Introduction of English into Buddhist Schools of Vietnam: Problems and Its Solutions

Ven. Phan Anh Duoc


  1. I.                    INTRODUCTION

        Buddhism in Vietnam is predominantly of the Mahayana form; the Theravada tradition is well recognized and is experiencing a growing interest especially in the practice of meditation since 1920.

Buddhist entered Vietnam in two significant waves. The first was a missionary wave of Mahayana scholars from India in the first century CE. From olden days, the South China Sea border, known as Indochina, had commercial links with India and it was a popular place visited by many Indian Buddhist missionary monks on their way to China. By the end of the 2nd century, Vietnam developed a major Buddhist center, called Luy-Lau center. A number of Mahayana sutras and the Agamas were translated into Chinese script at that center. The second wave of Buddhist thought occurred about two hundred years later when Theravada was introduced in the region. Both of these schools of Buddhist thought co-existed throughout Vietnam. In the 6th and 7th century Mahayana flourished, and century reached to the peak in the 12th.

When Vietnam was established as an independent state in 939 at the fall of the T'ang dynasty, it was the Buddhist monks who, being the sole true holders of knowledge, helped the first dynasties to consolidate their power. Under the earlier Le and Ly dynasties, Vietnamese literature was constituted a great deal of learned poetry and of Buddhist inspiration composed by monks.

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