Hoa Hao Sect

Hoa Hao, which is more bent towards traditional Buddhism, is concentrated in the Mekong Delta with a membership estimated at about two million.

This religious sect based on Buddhism founded in 1939 and to date there are around two million followers throughout Vietnam. In some provinces near its home-land, 90% of the population practices this tradition.

An important characteristic of this sect is its emphasis on peasant farmers, exemplified by the old slogan "Practicing Buddhism While Farming Your Land." Farm life is considered to be the most conducive to religious practice and self-improvement. Patriotism and willingness to defend the homeland are valued.

Hoa Hao also stresses the practice of Buddhism by lay people in the home, rather than focusing primarily on temple worship and ordination. Aid to the poor is favoured over pagoda building or expensive rituals; religious and social ceremonies are ideally simple and modest, and are not to include the food offerings, divination services, and elaborate wedding and funeral customs found in some manifestations of Southeast Asian life. These are viewed as a waste of money which would be better spent helping the needy.

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