Open the leaf to find a caterpillar.
The meaning is finding fault in trivial matters. This is equivalent to “Splitting hairs” (i.e., arguing about unimportant differences) or “Nitpicking” (i.e., finding fault in trivial matters (nits are lice eggs)).
The home Buddha does not inspire awe.
The meaning is describing how people do not respect someone familiar to them. This is equivalent to “No prophet is accepted in his hometown.”
Raw rice is due to the pot, not the lid.
This is describing that the blame should fall on the main person and not supporting characters. This is similar to “A bad carpenter blames his tools” and “Barking up the wrong tree.”
Someone says sticky rice he agrees to sticky rice, someone says meat he agrees to meat.
This is describing a person who only knows to follow and does not have his own opinions. This is a variant of “Quan tám cũng ừ, quan tư cũng gật / Eighth rank official seconds, fourth rank official nods,” describing how lower rank officials in the imperial court would second the opinions of the higher rank officials. This is equivalent to describing “yes man” or “sheep.”
Corrupt monk disguised as [religious] monk, Seeing beautiful girl and abandoning the temple to follow.
The meaning is criticizing a phony. Monks are supposed to leave behind their earthly desires. This is similar to “Wolf in sheep’s clothing” and “Devil in disguise.”
Imitating others to do evil.
The meaning is 1) criticizing someone for imitating others in doing evil, which is equivalent to “Fall in/Hang out with the wrong crowd” and “Keeping bad company” or 2) criticizing someone for treating lower rank people poorly, which is similar in concept to “Crap rolls downhill.”
Eating yet no bowls, speaking yet no words.
The meaning is criticizing someone as clumsy, stupid, uncultured or uncivilized, incompetent, and not amounting to anything. This is similar to “Thick as a brick,” “Bird brain,” and “Dumb as a rock.”
Putting on one’s neck a yoke from the middle of the road.
The meaning is criticizing someone for inviting trouble or taking on difficulties. This is similar to “Do not borrow trouble,” “Putting one’s neck on the line,” and “Sticking your neck out.”
Evil like a Brocade Pond crocodile.
The meaning is describing something or someone very evil and savage. Vũng Gấm (Brocade Pond) refers to a swamp in Dong Nai Province, where many crocodiles live.
Fierce like a leopard.
The meaning is describing something or someone very aggressive. This is equivalent to “Ác (dữ) như hùm (cọp) / fierce like a tiger.”