Whether you're religious or not, it's worth learning about the spiritual practices of other cultures to help you gain perspective.
As a person of Christian faith, I love to show people how we're about love, tolerance, and acceptance of EVERYONE, despite the spectrum that often preaches otherwise.
Stepping into the realm of religion in Vietnam, you'll find that a majority practice Buddhism, a religion that originated in India and spread through most of Asia soon after.
When you think of Buddha, maybe "future Buddha" comes to mind -- the guy with the big pot belly, a huge grin, and a pearl necklace.
While his features may be funny out of context, they're actually symbolic.
His big smile exudes happiness.
His long-lobed ears represent longevity in life.
His pot belly signifies wealth and surplus.
In general, it's also quite common for Vietnamese people to worship their ancestors through a spiritual practice called ancestor veneration, based on the belief that the deceased have a continued existence and possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living.
I was also surprised to see how laxed they are about dress code near holy sites.
As a rule, it's always best to cover your shoulders and legs when entering places of holy practice, like temples or mosques, but here the locals say they don't mind, as long as you take off your hat and shoes inside the pagoda.
Religion is as beautiful as you choose to interpret it. And the stunning architecture is something I can always appreciate.
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Photo credit: @darlingescapes // @chicdarling