was my favorite hobby. Chi My Chau made beautiful kites.

After play time, we would gathered into Su Ba room for Bible lessons. After that, all of us gathered around the temple to pray. I was in charge of hitting the gong. It was my favorite task because whenever I hit that gong, everyone bowed, specially big occasions when there was alot of peple. Of course, I couldn’t hit it all the time. I had to follow Su Ba’s prayer and knew when to hit the gong. Following the prayer, it was dinner time. My favorite time was after dinner where Su Co would tell fantasy stories on how the Buddha used his/her powers to help people. After storytime, Chi Chau and I walked around the temple to insert incense.

That was my daily routine at the temple. It was the most peaceful life I ever had. I was surrounded by love and spirit. It was like living in heaven and I was protected from the outside world. When I was six, my parents came picked me up because it was time for me to go home and go to school. I could remember vividly the teardrops from Chi My Chau eyes as we said goodbye. We were a bonded family and I didn’t want to leave. They were my temple family members that I will never forget. My life after the temple was a disaster. The real world was full of evil, hate, and temptation. Without their guidance and direction I was lost and became a little monster (another interesting story). I could never go back to that life because the real world has rotten me. I have no place after this life for me. I have no Jesus or Buddha in me, not even God.

Bonjour Vietnam