The Temple Bridge Taoist God

(Continued from Taoist Shrine in Ancient Hội An) The first time I visited this temple in  Hội An, I had no idea it was one that venerated a Taoist god. You must forgive me. All temples look the same from the outside. The architecture might have been one type of construction but then, over the years,... Continue Reading →

Hungry Ghosts 6: Liên Hoa Đăng

The words Liên Hoa Đăng means the Festival of the Flower Lanterns. Sounds pretty doesn't it? It actually is more than just pretty. It takes your breath away. It normally takes place during the Hungry Ghost Vu Lan season which lasts for about two weeks. It starts on the 15th night of the seventh month... Continue Reading →

The Ba Chúc Massacre Tree

"Thần cây đa, ma cây gạo, cú cáo cây đề". Ancient Vietnamese saying: There are gods in the banyan trees, ghosts in the cotton trees, and spirits of owls and foxes in the fig trees.  Haunted Trees Sometimes, a tree doesn't just witness huge numbers of death. Oh no. Sometimes, it is USED as part... Continue Reading →

The Demon’s Triangle Tree

There is an ancient saying in Vietnamese: "Thần cây đa, ma cây gạo, cú cáo cây đề". This is literally translated as: (There are) gods in the banyan trees, ghosts in the cotton trees, (and spirits of) owls and foxes in the fig trees. Obviously, the commonalities within this ancient saying are (1) otherworldly beings,... Continue Reading →

Hungry Ghosts 7: Ghoul Archetypes

(Continued from Hungry Ghosts 6: Mentally Ill Ghouls) In an attempt to unveil that which is (mostly) invisible to us, I will delve into this subject in detail. This is not because I have a morbid fascination about the afterlife. OK, I do. But that's not the reason why I'm digging into this subject. In... Continue Reading →

The Great Compassion Mantra

The Avalokiteshvara Mantra, with words Namo Ratna Trayaya, Namo Arya Jnana Sagara, Vairochana, Byuhara Jara Tathagataya, Arahat e , Samyaksam Buddhaya, Namo Sarwa Tathagate Bhyay, Arhata Bhyah, Samyaksam Buddhe Bhyah, Namo Arya Avalokite shoraya Bodhisattvaya, Maha Sattvaya, Maha Karunikaya, Tadyata, Om Dara Dara, Diri Diri, Duru Duru Itte We, Itte Chale Chale, Purachale Purachale,... Continue Reading →

Hungry Ghosts 6: Mentally Ill Ghouls

You've probably figured this out by now, but I'm not ashamed to say that I'm one of those Taobabes who are easily spooked. I am actually scared of ghosts and ghouls and such–but I am also curious about them and what makes them 'tick'. As I have written in previous posts, Hungry Ghosts are not... Continue Reading →

Taoist Shrine in Ancient Hội An

Deep in the tropics of Southeast Asia, there is a colorful, bustling city that hugs the coast of central Vietnam. Its name is Hội An, and it is one of those mystical magical faraway places that you should visit at least once in your life. Hội An's colorful houses and temples and businesses sprawled along... Continue Reading →

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