AAPI Month; Culture Through Religion

It’s easy to see that inside Hung Nguyen’s house, Buddha is a major part of his life.


What You Need To Know

  • Members of the Buddhist and Hindu community explain how their religion guides them through their daily life
  • Hung Nguyen, a former family doctor and Buddhist, says his family has always been important to him, finding time daily to honor those that have passed
  • Nisha Bhayani, a practicing dentist and Hindu, says selfless service is something she values greatly

“Do good, don’t do any sin, and keep your mind clean,” Hung Ngyuen said in describing the core values of his religion.  “Clear and quiet.”

For over 40 years, Nguyen practiced what he preached as a family doctor in Vietnam and the U.S.  Family has always been important to Nguyen; finding time daily to honor those that have passed.

“This one, for Buddha,” Nguyen says lighting a candle in front of photos of his parents. “This one, for my ancestors.”

Traditions that he learned as a child from his parents, and traditions he continues to value living now in the U.S.

Each and every May, Hung and members of his temple celebrate the birthday of Buddha.  Nearly every member of the temple volunteers form assembly lines, working together for the betterment of everyone that will be attending.

“Volunteer is a way of practicing Buddhism,” Nguyen, who is also his temple’s president said. “When you help people, that means you help Buddha.”

Despite being retired as a family physician, Nguyen continues to serve his and other families selflessly like everyone else at his temple.  

There are some similarities between Buddhists and Hindus, but the daily rituals of each can be quite unique.

First thing each and every morning, Nisha Bhayani starts each morning with a cleanse.

“A shower gets us ready for the most important part of our day which is our prayer,” Bhanyani says pointing in her bathroom to the shower head.” It’s our Puja.”

And before she can have her morning coffee or meal, a prayer must take place first.

During her normal work day, prayers continue. At least four times a day during breaks to pray to God.

“ I serve all of our patients as if they were my own,” the dentist begins to explain. “I always want to do right by them which is how I incorporate this servitudex, this vwaspara, in my day-to-day basis.”

Outside of helping others at work is helping for the greater good. Part of the Hindu culture, and one Nisha values greatly, is selfless service. Often times while volunteering, Nisha helps others without expecting something in return because she believes it is the right thing to do.

Most recently she was part of a walk-and-run fundraiser for breast cancer awareness through her temple, BAPS.

But Nisha and other Hindu’s typically always end their day with a final prayer, followed by time set aside to reflect.

“Just that constant intersection that we have, throughout our day and it’s been wonderful with this,” Nisha says with a journal in hand.

After multiple prayers, serving others, and self reflecting Nisha gets ready to do it all again the next day. 365 days a year.

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