Sacred Texts  Asia 

The Religions of South Vietnam in Faith and Fact

US Department of the Navy, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Chaplains Division



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Vietnam, because of historical and geographical factors, has an extrordinary number of different religious influences, including Animism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Christianity and several indigenous belief systems such as Cao Dai. This guidebook, published by the US military, is a reference about this subject, compiled on the cusp of the Vietnam war. It includes quite a bit of cultural and background information about Vietnam, statistics about numbers of adherents, as well as a guide to cultural sensitivity which may still be of use. This is a valuable resource about this fascinating topic. It also implicitly tells quite a story about the US military's attempt to win Vietnamese 'hearts and minds'.

Title Page and Front Matter
Letter of transmittal
I. Animism
II. Vietnamese Taoism
III. Confucianism in Vietnam
IV. Hinduism in Vietnam
V. Buddhism in Vietnam
VI. Islam
VII. Roman Catholicism in South Vietnam
VIII. Protestantism in South Vietnam
IX. Cao Dai
X. Phat Giao Hoa Hao

XI. Religion in Everyday Life

A. Scenes Of Vietnamese Life
B. Religious Practices and Activities
C. Religious Discipline and Concepts Affecting Behavior

D. Examples of Religion in Everyday Life

A Religiously Influenced Culture
Vietnamese Village--Homes
Vietnamese Village Dinh, Market, School
Choosing Life's Partner
Consulting the Astrologers
Effects of Stars on Choosing Marriage Partners
The Vietnamese and Children
Rearing Vietnamese Children
Legend of Quan-Am
Fragrant Incense of Aloes Wood
Joss Sticks
Use of Votive Paper as an Act of Worship in Vietnamese Temples
The Lotus
The Meaning and Importance of TET
The Dragon in Vietnam
Veneration of Vietnamese Benefactors
Ancestor Worship
Ancestor Worship--Worship of Nham-Dien
Vietnamese Self-Sacrifice Customs


Selected Bibliography
Appendix A. Foreign Voluntary Agencies Operating in Vietnam with Resident Representative
Appendix B. Guidelines for Understanding