Vietnam: The New Asian Tiger – The Walking Anthropologist
Vietnam – The Walking Anthropologist
Jnana Yoga: The Spiritual Path of Knowledge
Recently I met 3 Wonderful Buddhist Vietnamese women.
Meeting them reminded me of Vietnam.
Vietnam is one of my favourite countries.
If you go to Dalat, you might be lucky enough to meet the Buddhist Monk, Thay Vien Thuc, known as “The Crazy Monk”.
He’s a very talented artist and author. I’m lucky enough to own art from him. I strolled into his Pagoda in about 2000 and spent the day with him listening to his stories.
When I travel, I get off the trail and only publish information much later. That way, secret havens can be maintained for other adventurous travellers to find.
Not everything needs to be said at the time, right?
I’m excited for Vietnam now.
The country is well developed now and is being referred to as the New Asian Tiger.
Could Ho Chi Minh be clapping his hands in Joy for his People?
I was fortunate enough to see Ho Chi Minh in the historical mausoleum
Without any doubt, Ho Chi Minh was a well-educated man and well-travelled who wanted Independence for Vietnamese people.
Meeting these 3 ladies yesterday reminded me of a lot.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; people often think meditation is about sitting under the trees with fancy beads in our hands. The more Spiritual Yogi’s look, the more Spiritual they must be, right?
But…what if we realised that 5 Buddhist Monks self-immolated in protest of the Vietnam War and persecution of Buddhists in Vietnam?
Few consider the burning body of a Monk.
The photo of Thich Quang Duc is one of The Most Influential Images of All Time.
The 66yr old Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc, sat in meditation as his body burned to death as an act of defiance against an unjust government.
Most people in the West had never heard of Vietnam at the time, but this photo, taken by Malcolm Browne June 1963, was described by President Kennedy as,
“No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one.”
The ripple effect of his self-determination and courage, burning to death without uttering a word or flinching, sitting in meditation at a busy intersection in Saigon is undeniable.
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People in the streets wailed and cried, but he sat through the flames and didn’t cry out or move.
Perhaps the most profound outcome of this is that his heart didn’t burn and is now a Sacred relic in Vietnam.
Clearly, there is a great deal more to meditation than people realise.
I lived in Vietnam, and by doing so, I learned a great deal about Humanity and the impact of a brutal war there.
Humans have the capacity for substantial resilience in the face of difficulty.
Vietnam has been through a war which some still refer to as a police action, and live ammunition is STILL on the ground.
Here are photos of my own.
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Live ammunition left from the Vietnam war in rice paddies where children now play.
A trail of ammunition and graves were left behind in Vietnam, where people still blow limbs off today because of political agenda and international interference.
In Ontario, I spoke with a veteran and totally related to Moral injury when he spoke of that.
I myself could have had my own legs blown off or worse in Vietnam DMZ.
Driving through the area with a local motorbike guide, I hopped off the bike in the middle of nowhere, ran through the field for fresh air and to stretch my legs only to suddenly hear him shouting,
“Stop, Stop this area is mined. Walk back slowly in your same footsteps”.
I had no idea I was running through an area of landmines.
THAT definitely gave me a sense of terror and adventure all at the same time.
Can you use your Mindfulness in an area of landmines and walk slowly while you use that practice?
Seriously though, have you forgotten about agent orange, napalm and the Girl in the Picture?
Nine-year-old Kim Phuc, severely burned by napalm, ran from her blazing village in South Vietnam and into the eye of history.
I have not forgotten, and by meeting these women yesterday, I remembered both the Monks and the Girl.
Vietnam was an amazing country, and as a traveller, you need to have your eyes WIDE OPEN.
My students in Vietnam were worldly young people with minds eager to learn. Every time I wanted to do something for them, they’d say no. They wanted to do learn from me and then do things for themselves independently. Together we had wonderful in-depth conversations about many things.
They were not afraid to ask questions.
Including questions about apartheid and the political situation of South Africa.
The most inspiring thing about these young people for me was that they were very proud of their country. Even though there was a large ex-pat community working and teaching there, the people were clear within themselves that they wanted to learn and maintain their independent thought at the same time, in order to improve their own life skills and community.
They clearly did not want to become dependent on aid workers.
They wanted to learn what they didn’t know and then do things themselves from a position of pride in themselves.
A beautiful symbiotic relationship.
I will say unfortunately substance abuse does exist, as it does in every country. So when you travel: BE CAREFUL!
When you travel, it’s in your own best interest to be mindful and aware of your environment at all times.
In Hanoi, I had a young man walk up to me in the street.
He gave me the line…”Hey baby, do you want to * me.”
It’s a line often used by pickpockets to throw you off guard, which I only realised afterwards.
I experienced this 3 times in 3 different situations.
The first and second time, I ignored it. The third time I did not feel safe and pushed the young man out of my personal space.
That resulted in him spitting in my face and then running away from me down the street, so I chased him. I ran through the streets of Hanoi after him, body surfed him into a coffee shop, and as we both came to a stop, a Vietnamese soldier was there who arrested him and immediately told me to check my pockets.
Thankfully I was fine, and it never happened again.
Vietnam is an amazing country. There is a lot to learn and experience there.
These people have been through brutal war AND the financial crisis, and now they’re economically on their way to being the next Asian Tiger.
How amazing is THAT!
For me…that is both Inspiring and Exciting knowing the history of the People.
The Spirit of the Vietnamese people will NOT SURRENDER!
Sounds a bit like Bushido, right?
Perhaps the most Inspiring part of the Vietnamese story for me is that even though these people have been through great tragedy, they do not carry anger towards others.
They understand Harmony more than anything in the NOW.
Travel will expand your mind like Nothing else can.
If you’d like to work with me in Ontario, make your relaxation deep tissue massage appointment or book your private retreat. I’m also available globally online with the intention to help you lower your stress levels & improve your relationships.
I look forward to meeting you.
Author, Trainer, Consultant, Human Being: Colleen Glennis McClure