Ancestor worship, the worship of spirits and respect of the lunar calendar are the three pillars of the spiritual life of Vietnamese.
Ancestor worship can be part of the living continuity of those they worship and mark belonging to the same clan. Venerating ancestors, family members express their respect, their attachment and gratitude.
The Vietnamese believe that the souls of ancestors is always present to protect her offspring. To ask a favor such as passing an exam, project or cure of a patient, we will go to the ancestors by burning incense sticks.
Worship of Genius
Each house has an ancestral altar to house photograpVietnamese people believe the genius can protect them against evils and bring them good luck. Each village has one or more Gods, housed in temples dedicated to them. The Gods can be supernatural beings or important people of Vietnam such as the fathers of the land or national heroes who have made miraculous feats in the founding of the country and fight against foreign aggressors. In addition, the Vietnamese worship the genius of the kitchen, the spirits of the wind, the harvest, marriage, etc. In a corner of all commercial places, there is also an altar dedicated to the worship of geniuses of luck and success.
Confucianism is a value system created by Confucius, a great Chinese ancient scholar. Actually, it is a set of norms which seek to bring harmony to the lives of people in communities such as a family, a village or a state. It is arguably a type of humanism aimed at social ethics rather than spiritual matters such as life after death.
More than a mere set of rules for daily living, it also recognizes behavioral right or wrong and associates these norms with a moral order in a way that a religion approaches. Confucianism places great stress on the value of harmony through mutual responsibilities, codes of conduct both in family and life.
Parents should protect and teach their children while children should learn and obey the elders. Older siblings should set good example for younger ones to follow.
Friends should be able to depend on each other throughout life. Husbands should love and provide for their wives and wives should obey their husbands. Every one should respect the King who protects the people.
Buddhism appeared in Vietnam in the second century after Confucianism and Taoism. It reached its zenith and was considered the official ideology under the Ly Dynasty (eleventh century). Buddhism has spread widely among the population and has had a profound influence on social life. Now, practitioners of Buddhism and those who are affected approximately 70% of the population.
Buddhist thoughts focus on pursuit of harmony and unification in oneself and with others through the idea of reconciliation and the concept of one mind. By practicing meditation and chanting, one will attain enlightenment, the state of “floating like clouds and flowing like water”. (Alant Watts, 1995, p.83).
The ultimate goal of Buddhism is very humanistic. It is about finding the Buddhahood, which exists in one’s purely faithful mind and awaken by grasping Buddha teachings of wisdom, compassion as well as equality and peace. Buddhism is now being strongly urged to once again articulate a fresh philosophical ideology or way of practice applicable to modern life.
That is law of causes and effects “ as you sow, so shall you reap”. Buddhism has offered deep insights into sufferings to transform and increase happiness in life.
Vietnam is the second largest Christian country in Southeast Asia, after the Philippines. Catholic followers are currently concentrated in Bui Chu – Phu Nhai (Nam Dinh), Phat Diem (Ninh Binh) and Ho Nai-Bien Hoa (Dong Nai province). They represent about 10% of the population.
The Cao Dai religion is quite popular in Vietnam. This is a local belief – born in the South in the 1920s – and based on Western and Eastern philosophies, some of which are borrowed from spiritualism. The Temple of Cao Dai Tay Ninh is the symbol of the Caodaism in Vietnam.
Taoism refers to a variety of related philosophical and religious traditions and concepts. These thoughts have influenced East Asian region for over two thousands years and to some extent spread around the world. Taoism was probably introduced in Vietnam in the first century AD.
Tao can be roughly translated as the flow of the universe or the force behind the natural order. Tao is believed to be the influence that keeps the universe balanced and ordered. It embodies the harmony of opposites through the explanation of “yin” and “yang”.
This is a well-known symbol of Tao, representing the balances in the universe.