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Religion

Confuciasnism I


vietnam oldmanConfucianism 
is the search for balance in relationships between family, society and , of course, the Five Forces of the Universe. Confucianism is all about management and ruling, structure and order, and was therefore, used by the state for the everyday running of things. Confucianism played a major role in Vietnam until the middle of the 19th century. The state was a highly hierarchical entity, the peasant in the field had little to say about how things were run, but Confucianism was also highly flexible and together with Taoism and Buddhism, which provided the values and norms for the Vietnamese. Confucianism ensured that the state was run with a top-down approach. 



Buddhism
Buddhism was at a high between the 11th and 15th century, it followed the Theravada tradition in general. Buddhism has given many societies answers to many social and political questions and still offers many societies support from the modern-day invasion of Western ideals and technologies. 


vietmonkBuddhism has always been present in Vietnam though you will notice it more in times of difficulty, than in times of peace. 
To simplify, Confucianism is a typical ruling religion, with strict hierarchical relationships from the head of state all the way down to the junior members of the family and all the steps in between. Buddhism is the religion that relates to all. Buddhism help the Vietnamese escape the harshness of everyday life and to reach a higher level. Buddhism was all about "all men are equal" as opposed to the strict hierarchical structure of Confucianism. For reflection and meditation, the Vietnamese turned to Taoism and many symbols and meditation techniques have been adopted into Vietnamese Buddhist thought. The first buddhist scholars to reach Vietnam came from India and brought influences which were mainly Mahayana styled, then another wave of Buddhism came to Vietnam from China. This was the Theravada school of Buddhist thought. Vietnam is almost unique with its three major mixes. These three influences can be found in Vietnam's major religion today. The Mahayana and Theravada schools although different, reflect the influences of China and India. 

Taoism
Tao is all about the natural order of things. In other words, it is an influence that reaches into every living and still object, and crosses the entire universe. The main religious characters in Taoism are Lao Tzsu and Chuang Tzu, these are scholars who dedicated their lives to the balance of their inner spirits. The most common symbol of Taoism is the circular, quite often in black and white, Yin Yang figure. If the Tao is in balance it is possible to find perfect happiness. Lao Tzsu said that you cannot interpret the Tao, it just is.
Taoism is all about working with nature and nature's forces, and not fighting against them. Taoism teaches the technique of mastering circumstances, not trying to control them, this is often called the path of wu-wei. One of the most famous examples is that of the bending reed in the wind to show clearly what is meant. According to Taoist teachers, one should not fight against the problems one encounters but work with them to help you. 
The Ying Yang figure represents perfect balance in one's life, if in balance there is peace and harmony, if they are out of balance there is confusion and chaos. People use this symbol to think about and reflect on their lives. Another interesting point about Taoism is, reality consists of constant change, in fact change is the only aspect that one is sure of. Another element of Taoism is that of the uncarved block, one who is likened to an uncarved block does not stereotype or have other types of preconceptions about the world, he/she is a blank, and views the world with a sense of wonder which is always present. Tao is all about listening and understanding, reflecting on the world and trying to understand it. One has to listen intently in order to reach a state of enlightenment. 

Ahayana and Theravada
The Mahayana school of thought reasons that it is possible for everyone to find salvation, as opposed to Theravada which reasons that only a select few can reach a state of enlightenment. When you look at how these two major streams of thought look at and interpret scholarly texts, you see that Mahayana scholars interpret the texts loosely and they can have multi interpretations, but the Theravada stick much more precisely to the letter of the text. The Bodhisattva (teacher) is the main figure in Mahayana, who believe that total compassion is someone who gives up the state of Nirvana to help others achieve enlightenment, Buddha himself had also chosen to spread the word and help others to achieve enlightenment, and so you see, that Mahayana is close to the style of Buddha himself. This refusal to reach Nirvana and to turn to helping others is an amazing feat of selflessness.

