The Coconut Religion (Vietnamese: Đạo Dừa or Hòa đồng Tôn giáo) is a Vietnamese 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 the Vietnamese authorities in 1975. At its peak, the religion had some 4,000 followers. However, the Coconut religion is now practiced by a very small minority in Bến Tre Province.
Life of the Coconut Monk
The Coconut Religion was founded in 1963 by Vietnamese scholar Nguyễn Thành Nam, also known as the Coconut Monk, His Coconutship, Prophet of Concord, and Uncle Hai (1909 – 1990). Nam, who attended a French university, established a floating pagoda in the southern Vietnamese "Coconut Kingdom", in the province of Bến Tre. It is alleged that Nam consumed only coconuts for three years; for that period he also practiced meditation on a small pavement made from stone. Nam was a candidate for the 1971 South Vietnam presidency election; he lost and returned to his "Coconut Kingdom". Despite his eccentric behaviour, the government of Saigon respected him and called Nam a "man of religion". He usually sported a crucifix around his neck and dressed in traditional Buddhist robes.
Demographics and development
Estimates of followers of the religion worldwide were 4,000 at its highest. One notable follower was John Steinbeck IV, the son of American novelist John Steinbeck. The religion was deemed a "cult" and was promptly banned in 1975 by Vietnamese officials.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Coconut Religion.|
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