For two hours we rode a sweltering bus through misty rice paddies and jutting rock formations, beautiful in itself, but normal scenery for rural Vietnam, and we were in search of a more spectacular visual. The Ninh Binh temple is a sanctuary of massive buddhas and beautiful artistry. But I found my particular peace in front of these three gold buddhas, perched above a glassy pool and fields. Offerings of choco-pies and papayas were spread before the middle buddha and a small mat was placed for the understanding and devout to kneel and pray. I didn't really understand buddhism before visiting this temple, but even without that understanding I could feel the tranquility and peace within the temple. I couldn't help but sit in front of the buddhas, forget about the heat, and clear my mind of all the trivial worries crowding my mind. There may be larger or grander buddhas, but these buddhas felt like mine, and after the rush and clamor of Hanoi I am eminently grateful for the moments of peace in front of the giant gold buddhas.
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