Various explanations have been offered for the extraordinary popularity of the composer and singer Tr]nh Côông SKn: his poetic lyrics, his avoidance of the clichéés of prewar music, his antiwar themes, his ability to choose talented female singers, and the like. But little has been said about the Buddhist themes in his songs, perhaps because Vietnamese scholars take them for granted. This article points out these themes and argues that they help explain the Trinh Côông S Kn phenomenon. It also discusses European existentialism, which the author argues fascinated Trinh Côông S Kn but was ultimately not a major influence on his work.

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