Confucianism 
Confucianism is set down in many texts and books and was introduced to Vietnam by the governors of Vietnam at that time; Hsi Kuang and Jen Yen. It states attitudes towards each relationship in society. Husband-wife, Father-son etc. Mencius is the scholar in Confucianism who states that man is good and must study himself and continue to learn.
A wise man, develops through study; he knows himself, and has his passions under control. 


confucianism
Confucius teaches the man:
4 rules to reach self-development:
•-to develop himself; 
•-to keep his family; 
•-to rule the country; 
•-to bring peace to the world. 

Interaction: 3 Types
Between King and citizen; 
Between father and son; 
Between husband and wife. 

5 Cardinal Virtues to become a man of virtue: 
• Intelligence 
• Honesty. 
• Equity 
• Urbanity 
• Humanity

The woman
3 basic types of alliance; 
• to the father until she is married, 
• to the husband after she leaves her parents' house, 
• to the eldest son when her husband dies. 

4 virtues: 
• skill with her hands, 
• agreeable appearance, 
• prudence in speech, 
• exemplary conduct. 

Under the old custom, a young girl is expected to keep her virginity until she gets married, and to marry only once. 

According to the principle of Confucianism there are 5 Concepts of Democracy in Mencius
• the state belongs to everyone; 
• the leaders must respect the people's desires: love what the people love, and hate what the people hate. 
• First, the people, then, the state, and the king is negligible. 
• A scholar ranks highest, followed by the farmer, the artisan and the merchant. 

Caodaism 
Ngoâ Vaên Chieâu, who was also known as a religious man, was formerly an administrative official in the province of Phu Quoc. He founded the religion known as Caodism, and ws a great believer in spiritualism. 
This religion only received its true form around 1925, when a Colonial Counsellor called Le Van Trung revised the whole basis of Caodism and so the Cao Dai religion came into being a year later in 1926.

• Cao: Supreme 
• Dai: Palace 

Cao Dai: Supreme Palace and refers to the following: In the supreme palace, resides the Almighty Sovereign who is the Master and the Father of Humanity. 

Cao Dai is a cocktail of religions, and includes Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Christianity as well as other elements. A raven is supposed to have appeared way back in 1926 and wrote the following text in the sand:
"I am the Supreme Sovereign; the oldest of the Buddhas, it is I; I am also Sakyamuni; I am Jesus Christ; I now take the name of Cao Dai to teach a new religion." 
Caodaism preaches: faith in one God, and the recognition of the soul and its existence and many reincarnations, Caodism also preaches the consequences of death and of human effort controlled by the Law of Karma. Respect for the dead, the culture of the family, love of good and justice as well as the practice of virtue. Its saints include: Dr. Sun-Yat-Sen, the Vietnamese prophet Trang Trinh, Victor Hugo, and even Sir Winston Churchill. 
Like Catholicism there is a Holy See of Caodaism, which can be found in Tay-Ninh in the south which is at the foot of Black Lady mountain. Caodaism has a total of about 2 million believerswho live in south Vietnam, more can be found abroad as well.
 

Confuciasnism II

An Introduction to Vietnamese Religions II
Tolerance for different beliefs is a key feature in Vietnamese religions. There is no definite national religion, and in the Constitution it is stated that everyone has complete freedom to choose the religion he or she fancies. Therefore, you will find, on your visit to Vietnam, that there is a whole scala of religions there that are practiced. The Confucian, the Taoist, the Buddhist, or all three in one, the Hoa Hao Buddhist, the Cao-Dai, the Catholic, the Protestant, the Ancestor worshipper, the Animist; all are living side by side here in Vietnam without fear to practice what they feel is their belief without restriction. 



The altar 
The candle is a symbol for the unity of the soul in the main religion which is a mix of the following: Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. On the altar of a Vietnamese (at home) aloe wood is burned, children and grand children invite their ancestors home to enjoy the offerings laid out before them. The incense smoke rising to the heavens symbolizes communication with ancestors. (burning incense is to remember people of times past). There is a tray with five fruits which symbolizes that life is like the seasons and it brings forth life. There is also a flower vase on the ancestors' altar, the flowers of which are perfumed and rises to the ancestors. Very popular flowers are the likes of lotus or lilies. There are other objects as well which are also offerred to ancestors.

