Prominent Adepts of Bửu Sơn Kỳ Hương

29 Tháng Mười 201312:00 SA(Xem: 358)
Prominent Adepts of Bửu Sơn Kỳ Hương

According to the Bửu Sơn Kỳ Hương tradition, Tây An had twelve prominent adepts, of whom the most famous were Trần Văn Thành and Nguyễn Văn Thới. Apart from them, the unwritten tradition also mentioned a number of influential adepts, including Đạo Sang, Đạo Thạch, Đạo Sĩ, Đạo Thắng, Đạo Chợ, and Đạo Đọt. Yet no documentation relative to their activities have remained so far.

Tây Ans twelve prominent adepts included Trần Văn Thành, also known as Cố Quản or Đạo Lành (d.1873); Tăng Chủ Bộ Bùi (true name unknown – d.1907); Bùi Văn Tây, or Đình Tây (1802-1890); Nguyễn Văn Xuyến, or Đạo Xuyến (1834-1914); Đặng Văn Ngoạn, or Đạo Ngoạn (1820-1890); Phạm Thái Chung, or Đạo Lập (d.1877); Đạo Lãnh (true name unknown - d.1856); Trần Văn Nhu, or Hai Nhu (1847-1914); and Nguyễn Văn Thới, or Ba Thới (1866-1927).

Trần Văn Thành was born in Bình Thạnh Đông village, An Lương district, Châu Đốc province in a family of wealthy landowners. He was given a mainstream Confucian education. Subsequently, he served as an imperial official with Chánh Quản Cơ rank during the rule of Emperors Thiệu Trị and Tự Đức. After meeting with Tây An, Trần Văn Thành reportedly relinquished all his properties to his relatives and adhered to the Bửu Sơn Kỳ Hương movement.

In the aftermath of Tây Ans death, Trần Văn Thành acquired a considerable moral authority among the faithful. He set up the Bửu Hương Các agricultural settlement in Láng Linh area of Châu Đốc province. Subsequently, Trần Văn Thành launched the Bảy Thừa settlement, which long served as a hub of anti-French resistance. However, the Bảy Thừa community was eventually destroyed by French troops.

Moreover, Trần Văn Thành reportedly sent a mission to Thailand in an attempt to purchase modern rifles, yet his plan failed to materialize. Nonetheless, in 1872 his troops, known as Binh Gia Nghi, attacked French outposts in Tịnh Biên, An Giang and Đông Xuyên. Trần Văn Thành failed to dislodge the French garrisons and withdrew to his remote hideouts so as to go ahead with guerrilla-style operations. However, the Binh Gia Nghi resistance did not last. In February 1873, French troops attacked Bảy Thừa from several directions and demolished the settlements. Most of the rebels were either killed or captured. In the aftermath of the battle, Trần Văn Thành was not accounted for and remained missing in action. His 18-year-old son Trần Văn Chái was arrested and detained in An Giang jail. Cháis mother managed to smuggle a small knife to him along with a letter, which said that it was better to die than live in captivity. Following the unshakable patriotic feeling of his parents, Chái committed suicide.

Nguyễn Văn Thới, or Ba Thới was born Mỹ Trà village, Cao Lãnh district, Sa Đéc province in 1866. In 1906 he moved to Thới Sơn settlement near Sam Mountain, where he met up with Trần Văn Thànhs son Trần Văn Nhu. Subsequently, Nguyễn Văn Thới and his family moved to Bửu Hương Tự settlement. In 1913 French troops destroyed the settlements and he moved to Kiến An community in Long Xuyên province. Nguyễn Văn Thới is largely known as the author of Kim Cổ Kỳ Quan book in nine parts, which explained the Bửu Sơn Kỳ Hương doctrines in a simple language.
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