The Restorative Effects of Practice

Many people use their religious practices to better cope with the very pressures that restrict their participation at Phat-An, such as jobs and family. Louie said that meditation is good for centering the mind and dealing with stress, which he said increases as people take on more responsibilities and start families. Quy explained that the 24-hour practices allow her to leave the worries of daily life. “I have learned from my religion,” said Tri, explaining that he applies Buddhist lessons of forgiveness and empathy in dealing with home and workplace conflicts.

Huong likewise described the calming effects of her Buddhist practice. She said that just coming to Phat-An and looking at the Buddha statue makes her feel better. In addition, she wears a prayer bracelet on her wrist and says that when she touches it, and recites the Buddha’s name – nam mô a-di-đà phật – she feels less scared. She says that, once, her car was about to hit another vehicle; she recited this phrase, and was able to avoid an accident.