Buddhism in Vietnam through thoudsand years: It's more than a religion
Buddhism in Vietnam cover

Buddhism in Vietnam through thoudsand years: It’s more than a religion

There are four primary religions and philosophies that shape the spiritual life of the Vietnamese people. They are Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, and Buddhism. Among which, Buddhism in Vietnam is so popular that it’s about half of the country practice in this religion.

buddhism in vietnam cover

Millions of people follow Buddhism in Vietnam – Images: chuathienminh.net.

The formation of Vietnam Buddhism

They found lots of evidence that Buddhism was harmoniously introduced in Vietnam at the end of the 2nd century A.D. Through the trading route on land with the Chinese and on the water with the Indian, the foreign businessmen brought the Buddhism into the S-shaped country.

india china

The Indian and Chinese came for trading and worship Buddhism in Vietnam thousands of years ago – Image: Oriental Institue.

It’s likely that more than half the country practices Buddhism, a religion focused on enlightenment. More than 60 percent of Vietnamese people practice some form of Buddhism, and both of its two main schools – Mahayana and Theravada.

The Buddhism fluctuation in Vietnam

Over 200 years, Buddhism in Vietnam has been experienced many ups and downs. In the Ly dynasty (1009 – 1225) and Tran dynasty (1225 – 1440), Buddhism was greatly developed and became the national religion. At that time, the way the Vietnamese lived and thought followed what Buddhism spread. In Later Le dynasty (1428 – 1788) and Nguyen dynasty (1802 – 1945), Buddhism fell into a recession.

Ba Danh Pagoda

Mrs. Danh Pagoda, one of the most famous pagodas built in the early of Buddhism in Vietnam – Image: baodulich.net.vn.

When Vietnam became the colony of France, Buddhism was more and more decadent that all the purest and most superior have gone. All the Buddhism in Vietnam left was only the religion of adoring Buddha and the main task was worshiping.

However, in the first decades of the 20th century, there was a Buddist Restoration Movement in the world. Due to the influence of it, Buddhism also transformed itself. It started from the Southern cities and the Central region with the huge contributions of the monks in Khanh Hoa and Thien Chieu. In 1981, nine Buddhist organizations throughout the country held a congress, unifying to be one and took the name “Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam”.

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A yearly congress of Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam – Image: thoidai.com.vn.

Buddhism is more than a religion to Vietnamese people

In the social and political fields, Buddhism in Vietnam directly or indirectly contributes to forming a lifestyle and living standard. Their belief positively affects their behavior and way of thinking.

Buddhism always teaches people not only be a good son/daughter of their parents but also to think for everyone around them. Vietnamese people think that their present lives are the results of their past lives so that they need to try their best to make their later lives get better, which called Karma. This is exactly what makes the religious Buddhists so patient, spiritual and tolerant.

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Ghost Festival, a festival for parents belonging to Buddhism in Vietnam – Image: sao360.vn.

>> If you want to experience the local culture, plan to join these Danang Buddhist festivals.

Thanks to the early introduction of Buddhism in this S-shaped country, Vietnamese people formed the habit of helping others. That’s the reason why Vietnam is one of the friendliest countries in the world along with Thailand, “Land of Buddhism”.

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Quan The Am Festival, the biggest festival of Buddhism in Vietnam.

Buddhism is also popular that every year, there are many Buddhist festivals along with this South East Asia country. Moreover, Quan The Am Festival in Danang is in the top 15 largest festivals in Vietnam. Recently, many organizations and individuals are donating to build and rebuild pagodas, temples. In addition to the spiritual meaning, those also are landscapes that attract many tourists.

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The biggest pagoda in Vietnam, Bai Dinh Pagoda is also a tourist attraction – Image: Ninhbinhtravel.net.

Buddhism in Vietnam not only exists in mindset but also presents through the effort of millions of followers to develop the nation. The Vietnamese who live miles away from home also build their own pagoda to remind them about their source.


Buddhism has accompanied with the nation suffering many ups and downs. As a result, it became an irreplaceable part of the Vietnamese spiritual life. More than a religion it is the matter of lifestyle for more than 11 million people.