3- The Ancestral Temple

28 Tháng Giêng 200812:00 SA(Xem: 8926)
3- The Ancestral Temple

The little girl frequently accompanied her mother to pay visits to Duc Ong and Duc Ba, whom she called Ong Co and Ba Co (Great-GrandFather and Great-Grandmother), as all the other children did. The Ancestral Temple was very large, especially the front and back yards. She recalled that Duc Ba often sat on the wooden bed in the living room to chew betel, while Duc Ong sat by the table to sip tea.

In the patio nearby, lines of tables were set as a food court for all visitors. The kitchen always prepared vegetarian food for guests coming from everywhere, and for fellow Hoa Hao believers worshipping at the Ancestral Temple.

Most visitors came to the Ancestral Temple by the river, since Hoa Hao Village was located at the crossing point called Vam Nao between two rivers, Hau Giang and Tien Giang. At the crossroad was An Hoa Ancient Pagoda, a traditional Buddhist site; nearby was Dinh market. From Dinh market, there was a road running along the bank of Tien Giang river, passing over the Ancestral Temple, then her house, and continuing until Duong Tac market, passing Ba shrine, reaching Vam market, and Tan Chau market.

These roads were very recognizable to her tiny legs, since she traveled around here and there -- most of the time accompanying her mother, of course, but sometimes alone or with other little friends. She recalled how the village was peaceful and safe during that period. Nobody needed to close doors, and everyone could enter other people’s houses without being questioned, just like members of a large family. Whenever the believers paid visits to each other, the first thing they did was to come in front of the Buddha's Altar and burn incense.  Then they bowed down low in front of Buddha, and then they bowed to the picture of the Prophet, before beginning any conversations.

When the little girl was born, Su Ong (Great Prophet) was absent. Although she never had the chance to see Su Ong in person, the little girl, like all her peers, felt a great respect and love for him. When somebody made her upset, she liked to stand before Su Ong's picture to tell him about it. She sincerely cultivated such respect because of the way he had taught and acted toward the adults around her. She did not really know how he had done it, but his legacy was clearly reflected in the lifestyle of the whole village. They treated each other with the love of fellow believers, like members of the same extended family: no distinction, no competition, but mutual understanding, respect, and wholehearted assistance. She was in the habit of listening to her parents and elder cousins who would tell her stories about Su Ong or read her his teachings.

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