that completely contradict his first-hand knowledge of events; and therefore, it would be irresponsible for the author to ignore the perpetual faulty information, and to leave it uncorrected.
Since the French colonial conquest until the present time, the developments of Vietnam’s national history must have been painted in predominantly dark tones. In the course of the colonial and Communist oppression, the state apparatus has been consistently used so as to smear Vietnam’s national cause: the police were employed to oppress while the official propaganda was used to malign. Not surprisingly, the patriots were seen as rebels by the colonialists and as reactionaries by the Communists. This is how many sources and books relating to Hòa Hảo Buddhism and patriotic and revolutionary organizations in Vietnam emerged.
Consequently, the author had to use the sources mentioned above carefully, supplementing the historical research below by interviews with witnesses of the events described hereinafter.
Hòa Hảo Buddhism was in no way a product of contemporary social developments. A comprehensive analysis requires that Hòa Hảo Buddhism be viewed as an indispensable element of Vietnam’s national history and traditions, a historical and cultural phenomenon, which emerged in the frontier milieu of South Vietnam. This book has been built around the nexus of this concept.
In the course of preparing this work many people were really helpful, notably those friends and followers of Hòa Hảo Buddhism who opted to write and share their experiences with the author.
An old friend, Trần Đức Thanh Phong, took part in preparing this work, and the author is grateful for his help. I wish to thank veteran revolutionary, Mr. Trần Văn Ân, for his great help and important contributions relating to South Vietnam’s history of the past six decades: he proved to be an invaluable source of expertise and experience.
In the course of finding appropriate sources for this work, Mr. Nguyễn Văn Trần, an author of the doctoral thesis Etudes Sociologiques des Sectes Politico-Religieuses au Sud Vietnam, opted to share with the author the data he had discovered and used in his thesis.
Appreciation is due to Professor Nguyễn Ngọc Chí Linh and Professor Nguyễn Thành Long. Their suggestions were also instructive.
Gratitude is felt for all those who wrote and shared their perspectives with the author, or helped the author to prepare this book: Nguyễn Hòa An, Trần Văn Ân, Trần Nguyên Bình, Cao Thế Dung, Phạm Cao Dương, Nguyễn Tiến Đại, Nguyễn Chánh Đáng, Kim Định, Lê Định, Nguyễn Hữu Đôn, Minh Đức, Hà Văn Giáo, Trần Sơn Hà, Trần Thị Hoa, Lê Thái Hòa, Hồng Văn Hoạnh, Nguyễn Sỹ Hưng, Lưu Trung Khảo, Trần Kim Khôi, Nguyễn Ngọc Kính, Nhị Lang, Nguyễn Thái Lân, Lê Tấn Lợi, Nguyễn Huỳnh Mai, Lê Thành Mân, Trần Ngọc Ninh, Trần Kim Quan, Nguyễn Trung Quân, Hà Thế Ruyệt, Phạm Nam Sách, Lê Phước Sang, Nguyễn Giang Sơn, Trần Văn Tài, Nguyễn Văn Tại, Võ Minh Tấn, Nguyễn Văn Tạo, Lâm Ngọc Thạch, Phạm Sĩ Thanh, Trịnh Đình Thắng, Trần Kim Thiện, Phạm Công Thiện, Nguyễn Bảo Trị, Lâm Lễ Trinh, Nguyễn Văn Trần, Lê Quang Trường, Nguyễn Văn Tuội, Lý Khôi Việt, Trần Đình Vỵ.
I would like to thank all of them.
Finally, the author hopes that readers may magnanimously treat any imperfections that may remain in this work, and looks forward to receiving further advice and suggestions in order improve this book in its future editions.
Nguyễn Long Thành Nam.
California, September 6, 1988.