Ancestor Worship 
Confucianism is the source of ancestor worship, confucianism states that the soul of the deceased stays with the family to look after them. In each strata of Vietnamese society, worship takes place, princes and kings worshipped their ancestors who were most likely also rulers and so forth all the way to the peasant in the field. The eldest son is, of course, responsible for this aspect of ceremonies throughout the year. Times and dates of births and deaths are very important in this religion. The responsibility falls upon the eldest son to take care of the various anniversaries during the year. For this, he receives income from a number of rice fields. Each family will keep a register in which all dates and times are entered pertaining to the family. Offerings reflect the wealth of the family and you will see that a rich family may even offer buffalo to their ancestors each year. A huge amount of the population are ancestor worshippers, probably over 50m people. "Like the nature has its sources, so has a family and therefore, we must honour our relatives" is what you hear in Vietnam. Once upon a time, you could only find Buddhism in Vietnam, but now Confucianism and Taoism is mixed with Buddhism. Confucianism came with the Chinese in the 15th century.

This mixture of influences is known as Nho-Thích-Laõo
• Nho: Confucianism 
• Thich: Buddhism, 
• Lao: Tao-Tze. 
These three influences, together with ancestor worship and Hoa Hao is practised by many Vietnamese. One does not shut the others out.
Confucianism 
Confucianism is set down in many texts and books and was introduced to Vietnam by the governors of Vietnam at that time; Hsi Kuang and Jen Yen. It states attitudes towards each relationship in society. Husband-wife, Father-son etc. Mencius is the scholar in Confucianism who states that man is good and must study himself and continue to learn.
A wise man, develops through study; he knows himself, and has his passions under control. 

Confucius teaches the man:
4 rules to reach self-development:
•-to develop himself; 
•-to keep his family; 
•-to rule the country; 
•-to bring peace to the world. 

Interaction: 3 Types
Between King and citizen; 
Between father and son; 
Between husband and wife. 

5 Cardinal Virtues to become a man of virtue: 
• Intelligence 
• Honesty. 
• Equity 
• Urbanity 
• Humanity

The woman
3 basic types of alliance; 
• to the father until she is married, 
• to the husband after she leaves her parents' house, 
• to the eldest son when her husband dies. 

4 virtues: 
• skill with her hands, 
• agreeable appearance, 
• prudence in speech, 
• exemplary conduct. 

Under the old custom, a young girl is expected to keep her virginity until she gets married, and to marry only once. 

According to the principle of Confucianism there are 5 Concepts of Democracy in Mencius
• the state belongs to everyone; 
• the leaders must respect the people's desires: love what the people love, and hate what the people hate. 
• First, the people, then, the state, and the king is negligible. 
• A scholar ranks highest, followed by the farmer, the artisan and the merchant. 
Caodaism 
Ngoâ Vaên Chieâu, who was also known as a religious man, was formerly an administrative official in the province of Phu Quoc. He founded the religion known as Caodism, and ws a great believer in spiritualism. 
This religion only received its true form around 1925, when a Colonial Counsellor called Le Van Trung revised the whole basis of Caodism and so the Cao Dai religion came into being a year later in 1926.

• Cao: Supreme 
• Dai: Palace 

Cao Dai: Supreme Palace and refers to the following: In the supreme palace, resides the Almighty Sovereign who is the Master and the Father of Humanity. 

Cao Dai is a cocktail of religions, and includes Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Christianity as well as other elements. A raven is supposed to have appeared way back in 1926 and wrote the following text in the sand:
"I am the Supreme Sovereign; the oldest of the Buddhas, it is I; I am also Sakyamuni; I am Jesus Christ; I now take the name of Cao Dai to teach a new religion." 
Caodaism preaches: faith in one God, and the recognition of the soul and its existence and many reincarnations, Caodism also preaches the consequences of death and of human effort controlled by the Law of Karma. Respect for the dead, the culture of the family, love of good and justice as well as the practice of virtue. Its saints include: Dr. Sun-Yat-Sen, the Vietnamese prophet Trang Trinh, Victor Hugo, and even Sir Winston Churchill. 
Like Catholicism there is a Holy See of Caodaism, which can be found in Tay-Ninh in the south which is at the foot of Black Lady mountain. Caodaism has a total of about 2 million believerswho live in south Vietnam, more can be found abroad as well. 

