The story of how Theravada Buddhism came to be adopted among urban Kinh communities in southern Vietnam challenges how scholars narrate Buddhist history. Focusing on the transformation of a single liturgical text—a chant, originally in the Pali language, to invite a monk to give a sermon—as it circulates across Thailand and Cambodia before its eventual translation from Khmer into Vietnamese in the mid-twentieth century, this essay reveals how chants grow as they circulate, how Theravada liturgies unsettle distinctions between classical and vernacular languages, and how ritual and ideological necessities shape translation in new cultural contexts.

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