Contemporary Research on Vietnamese Buddhism

Full panel title

Contemporary Research on Vietnamese Buddhism


Alexander Soucy (Saint Mary’s University)

Date and time

12 August, 16:00 – 17:30


Room 23


  • ‘My White Ashes Will Fill the Hole Left by Injustice’: The Buddhist Heritage of Thích Quang Duc
    Elise DeVido (Duke Kunshan University)
  • The Mixing Beliefs in Contemporary Vietnamese Buddhism: A Case Study of Earth God, God of Wealth and Maitreya – God of Wealth
    Hai Dinh (National University, Vietnam)
  • Venerating Ho Chí Minh in a Vietnamese Buddhist Pagoda in Post-Socialist Poland
    Gertrud Huewelmeier (Humboldt University Berlin)
  • Thích Thiên Ân and the Presentation of Vietnamese Zen to the West
    Alexander Soucy (Saint Mary’s University)

Panel abstract

Buddhism has been the object of study since the mid-nineteenth century. However, there have been significant biases from the beginning, and many of these have persisted. One bias has been a favouring of text over practice, while another has been the favouring of some countries and cultures over others. The biases are rooted in colonial discourses, Victorian interests and Christian biases in the study of religions in general. Buddhism in Vietnamese is not primarily a textual tradition, so has not produced a large corpus of Buddhist treatise. It has not been primarily organised into schools and has tended to be more syncretic, which has led it to be dismissed as “not really Buddhism”. The result is that Vietnamese Buddhism has been largely ignored in favour of studies of Buddhism in India, China, Tibet and Japan.

The papers in this panel will seek to address this imbalance by looking at Vietnamese Buddhism in all its dimensions. It will include papers from a full range of disciplines in order to explore the complexities of Vietnamese Buddhism in the past and today. Vietnamese Buddhism, since the 1960s, has become globalised and transnational. The papers in this panel will therefore reflect this by looking at Vietnamese Buddhism both in its homeland as well as overseas, practiced by ethnic Vietnamese as well as by Westerners following Vietnamese teachers. The result will be a fuller understanding of Vietnamese Buddhism and bring together some of the main scholars working on Vietnamese Buddhism.