Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Influences Of Buddhism & Taoism In Vietnamese Magic

Vietnamese magic is very much influenced by Mahayana Buddhism especially the Pure Land School (凈土宗) and Taoist magic such as the Lo Pan (魯班) magic but with quite a different flavor.


Traces of Buddhism


Many of the incantations started with prostration to the Bodhisattva (菩薩):


Nam mô phật mẹ quan âm bồ tát
Prostration to the Goddess of Mercy
( 南摩大悲觀音菩薩 )

This is further added to another prostration to Amitabah Buddhaya:


Nam mô a di đà phật
Prostration to Amitabah Buddhaya
( 南摩啊彌陀佛 )

The 'nam mo' here is often used in Buddhism and Hinduism as prostration.

The below is the A Di Da Phat Yant:


Traces of Taoism


Talismans used in Vietnamese magic shows traces of Chinese Han characters and the formats are almost similar to the traditional Chinese Taoist talismans. The below example tell it all:
The above meaning translated roughly as:
"Ordering the mountain god to bind and kill ghosts"




From just a few samples, it is evident that elements of Buddhism and Taoism present in standard Vietnamese magic. Other influences such as Hindu and Thai may be present if we are to carry out further investigations.


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