History of Buddhism in Vietnam

In Vietnamese culture there are numerous religions and local beliefs. In general our culture are mix of local beliefs and ancestor worshiping, and 3 philosophies of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Catholicism, and Islam.

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According to documents and folk tale, Buddhism was first introduced in Vietnam in 3rd century BC. It is marked by story of Chu Dong Tu and Tien Dung princess, the earliest story of Buddhism in Vietnam. The philosophy reached the prominent during Ly dynasty ( 11 - 13th century) then continue during Tran Dynasty, but the signs of decline from later Le Dynasty ( 15 century). Most of famous pagodas in Vietnam were built during Ly dynasty, even the whole members in Royal family were flowers of Buddhism.

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Buddhism was introduced first by Indian traders who practiced Buddhism when they came to trade in Vietnam. Later on there was interference among Indian, Chinese, and Vietnamese Buddhist philosophy. So that in Vietnam there are different branches of Buddhism, but you see 2 main Buddhism of Mahayana and Theravada. In the North Vietnam people practice Mahayana Buddhism while in the South they do Theravada.

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Nowadays the followers of Buddhism is over 70% of population. There are over 18,000 pagodas across Vietnam. The oldest pagoda is Dau pagoda in Bac Ninh province, the mid of Red River Delta, where the Indian monks came and preached the religion.

In Vietnam, the Buddhist day or Buddhist festival is on 8th April, Lunar Calendar. Vietnamese normally go to pray in pagoda on full moon day, and the 1st day of lunar month, or whenever they have sadness of joyfulness. We burn incense sticks and bring offerings of flower, fruits, cakes when pray in pagoda. In Mahayana pagoda there are many statues of Buddha like three lives of Buddha, Buddha at birth, Buddha enters nirvana, Amitabha Buddha, Bodhisattva, Medicine Buddha, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva....

Travel to Vietnam you are introduced to visit famous pagodas built in wonderful landscapes, and learn more about Vietnamese culture.

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