Prophet HUYNH PHU SO, the founder of Hoa Hao Buddhism was born in 1919 at Hoa Hao village, in the south of Vietnamese province of Chau Doc, close to the Cambodian border.
The eldest son of The Venerable Huynh Cong Bo and Le Thi Nham, a well to do family known for honesty and altruism, He left school at 15 due to persistent illness affecting Him until He was 21. Then in 1939, while on a pilmigrage visit to the sacred mountains of That Son and Ta Lon, He became enlightened. The 18th day of the 5th month of the year of the Hare (1939) was when He began His evangelical mission. He achieved his first conversions by reputedly curing incurable diseases with simple means such as green leaves, pure water, to the astonishment of physician s as well as witch doctors.
At the same time He preached eloquently everywhere, and attracted large audiences including known writers, essayists and lawyers who gradually acknowledged His supernatural talents.
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 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 deliverance.
In His salvation mission, Prophet Huynh cured thousands of reputedly diseases, preached thousands of times to large audiences, published six Books of Oracle, as well as hundreds of sublime poems, essays and folk litanies. His writing, not requiring any draft, presented popular overtones but proved extremely soul stirring and impressive.
In spirit of their sublimity, His teachings showed a concern for realistic considerations, and would be suitable anywhere. Prophet Huynh 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 adjusted as they should be to the new conditions of the world. Thus Prophet Huynh was among the first to discard the futile rituals and ceremonials 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 Buddhism.
Thanks to His teachings which met the spiritual needs of the time, the Prophet succeeded in a very short time in converting about two million people, and His influence never ceased to spread.
He became so popular that the then French colonial authorities began to worry about the extraordinary expansion of His religious movement. Thus 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 Lieu.
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 predicament: ``Truong Tien returned to Han but never became a Hans 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 followers.
Following the coup detat 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 inevitably 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 which was the year 1945 was when World War II ended with Japans defeat.
In 1945, having foreseen the coming calamities on the people, thus animated by an immense compassion, He assume the responsibility of protecting the nation and saving His countrymen by founding the ``Union of Buddhist Associations and the ``Movement for Vietnam Independence.
After Japan surrendered to the Allies, Viet Nam was plunged into an unstable period. Our compatriots were afraid of becoming ``slaves to be transferred to other slavemasters. Prophet Huynh 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 foreign countries. The NUF was integrated into the Viet Minh Front, and Prophet Huynh was elected the first representative in South Viet Nam of the latter.
Following the signing by Ho Chi Minh of the modus-vivendi of March 6, 1948 with France, Prophet Huynh joined hands with other nationalist leaders 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 Peoples 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 amongst 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 Hoa Hao 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 leader.
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 Viet Nam 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 Him.
Early in 1947, Hoa Hao faithfuls in the Western provinces of South Vietnam rose up against the dictatorial policy and methods of communist committees. In order to avoid internecine bloodshed while the people had to fight a common enemy, i.e. French colonialism, Prophet Huynh 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 of Reeds.
Since then, nobody hears 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 probably His most glorious mission.
This booklet, 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 Hoa Hao Buddhism.
``I ACCEPT TO SUFFER IN YOUR PLACE Said Prophet Huynh Phu So when arrested by French Colonialist.