Đạo Hòa Hảo (Vietnamese: [ɗâːwˀ hwàː hâːw] (
In Hòa Hảo homes, a plain brown cloth serves as an altar, at which the family prays morning and night. Separate altars are used to honor ancestors and the sacred directions. Only fresh water, flowers, and incense are used in worship; no bells or gongs accompany prayers. A believer away from home at prayer times faces west (i.e., toward India) to pray to the Buddha. Adherents are expected to attend communal services on the 1st and 15th of each lunar month and on other Buddhist holy days.
Huỳnh Phú Sổ faced a great deal of trouble when he began to spread the ideas of his religion, a large part of which was Vietnamese nationalism, a dangerous idea in that time of French colonial rule. He was famously put in a lunatic asylum because of his preaching, but supposedly converted his doctor to the Hòa Hảo belief. As the popularity of Hòa Hảo grew, Huỳnh Phú Sổ made a series of prophecies about the political future of Vietnam. He said that the "true king" would return to lead Vietnam to freedom and prosperity, which caused most Hòa Hảo to support the Nguyễn pretender: Marquis Cường Để, living abroad in Japan.
During World War II, the Hòa Hảo supported the Japanese occupation and planned for Cường Để to become Emperor of Vietnam. However, this never happened and the Hòa Hảo came into conflict with the communists both because the Việt Minh were anti-Japanese and because of their Marxist opposition to all religion. During the State of Vietnam (1949–1955), they made arrangements with the Head of State Bảo Đại, much like those made by the Cao Đài religion and the Bình Xuyên gang, which were in control of their own affairs in return for their nominal support of the Bảo Đại regime. In fact, the control of this government by France meant that most Hòa Hảo opposed it.
When America began pushing for Ngô Đình Diệm to run South Vietnam, the most powerful groups to concern the Americans were the Cao Đài, the Bình Xuyên and the Hòa Hảo, which had formed a small private army under General Ba Cụt. O.S.S. Colonel Edward Lansdale used bribery with CIA funds to split the Hòa Hảo and in 1956 General Dương Văn Minh crushed the Hòa Hảo and General Ba Cụt was captured and beheaded in public. This was the end of the Hòa Hảo as an armed group – some later joined the Viet Cong in opposition to the Diệm regime. After Diệm was deposed and killed, the Hòa Hảo changed their emphasis from anti-Diệm to anti-Communist. During the early years of the Vietnam War in the 1960s, An Giang Province and its capital Long Xuyên were among the few places in the Mekong Delta where Viet Cong activity was minimal and American and South Vietnamese troops could move without fear of sniper attack. After the war, the Hòa Hảo were allowed to remain, but like all religions, under strict Communist control.
Although Hòa Hảo Buddhism is an officially recognized religion in Vietnam, many members refuse the forceful governmental affiliation which is entailed by official recognition and an unknown number of religious leaders have been detained for this reason. Two Hòa Hảo Buddhists self-immolated in 2005 to protest against religious persecution and more recently, after a wave of arrests of Hòa Hảo Buddhists, nine more were imprisoned in May 2007. Hòa Hảoists reportedly do not believe their founder died under torture. They surmise that he is still among the living. In 2007, the Vietnamese government had the printed prophesies of the founder seized and reprinted to a volume slightly more than half the original size. The ceremonies commemorating the birth of this prophet were outlawed. Since then, Hòa Hảo split into two factions – more and less militant.
A part of Hòa Hảo adherents migrated to the United States. The largest number of Hòa Hảo-ists live in Santa Ana, California, USA.
Hoa Hao Buddhism draws upon an earlier Buddhist millenarian movement called Bửu Sơn Kỳ Hương and reveres Đoàn Minh Huyên (Nov. 14th, 1807 - Sept 10, 1856) who started the movement as a living, healing Buddha. He is referred to as Phật Thầy Tây An or "Buddha Master of the Western Peace". However, the founder of Hoa Hao Buddhism, Huynh Phu So, also organized Hoa Hao teachings into a more structured movement focused on self-cultivation, filial piety and reverence toward the Three Treasures of Buddhism (the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha).
- Lei Hui-cui. A Preliminary Study of Hoahaoism. Department of the Vietnamese Language, School of Foreign Studies, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, China.
- "UNPO: Montagnards, Khmer Krom: Religious Intolerance Rewarded by UN". www.unpo.org. Archived from the original on 5 March 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
- Dutton, George E.; Werner, Jayne S.; Whitmore, John K., eds. (2012). Sources of Vietnamese Tradition. Columbia University Press. p. 438. ISBN 0231511108.
- Ho Tai, Hue-Tam. Millenarianism and Peasant Politics in Vietnam. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1983.
- My-Van, Tran (2003). Beneath the Japanese Umbrella: Vietnam's Hòa Hào during and after the Pacific War, Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 17 (1), 60-107
- Nguyễn Long Thành Nam. Hòa Hảo Buddhism in the Course of Việtnam's History. NY: Nova Science Publishing, 2004.
- Phạm Bích Hợp. Làng Hòa Hảo Xưa và Này (Hòa Hảo Village Past and Present) Ho Chi Minh City: Nha Xuat Ban Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, 1999.
- Taylor, Philip. "Apocalypse Now? Hòa Hảo Buddhism Emerging from the Shadows of War", The Australian Journal of Anthropology, Vol. 12, No. 3 (2001): 339-354.