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Amelia Brett Feature Long Reads Profile

Culture and spirituality: Temple provides community for Cambodian Buddhists

By Amelia Brett

Thyda Freiberger slipped off her shoes with ease beside the door before entering her family’s temple. A short line of sandals sat next to hers on the front porch. Her black hair hung down her back in a long braid. After walking into the room, she bowed three times to pay respect in front of a large statue of Buddha. With rose red curtains tied back, sunlight reflected on ornamental golden leaves in front of decorative lotus flowers and a light pink box with the word “donation” painted on it in crimson letters. The Buddha’s face shone with closed eyes and a soft smile. The room was silent, except for the sound of Freiberger’s small daughter running around in socks and stopping to carefully pick up an incense stick.