The Prophet HUỲNH PHÚ
Prophet HUỲNH PHÚ SƠ,
the founder of Hòa Hảo Buddhism, was born in 1919 at
Hòa Hảo Village, in the South Vietnamese province of Chau Doc, close to
The eldest son the
Venerable Huynh Cong Bo and Le Thi Nham, a well to do family known for honesty
and altruism, he left school at the age of 15 due to persistent illness
affecting Him until He was 21.
On the 18th day of the 5th month of the year of the Hare, 1939, He became
enlightened and began His evangelical mission. He began to preach
eloquently everywhere and attract large audiences including known writers,
essayists and lawyers who gradually acknowledged His supernatural talents. He
achieved his first conversions by reportedly curing incurable diseases with
simple means such as green leaves and pure water.
From 1939 on, the Prophet gave to the world a great number of oracles in which
He foretold the expansion of war as well as the spread of the sufferings,
exhorted mankind to renounce vice and come back to virtue, to observe the Four
Debts of Gratitude and improve oneself through contemplation so as to become
"good individual" in the society and progress on the path of
In His salvation mission, Prophet Huỳnh cured thousands of diseases, preached
thousands of times to large audiences, published six Books of Oracle, as well as
of sublime poems, essays and folk litanies. His writing, not requiring any
popular overtones but proved extremely soul stirring and impressive.
In spirit of their sublimity, His teachings showed a concern for realistic
would be suitable anywhere. Prophet Huỳnh was looked at as a great
revolutionary in the field of religion.
Prior to His coming,
Buddhism had been engaged in a passive path in Vietnam.
As elsewhere in the globe, its' methods were not as adjusted as they should be
to the new conditions of the world.
Prophet Huỳnh was among
the first to discard the futile rituals and ceremonies never mentioned in the
original teachings of Buddha. Furthermore, He set out to modernize the
methods of self-improvement, which remained unchanged through centuries of
Thanks to His teachings, which met the spiritual needs of the time,
Prophet Huỳnh succeeded in a very short time converting about two million
people, and His influence never ceased to spread.
He became so popular
that the French colonial authorities began to worry about the extraordinary
expansion of His religious movement. They placed Him under house arrest at
Nhon Nghia village (Can Tho), where He became more popular and adored than ever
before. Therefore, the French authorities placed Him under administrative
surveillance at Cho Quan (mental) Hospital, and later transferred Him to Bac
When Japanese troops
occupied Indochina, they forced the French authorities to transfer
Him to their Kempeitai Headquarters in Saigon. While residing under the
Japanese surveillance, He wrote a parallel-sentence to illustrate His own
returned to Han but never became a Han's subject,
lord Quan lived with Tsao but never bent his head to Tsao".
The Japanese military
hoped that through Him they could win over the sympathy of the huge mass of His
Following the coup d'etat of March 9, 1945, mounted by the Japanese occupation
forces against French colonial administration, He maintained a very reserved
attitude because He knew that Japan would inevitable be defeated.
At that time, He uttered
a very humorous saying:
"Japan will never
finish eating its chicken."
This proved to be true.
For the Lunar Year of the Rooster, 1945, was when World War II ended with
After Japan surrendered
to the Allies, Vietnam was plunged into an unstable period.
Our compatriots were afraid of becoming "slaves to be transferred to other
Prophet Huỳnh appealed
to leaders of political parties and religious groups to set up a
National Unified Front (NUF) in order to create a political position toward
The NUF was integrated into the Viet Minh Front, and Prophet Huỳnh was elected
the first representative in South Vietnam.
Following the signing by Ho Chi Minh of the modus-vivendi of March 6, 1948 with
France, Prophet Huỳnh joined hands with other nationalist to create the
"Front for National Union".
The new Front was so widely supported by the mass that the Communist showed
their teeth by dissolving it. Then, they created the Association for Vietnamese
People's Union in order to conceal the red color of international communism and
the bloody massacres by the communist in the fall of 1945.
In 1946, willing to
promote unity among all sectors of the population, He agreed to become a member
of the Administrative Committee of South Vietnam as a Special Commissioner.
In a move to save His
people from the "threat of extermination", He set out to assemble
patriots of various parties and followers of Hòa Hảo Buddhism. To that effect,
He founded the Vietnamese Democratic Socialist Party on September 21, 1946. Ever
since, He proved to be both a religious revolutionary and a great political
Even the most critical
leader of the Party manifesto and platform had to admit that He was endowed with
a most distinct and progressive mind.
At the same time, He
dispatched His trusted collaborators abroad to rally exiled patriots into a
Unified Front. The Nationalist Solution, applied later to save Vietnam from
crisis, originated from His efforts with exiled-patriots.
Because His belief and
teachings could ruin the communist they sought every possible means to suppress
Early in 1947, Hòa Hảo
faithful in the Western provinces of South Vietnam rose up against the
dictatorial policy and methods of communist committees. In order to avoid
bloodshed while the people had to fight a common enemy, i.e. French colonialism,
Prophet Huỳnh went to the Western provinces to preach moderation and calm down
His followers' anger.
But on April 16, 1947,
the communist succeeded in trapping Him in an ambush at Doc Vang, in the Plain
Since then, nobody has
heard from Him. Yet his followers firmly believe that He could not be harmed,
and they are waiting for the day when He will return to His most glorious
The Sam Giang Book that
was reprinted more than 300 times contains His fundamental teachings and is but
one of His many works. It is concise but includes all essential notions for
self-improvement according to Hòa Hảo Buddhism.
"I ACCEPT TO SUFFER
IN YOUR PLACE",
said Prophet Huỳnh Phú
Sổ when arrested by the French Colonialist.