Hòa Hảo Buddhism and the NLF

29 Tháng Mười 201312:00 SA(Xem: 203)
Hòa Hảo Buddhism and the NLF

Since its inception in 1960, the pro-Communist National Liberation Front alleged that it included representatives of the Hòa Hảo congregation as well as Caodaist and Bình Xuyên representatives. However, the Front never revealed the name of any alleged Hòa Hảo representatives. If the Hòa Hảo community had been represented in the Front then these representatives must have surfaced after 1975, but it did not happen.

It has been also argued that the Hòa Hảo congregation was represented in the Front by Huỳnh Văn Trí, also known as Mười Trí. Huỳnh Văn Trí identified himself as Sư (Monk) Thúc and alleged that he had been closely associated with Huỳnh Phú Sổ.

However, it was not the case. In fact, Mười Trí was a Bình Xuyên military commander and in 1946, his unit was based nearby Hòa Hảo forces in the Eastern provinces. Mười Trí happened to meet the Founder of Hòa Hảo Buddhism due to the good relations between the Hòa Hảo and the Bình Xuyên forces at this time.

In 1948, the Bình Xuyên leader Lê Văn Viễn allied with the government of Nguyễn Văn Xuân, but Mười Trí opposed the move and remained in the maquis. In the wake of the 1954 Geneva Agreements, Mười Trí was recruited to the North along with other Việt Minh troops.

Following the creation of the National Liberation Front, Mười Trí surfaced in the South. However, he did not assume any important position within the Front. In fact, Mười Trí became a liason officer between the Hòa Hảo and Cao Đài communities.

It should be pointed out that Mười Trí alleged he had been a named “younger brother” of the Founder of Hòa Hảo Buddhism. It was a widespread practice of naming “younger brothers” among members of Chinese secret societies or martial art groups. However, the Hòa Hảo Buddhist community was neither a secret society nor a martial art group but a religious congregation. Hòa Hảo followers do not recognize a transfer of religious authority in any form, therefore, Mười Trís claims of his alleged close association with Huỳnh Phú Sổ were rejected by the faithful. Mười Trís attempts to enroll the Hòa Hảo followers failed because nobody recognized Huỳnh Văn Trí as a member of the Hòa Hảo congregation.

Although the Hòa Hảo Buddhist community was subject to discrimination and oppression by the government of Ngô Đình Diệm, Hòa Hảo followers never relied on the Việt Cộng in order to oppose the authorities. Even Diệms propaganda and secret police never accused the Hòa Hảo congregation of such collaboration.
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