The Hoa Hao caodaism
In the village of Hoa Hao some time in the 30's of the last century a religion originated based on Buddhism. It states simplicity and the abolishment of all that which is superfluous such as temples and rituals. People should communicate directly with God. Huynh Phu So, was born in 1919 at Hoa Hao village, the only child of a well educated family. He became the driving force behind this new religion. He was always ill as a child but had a great appetite for books. He was taken into care by a holy man, Huynh Cong Bo, who was also known as Thay Xom. Thay was a follower of the teachings of Buddhism and the well-known philosopher, Nguyen Van Quyen, who was a teacher of Buddhism. Huynh Phu Son's eloquence soon earned him a name and many people started following him. There are now 2.5 million Vietnamese who adhere to Hoa Hao.

There are four major aspects to Hoa Hao:
• honour your parents 
• love your Country 
• respect the teachings of Buddhism 
• love your neighbour 

You see, therefore, that Vietnamese religion is rich in diversity and yet allows a great deal of differing ideas, mutual respect seems to be the guiding principle. Young people, especially in the cities are opening more and more to ideas and beliefs coming from abroad which is a pity since here in Vietnam one is free to express one's ideas freely and there is no monotheism or strict confinements in which you have to remain. Like our many Western beliefs.

Religion

Vietnamese Religions 
vietnam religion
Tolerance for different beliefs is a key feature in Vietnamese religions. There is no definite national religion, and in the Constitution it is stated that everyone has complete freedom to choose the religion he or she fancies. Therefore, you will find, on your visit to Vietnam, that there is a whole scala of religions there that are practiced. The Confucian, the Taoist, the Buddhist, or all three in one, the Hoa Hao Buddhist, the Cao-Dai, the Catholic, the Protestant, the Ancestor worshipper, the Animist; all are living side by side here in Vietnam without fear to practice what they feel is their belief without restriction. 



The altar 
The candle is a symbol for the unity of the soul in the main religion which is a mix of the following: Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. On the altar of a Vietnamese (at home) aloe wood is burned, children and grand children invite their ancestors home to enjoy the offerings laid out before them. The incense smoke rising to the heavens symbolizes communication with ancestors. (burning incense is to remember people of times past). There is a tray with five fruits which symbolizes that life is like the seasons and it brings forth life. There is also a flower vase on the ancestors' altar, the flowers of which are perfumed and rises to the ancestors. Very popular flowers are the likes of lotus or lilies. There are other objects as well which are also offerred to ancestors.

Ancestor Worship 
Confucianism is the source of ancestor worship, confucianism states that the soul of the deceased stays with the family to look after them. In each strata of Vietnamese society, worship takes place, princes and kings worshipped their ancestors who were most likely also rulers and so forth all the way to the peasant in the field. The eldest son is, of course, responsible for this aspect of ceremonies throughout the year. Times and dates of births and deaths are very important in this religion. The responsibility falls upon the eldest son to take care of the various anniversaries during the year. For this, he receives income from a number of rice fields. Each family will keep a register in which all dates and times are entered pertaining to the family. Offerings reflect the wealth of the family and you will see that a rich family may even offer buffalo to their ancestors each year. A huge amount of the population are ancestor worshippers, probably over 50m people. "Like the nature has its sources, so has a family and therefore, we must honour our relatives" is what you hear in Vietnam. Once upon a time, you could only find Buddhism in Vietnam, but now Confucianism and Taoism is mixed with Buddhism. Confucianism came with the Chinese in the 15th century.

This mixture of influences is known as Nho-Thích-Laõo 
• Nho: Confucianism 
• Thich: Buddhism, 
• Lao: Tao-Tze. 
These three influences, together with ancestor worship and Hoa Hao is practised by many Vietnamese. One does not shut the others out.
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