This essay explores the interconnections between Hòa Hảo religious practices, charity, and reconciliation of ethnic and political conflicts in the contemporary Vietnam-Cambodia borderland by looking at the relationship between Hòa Hảo traditional healers and patients of Kinh and Khmer backgrounds, Cambodian nationals, and retired Vietnamese communist cadres. It argues that the healing practices in a frontier Hòa Hảo herbal clinic have been inclusive and have involved the participation of diverse groups with whom the practitioners were formerly in conflict. The essay shows how the Hòa Hảo continue to build social solidarity in a pluralist borderland region with a more ethnically diverse set of relationships than has been previously recognized.
The Great Unity: Hòa Hảo Buddhist Charity and Social Solidarity in the Borderland
Vo Duy Thanh is a researcher and lecturer at the Research Center for Rural Development, An Giang University, Vietnam National University, Hồ Chí Minh City. This article is based on a chapter from his PhD dissertation conducted at Australian National University. This research was financially supported by the Australia Awards Scholarships. He is grateful for all the Hòa Hảo Buddhist interlocutors who shared their personal stories and perspectives on Hòa Hảo charitable practices. He also acknowledges Professor Philip Taylor and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of this essay.
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Vo Duy Thanh; The Great Unity: Hòa Hảo Buddhist Charity and Social Solidarity in the Borderland. Journal of Vietnamese Studies 1 November 2022; 17 (4): 18–54. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/vs.2022.17.4.18
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