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When Lam finished his masters degree in 2012 and began teaching at a high school in St. Paul, he told his father to retire and promised to handle the bills from then on. “It’s important to care for your parents,” he said. Quy likewise explained how she cared for both her mother and father in their old age, even while working full-time. Though these duties prevented her from attending the Prohibitory Commandments sessions, other members of the Temple told her it didn’t matter, because they knew she treated her parents with respect. “In the Buddhist culture, the way you take care of your parents is a very important part of the religion,” she said, reiterating Lam’s words.
Like Quy, many Vietnamese regard ancestor veneration as a central part of their Buddhist practice. Thousands of people crowd into Phat-An for Buddhist Parents’ Day every August to show their respect, as many as attend Vietnamese New Year. “We pray for our parents if they are deceased [that] they go to a good place, and for our living parents for good health,” explained Quy.
"In the Buddhist culture, the way you take care of your parents is a very important part of the religion." -Quy Dang
A commitment to filial piety can be seen on Sundays as well. Ancestor veneration constitutes an important part of weekly services, when, after the Dharma talk, dozens gather to pray for family members who have passed away. Quy said that people pray intensively for the first 49 days following someone’s death, and commemorate the anniversaries of a death date with offerings and prayer.