Coconut Religion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The floating pagoda of the Coconut Religion, photographed in 1969

The Coconut Religion (Vietnamese: Đạo Dừa or Hòa đồng Tôn giáo)[1] is a now-discontinued religion indigenous to southern Vietnam's "Coconut Kingdom", where it was founded in 1963. The religion is largely based on some Buddhist and Christian beliefs, alongside the teachings of founder Nguyễn Thành Nam, a Vietnamese scholar. The religion was abolished by Vietnamese authorities in 1975. At its peak, the religion had some 4,000 followers.

Practice[edit]

The Coconut Religion advocates consuming only coconuts and drinking only coconut milk.[2] Monks of the religion were permitted to wed up to nine wives.[3]

History[edit]

Life of the Coconut Monk[edit]

The Coconut Religion was founded in 1963 by Vietnamese scholar Nguyễn Thành Nam,[2] also known as the Coconut Monk,[4][5] His Coconutship,[6] Prophet of Concord,[6] and Uncle Hai[6] (1909 – 1990[1]). Nam, who attended a French university,[2] established a floating pagoda[6] in the southern Vietnamese "Coconut Kingdom", in the province of Bến Tre.[2] It is alleged that Nam consumed only coconuts for three years;[1] for that period he also practiced meditation on a small pavement made from stone.[3] Nam was a candidate for the 1971 South Vietnam presidency election; he lost and returned to his "Coconut Kingdom".[2] Despite his eccentric behaviour, the government of Saigon respected him and called Nam a "man of religion".[7] He usually sported a crucifix around his neck and dressed in traditional Buddhist robes.[8]

Demographics and development[edit]

Estimates of followers of the religion worldwide were 4,000 at its highest. One notable follower was the son of American novelist John Steinbeck.[2] The religion was deemed a "cult" and was promptly banned in 1975 by Vietnamese officials.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Dodd, Jan (2003). The Rough guide to Vietnam (4 ed.). Rough Guides. p. 142. ISBN 9781843530954. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Coconut religion". Vinhthong. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Hoskin, John; Howland, Carol (2006). Vietnam (4 ed.). New Holland Publishers. p. 115. ISBN 9781845375515. 
  4. ^ Pillow, Tracy (2004). Bringing Our Angel Home. iUniverse. p. 106. ISBN 9781469714011. 
  5. ^ Ehrhart, William Daniel (1987). Going back: an ex-marine returns to Vietnam. McFarland. ISBN 9780899502786. 
  6. ^ a b c d Vu Trinh (1974). "The Coconut Monk". Vietspring. 
  7. ^ Ellithorpe, Harold (1970). "South Vietnam: The Coconut Monk". Far Eastern Economic Review. p. 15. 
  8. ^ "THE OTHER SIDE OF EDEN: LIFE WITH JOHN STEINBECK". American Buddha. Retrieved May 26, 2013.