The Coconut Religion is a religion founded by Ông Đạo Dừa in Ben Tre, South Vietnam. It was one of many religions in the South until communist authorities abolished it in 1975. Dao Dua advocated religious harmony, synthesizing many religions, especially Buddhism and Christianity. The Coconut Religion is not currently recognized as a religion by the Vietnamese government.

The floating temple of the Coconut Religion, photographed in 1969

History edit

The Coconut Religion was founded in 1963 by Vietnamese mystic and scholar Nguyễn Thành Nam,[1] also known as the Coconut Monk,[2][3] His Coconutship,[4] Prophet of Concord,[4] and Uncle Hai[4] (1909 – 1990[5]). Nam, who attended a French university,[1] established a floating pagoda[4] in the southern Vietnamese "Coconut Kingdom", in the province of Bến Tre.[1] It is alleged that Nam consumed only coconuts for three years;[5] for that period he also practiced meditation on a small pavement made from stone.[6] Nam was a candidate for the 1971 South Vietnamese presidential election but he would dropout after being afraid that he would be arrested and returned to his "Coconut Kingdom".[1] Despite his eccentric behaviour, the government of Saigon respected him and called Nam a "man of religion".[7] He usually sported a crucifix around his neck and dressed in traditional Buddhist robes.[8]

Estimates of followers of the religion worldwide were 4,000 at its highest. One notable follower was John Steinbeck IV, the son of American novelist John Steinbeck.[1] The religion was deemed a "cult" and was promptly banned in 1975 by communist officials.[1]

The Coconut Monk died in unexplained circumstances in 1990,[9] marking the demise of the cult.[citation needed] The Coconut Estate is now serving as a tourist attraction along the My Tho Mekong Delta Tour.[clarification needed]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Coconut religion". Vinhthong. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  2. ^ Pillow, Tracy (2004). Bringing Our Angel Home. iUniverse. p. 106. ISBN 9781469714011.
  3. ^ Ehrhart, William Daniel (1987). Going back: an ex-marine returns to Vietnam. McFarland. ISBN 9780899502786.
  4. ^ a b c d Vu Trinh (1974). "The Coconut Monk". Vietspring. Archived from the original on 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  5. ^ a b Dodd, Jan (2003). The Rough guide to Vietnam (4 ed.). Rough Guides. p. 142. ISBN 9781843530954.
  6. ^ Hoskin, John; Howland, Carol (2006). Vietnam (4 ed.). New Holland Publishers. p. 115. ISBN 9781845375515.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Ellithorpe, Harold (1970). "South Vietnam: The Coconut Monk". Far Eastern Economic Review. p. 15.
  8. ^ "THE OTHER SIDE OF EDEN: LIFE WITH JOHN STEINBECK". American Buddha. Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  9. ^ Laurance, Robin (2019-07-01). Coconut: How the Shy Fruit Shaped our World. History Press. ISBN 978-0-7509-9273-2.