These photos are from the Tran Hung Dao Temple and another temple in Nam Dinh,
Tran Hung Dao's birthplace.
I felt strangely out of place here.
In the south, our Catholic-born guide seemed uncomfortable with me
burning incense in the Thien Hau temple but I was quite at ease with my own
prayers and with speaking to the spirits of those who suffered in the war.
But here, amid the crowded bustle of worshipers going through
prescribed sequences of offerings, I was uncomfortably aware of being
After seeking an understanding of what Tran Hung Dao means to the Vietnamese,
I was unprepared for the intensity of the reverence.
I was like a climber who, having trekked to the top of a mountain
for the view, finds himself scarcely able to peek over the edge.