In college I studied Cultural Anthropology and Eastern Religious Studies. I dealt all through college with the question of what I was going to do with that major. I had thought of getting a PhD & teaching or finding a government job or a million other things. All I knew for sure was that I had never felt more nourished as a person than when I was learning about life, culture, language, religion and people. I felt as though I learned something new every single day.
I have been in Cambodia for eight days now, and in these eight days I have felt so alive. I have felt like I’m putting to practice the things I’ve learned. I’m witnessing & experiencing ceremonies, blessings and art that I’ve only read about in books or seen photos of in Art History classes. I have felt encouraged by the joy of people, fortunate from the poverty I’ve seen and awakened & renewed by the temples.
Today, we started our day by visiting Wat Phnom. This stunning temple atop the only hill in Phnom Pehn. We left our shoes by the opening of the temple and stepped in. Immediately I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the murals, the statues, the offerings, the music that was being played, the scent of incense and the people worshiping. I had never been in a temple that was such a treat for all the senses. We watched respectfully as women washed their faces in Holy Water, people received fortunes, laid offerings on the buddhas and bowed while burning their incense. It was a truly a feast for the senses.
I don’t think that you have to be Buddhist or Cambodian to learn from these beautiful moments, experiences and the things that they believe in. So, I just want to leave you with some words that stuck with me today:
“With our thoughts we make the world.” – The Buddha
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