The Monks and Nuns of Vietnam
The monks and nuns of Vietnam represent the major source of social welfare that is available in a country that is still very poor.
If you are sick, old or orphaned, there is nowhere to go but the nearest temple, church or monastery. Many temples are de-facto orphanages, and many have become large welfare institutions, more through necessity than through choice.
I have witnessed again and again the great energy and great example of compassionate service and loving-kindness that these people set.
These humble, nameless religious professionals of all sects and stamps go about their work with a gentleness and great energy which I find hard to truly comprehend.
And after a day of service, sacrifice, study and contemplation, the evenings are filled with bells and chants and smells of incense as they go about their religious duties, praying for the needs of the whole world - and that includes you and me.