Vietnamese Supernaturalism: Views from the Southern Region

Front Cover
Psychology Press, 2003 - History - 300 pages
Popular religion in southern Vietnam is so often regarded as an indefinable mix of many different beliefs, meanings and symbols with little pattern of explanation. In contrast, this book highlights that the beliefs of the Vietnamese can be catagorized into four distinct, yet overlapping, spheres and that the varying attitudes which exist towards the spirit world are a direct result of unique historical and environmental circumstances.

Vietnamese Supernaturalismexamines a wide range of religious customs, from trancer possession practices to styles of self-cultivation, against several different backgrounds including, migration settlement and the effect of colonialism. Despite the ostensible differences within the practices of 'popular religion', Thien Do controversially demonstrates two consistent similarities: an abiding interest in the altered state of consciousness and the daily acts of survival employed in order to evade identity construction.

By brining together oral histories, reports and fiction writing alongside more conventional documented sources, this book reveals an area of history which has been largely neglected. It will prove to be a valuable resource to students of Asian studies, anthropology and all of those with an interest in the history of Vietnam.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 The đ́nh
19
2 Platform for the Immortals
63
3 Trance and shadows
90
4 Selfcultivation
132
5 Daoists from the Mountain
165
Conclusion
207
Appendices
211
Notes
228
Bibliography
278
Index
294
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