Dao Hoa Hao (also Hoahaoism) is a religious tradition, based on Buddhism, founded in 1939 by Hu?nh Phú S? (Popularly called "Buddha Master" in Vietnamese), a native of the Mekong River Delta region of southern Vietnam. Adherents consider S? to be a prophet, and Hòa H?o a continuation of a 19th-century Buddhist ministry known as B?u S?n K? Hng (Sino-Vietnamese). The founders of these traditions are regarded by Hòa H?o followers as living Buddhas—destined to save mankind from suffering and to protect the Vietnamese nation. Hòa H?o claims approximately two million followers throughout Vietnam; in some provinces near its Delta birthplace, as many as 90 percent of the population practice this tradition. An important characteristic of this movement is its emphasis on peasant farmers, exemplified by the old slogan, "Practicing Buddhism While Farming Your Land". Hòa H?o stresses the practice of Buddhism by lay people in the home, rather than focusing primarily on temple worship and ordination. Aid to the poor is favored over pagoda-building or expensive rituals; religious and social ceremonies are ideally simple and modest, and are not to include the food offerings, divination services, and elaborate wedding and funeral customs found in some manifestations of Southeast Asian life. These are viewed as a waste of money which would be better spent helping the needy.
In Hoa Hao homes, a plain brown cloth serves as an altar, at which the family prays morning and night. Separate al . . . more