Scientific conference “Beliefs and State management of beliefs in Vietnam today”
11/10/2017 12:52' Send story Print story

The conference was a forum for scientists and managers to exchange knowledge and research on theories and practices of beliefs and the State management of beliefs in Vietnam which aimed at serving education in religious studies and work of the institute.

Attandees of the event were scientists of the Academy and of other institutions; leaders of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, the Central Commission for Mass Mobilization, the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, and provincial departments. 30 presentations and comments given in the conference focused on three major topics:

The first topic was on theoretical issues related to beliefs and on beliefs in Vietnam. Presentations and comments provided basic characteristics of Vietnamese beliefs, their impacts on Vietnamese political life, their role in Vietnamese social life today, and the issue of cultural creativity for various traditional forms of beliefs. Besides, they placed an emphasis on clarifying a number of terms, such as “beliefs”, “traditional beliefs” in a comparison with the term “religions”.

The second topic was on some typical kinds of beliefs and changes in practicing beliefs in Vietnam today. Conference participants introduced typical kinds of beliefs such as worship of Four Natural Gods (Cloud-Rain-Thunder-Bolt), the Fish God, the Little Door God, beliefs of Chinese Vietnamese people, Cham people, Mong people, and Ca Dong people. Moreover, they analyzed changes in having a faith and practicing beliefs today, which have been shown in several kinds of beliefs including hầu đồng (known as “to mount to the medium” or “going into trance”, a ritual practiced in Vietnamese folk religion and the Mother Goddness religion, in which followers become spirit mediums for various deities, receiving incarnations of the deities); the cult of Thành Hoàng (the village guardian deities); Thăng Long tứ trấn (worship of the ancient Thang Long’s four guardian gods temples located at the four entrances to the capital city of Hanoi in four directions); Thần Tài (God of Wealth); cúng Hậu (infertile or childless people donate money and land to communal houses or pagodas so that they would be worshipped by the whole village after their death). Conference participants also discussed reasons for changes in today’s religious life by analyzing the development of a kind of belief, in an area or among a group of people; arguing positive and negative aspects of religious life in our country today.

The third topic was on the situation and issues related to the State management of beliefs in Vietnam today. Presentations and comments gave analysis on international documents, which could be used as reference and properly applied to the actual conditions of Vietnam in the field of preservation of religious relics and religious activities. Moreover, attendees had discussions about experiences of countries and territories in East Asia and of Vietnamese feudal states with regard to the State management of beliefs. They also highlighted regulations of current laws on the State management of beliefs, indicating worrying problems concerning the State management of beliefs today, and proposing recommendations and solutions to the State management of beliefs in Vietnam in years to come.

An overview of the conference.

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News, Photo: Le Tam Dac - Bui Minh Ha, The Institute of Religion and Belief

Translator: Vu Lan Dung/ Proofreader: Dr Le Xuan Tung