Pagodas, Gods and Spirits of Vietnam

Pagodas, Gods and Spirits of Vietnam

Book - 1997
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Norton Pub
This book reveals through text and illustrations the extraordinarily varied and prolific religions of Vietnam. Despite decades of government discouragement of all religion, the deeply anchored faiths of the Vietnamese people have continued to flourish, and indeed to increase their hold on believers. Everywhere between the Red River in the north and the Mekong Delta in the south, sacrificial offerings are heaped upon altars, hundreds of thousands of the faithful stream again on pilgrimages, and there is a regular increase in the request- and thanksgiving-rites in the chuas, dinhs, and dens, the pagodas, village ceremony halls, and hero temples all over the land. In most guide books, Vietnam is described as a Buddhist country; but in contrast to their neighbors in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, the Vietnamese follow a Buddhism that is far from pure. The faith and its teachings were taken over from India about 2,000 years ago, but Vietnamese Buddhism was mingled with more ancient indigenous ancestor cults and spirit beliefs suitable to local customs and needs. Other strains were also absorbed: elements of Hinduism as well as the teachings of Confucius and Taoism. The text by Ann Unger admirably explains this complex situation and shows how the great number of beautiful, serene religious buildings throughout the country reflect the multiple strands of the country's religious fabric. Walter Unger's arresting photographs document the architectural splendor of the buildings as well as the worshipers in a ground-breaking reportage of a country that for so long has been hidden from the rest of the world.

Publisher: London ; New York : Thames and Hudson, 1997
ISBN: 9780500018033
Characteristics: 197 p. : col. ill., col. map ; 30 cm
Additional Contributors: Unger, Walter


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