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by Rick Green, photography by Brian K. Smith

Wat Rong Khun (White Temple), Chiang Rai

Wat Rong Khun is an unconventional Buddhist temple outside Chiang Rai that is being constructed under the direction of Chalermchai Kositpipat, a controversial, award-winning Thai visual artist. Kositpipat considers Wat Rong Khun to be his masterwork, an offering to Lord Buddha that will gain him the immortality of enlightenment. Construction began in 1997 and, similar to Gaudi's Sagrada Família, is not expected to be completed until well after the artist's death (in 60-70 years).

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by Rick Green

Cao Dai Nuns Awaiting Noon PrayersEntering the foyer of the Cao Dai Holy See, I scanned the scene for suitable photos to take, not that they were hard to find. Colourful priests and white-robed practitioners were milling about, waiting for the signal to begin noon prayers. It was more a matter of choosing a subject, looking for good lighting, and framing the shot than having to search for something interesting. Then I saw it.

There, on the wall above a group of cross-legged nuns, was a mural I was familiar with. Depicted were three men with golden haloes, standing on a mountain top before a radiating tablet, hovering before them on a backdrop of blue sky and puffy white clouds. On the right, was a bearded, white-haired Asian man wearing the blue silk robe and cap of a Chinese scholar official. He was finishing writing with a calligraphy brush in red ink, the last of four characters on the tablet that read, Bó'ài Gōngpíng (Universal Brotherhood and Justice). To the left of the tablet, stood a European wearing a bicorn hat and the uniform of a 19th century military officer or official. With a quill pen, he was completing writing, Dieu et Humanité. Amour et Justice" (God and Humanity. Love and Justice). Beside him was another Asian dressed in a Chinese-style cap and changshan, holding an ink tablet.

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by Rick Green

Fresh durian, Mekong delta, Vietnam

Durian is the fruit of a tree belonging to the Durio genus in the Malvaceae family. Native to the island of Borneo, it is cultivated in tropical areas with a mean daily temperature above 22 °C. Its name comes from the Malay duri, meaning "thorn". Thailand is the leading producer, followed by Malaysia and Indonesia. Chantaburi hosts the annual World Durian Festival.

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