Truc Lam Monastery – Dalat

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7.30am  a colourful carb brekkie & a 10 minute taxi drive and we arrived to catch a cable car to Truc Lam Pagoda 70,000 Dong each roughly 3 and a bit USD, it opens at 8am so, ho, hum we waited, some nice euro style views to take in while we wait. On the cable car, there was 7kms of pine forest style scenery over-looking the Benhuit Mountain, located 1300 metres above sea level and youre at the Monastery, we arrived at about the same time as the first tourist bus.

kid 3 seems to have really picked up the triple bow with incense ritual attached to the Buddhist prayer & he has a keen interest in the whole philosophy of Buddhism. We were admiring a Thai Buddha statue at one of the temples, when we started talking to a monk, one thing lead to another and we were invited to his quarters to receive gifts of different enlightenment books. He told us the 5 golden rules to master successfully before considering Buddhism. He said the golden rules seem simple to achieve, but it is infact incredibly difficult and takes many, many years to master selflessness to the extent where you can just automatically do this without thinking . He said after many years he is still learning. We chatted about these golden rules in great detail throughout the day, we gave selflessness and no white lies for a day, and yes its not easy. There are about 100 monks practicing Zen Buddhism at this monastery at any one time. We saw only a handful.

1, Never ever lie, not even white ones

2, No gambling, using drugs or drinking

3. Always put others before yourself

4.No sexual misconduct

5. Do not kill

After looking around the 24 hectare gardens, we made our way down to the grounds pathway, through to a pine forest and eventually a short stroll later to Tuyem Lam Lake. We stopped at the top over-lloking the lake at a gorgeous little street vendors café which was surrounded by minority peoples stalls. Here, after trying many,  purchased a buffalo horns, which then kind of dominated the rest of the day. We spent an hour looking over the lake, which has a theme park type thing there, endless little cafe’s and you can hire boats to go around in, not our thing, but its there. We sat and ate ice creams, kid 3 blew his horn to his hearts content, a beautiful peaceful place to be, if we weren’t there. You could have spent a whole day here at Truc Lam Monastery meditating, people watching or just hanging in the gardens or at cafes by the lake, it was really sweet.

After catching the cable car back whilst enjoying some horn by kid 3, some appropriate singing by kid 3 & 4 http://youtu.be/BbVkxMLLD3k & taking some bunches –  we decided to make the 2 kilometre walk home in the heat through the picturesque  foothills, pretty houses and flower dotted pathways, stopping to pat some puppies as you do in the country-side.

We headed across town to find a place called BINGO pizza on Truong Cong Dinh St Ward 1, we are not loving the food in Dalat, we don’t recognise a lot of the food on the menu and the western style cafes charge top dollar for small serves. Happy find, fast service & great food. (forget the pizza places either side).  There’s a reflexology place next door $10 US per hour for massage, fantastic according to kid 2 & then have coffee at the cutest little piece of Europe at ‘Bicycle Up’ Coffee Bar at number 82.

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