Vietnamese Supernaturalism: Views from the southern region (Do Thien 2003)

Do Thien 2003
Popular religion in southern Vietnam is 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 categorized 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 Supernaturalism examines 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 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.

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