Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Day for Myself

I spent the whole day to myself shooting and exploring. I started my day at the temple.   I've been the last three Sundays to Chua Tinh Tam.  Each Sunday Diem promises to bring something for me the next Sunday.  It is keeping me coming back.  I followed along with the chanting today; not aloud but in my head and I was able to drift away from my head mili seconds at a time.  I understand nothing b/c it is all Vietnamese but the process is working.  I am in a state of mind that is good.  Diem has given me more reading material; hopefully the reading will be easier then what I am reading about Buddhism now.  

As I was leaving the temple after lunch one of the members, a mother/grandmother type and wife of  the chairman, dropped 4 apples forcefully into my purse.  Just like my mother, she was not going to let me leave empty handed or hungry.  I am getting quite comfortable here, but I must move on.  I feel already this project should have been started long ago and the time at each place needs much more delving and dedication; there is so much to learn.  Focus and determine my approach. It is not so easy when so much is available.    So I started the exploration of the Ganesha Temple this afternoon.  Oh how wonderful it was to see the activity of the temple and the smells of the incense, the brightly dressed women and children, the necklaces of marigolds and chrysanthemums, the bindis, the coolness of the marble on my bare feet, the ringing bell at the deities .  I miss India.  

The permission to photograph will not be as open here as I had hoped. " No photographs in the temple" and "leave the priest alone,"  I was told by the temple board, a room of men sitting at a table eating babaganoush  and counting all their money from the days collection. That was a picture...coins spilled out all over the table, three men hunched over it counting.  It was everything I could do not to shoot it, but lifting that big ole 65mm wide lens and squeezing the clunker of a shutter on my hasselblad is not so inconspicuous, plus I would want to be right in their face with the lens.  They were not so friendly and rather not be bothered (understandably).  One of the priest approached me later, though, so kindly and open and the rest of the people were friendly and  receptive to me being there.  I will be going back next week. Persistence and patience.  And I am at peace with it.    

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