Sunday, February 25, 2007

Asian Culture in Texas

Every time this country gets involved in another military misadventure, it changes the nation. The current war in Iraq will undoubtedly do the same. One of our earlier interventions into the affairs of another country resulted in many Vietnamese refugees coming to the United States to escape the Viet Cong Communist regime. Over the years, as people have settled into life in the U.S. and had families, the Vietnamese community has grown.

Houston is one city that has large numbers of people from all over the world. Even though there is undoubtedly assimilation occurring, there are also sections of the city with large ethnic populations. This gives Houston one of the things I like about it; authentic food from all over the globe is available. Restaurants offering every type of cuisine you can imagine are there. This often results in humorous word usage to those of us native to the United States. Signs proclaiming "Doo Doo Cafe" or "Pupuseria", or "Hello to Rent This Sign" can be seen.

Last October when I was back in town, I was surprised to find another result of international culture in far southwest Houston. A large campus housing a Vietnamese Buddhist temple was there. Now, this seems rather out of place to me, since I moved away from the bayou city in 1992 (wow, has it really been 15 years?). Yet, it is a very beautiful oasis of water, flowers and ornate buildings that is a little bit of Asia in Texas.

I don't know a lot about Buddhism, however I do know that it is a peaceful outlook on life. There are several varieties of Buddhism, and some are more of a philosophy than a religion, in that they are basically a non-theistic belief. In general, Buddhists don't proselytize either, but seek to achieve Enlightenment and Nirvana.

These photos I took in Houston last October should give you an idea of how beautiful the grounds of this temple are.

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