Brief introduction of tu an hieu nghia faith

Tu An Hieu Nghia (Four Debts of Gratitude) was founded by Ngo Loi (also known as Ngo Vien, Cao Van Do, Bay Do or Nam Thiep) in Ba Isle (An Phu District, An Giang Province) in May 1867. Ngo Loi was born in Mo Cay District,… Tu An Hieu Nghia (Four Debts of Gratitude) was founded by Ngo Loi (also known as Ngo Vien, Cao Van Do, Bay Do or Nam Thiep) in Ba Isle (An Phu District, An Giang Province) in May 1867. Ngo Loi was born in Mo Cay District, Ben Tre Province. He was a feudal intellectual who participated in the Can Vuong movement (the royamenu movement) và the uprising in My Tho & Tien Giang provinces. Wanted by French invaders, he fled to That Son, An Giang Province. Here, he absorbed new ideas from Buu Son Ky Huong & became a disciple of Tay An Buddhist Teacher.

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Based on the doctrine và the wav of propagation of Buu Son Ky Huong, Ngo Loi simultaneously spread his belief, cured people, and organized local farmers lớn reclaim virgin soil và set up hamlets. During the process of stabilizing the followers’ lives on Tuong Mount (An Giang Province), Ngo Loi built pagodas và temples to lớn practise rites. He also stepped up the propagation widely in That Son & its vicinity. It did not take him a long time to lớn receive sầu many followers. Ngo Loi was called by a respected name, Duc Bon Su (the original teacher or founder).


The portrait of Ngo Loi

After Ngo Loi passed away on Tuong Mount in 1890, Tu An Hieu Nghia had no one else lớn succeed to lớn the position. The management was entrusted khổng lồ his disciples. Not long after that, some of them left That Son lớn propagate the belief in other regions. Tu An Hieu Nghia was then divided inkhổng lồ two systems. One system upheld in villages, namely An Dinh, An Hoa, An Tkhô giòn & An Lap in That Son, An Giang Province, is considered the Holy L& of Tu An Hieu Nghia. The followers in these villages are called noi hẹp believers (believers living inside the hamlets). The other system involves followers in the places where Ngo Loi’s disciples spread the belief, such as the provinces of Kien Giang, Ben Tre, Dong Thap, Tien Giang, Can Tho & Ba Ria-Vung Tau). These followers are called ngoai vệ không lớn believers (believers living outside the hamlets).

The prayer books of Tu An Hieu Nghia contain Duc Bon Su’s teachings written in Chinese characters. In addition to lớn the prayer books (teaching the moral standards & worship rituals), Tu An Hieu Nghia has a system of oracles created by the great disciples khổng lồ concretize the teachings of Duc Bon Su. Because these oracles are written in the six-eight-word distich meter, five-word verse và seven-beat meter khổng lồ serve sầu the offering rituals & admonish people to cultivate virtue and morals, they have sầu been spread widely and are easy khổng lồ penetrate deep into the minds of followers.

Similar lớn Buu Son Ky Huong, the doctrine of Tu An Hieu Nghia embraces Hoc Phat – Tu nhan, the Four Great Debts of Gratitude and religious practice at home. Tu An Hieu Nghia values filial piety above sầu all & does not allow followers to leave their homes and families. There are neither strict commandments nor discrimination among muốn dignitaries và followers of Tu An Hieu Nghia.


Tu An Hieu Nghia in Vietnam

During its existence & development, Tu An Hieu Nghia has not advocated the establishment of its administrative sầu organizations. Its founder is called Duc Bon Su; its followers are called Ba Gia. Duc Bon Su is assisted by his great disciples, who are divided inlớn Tro disciples (promoting Duc Bon Su’s ideas) & Ganh disciples (taking charge of religious affairs within a group of followers on behalf of Duc Bon Su).

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Followers of Tu An Hieu Nghia are grouped into lớn units called ghen. Tu An Hieu Nghia has a total of twenty-four ghen tuông, each of which is headed by a ganh leader. This position is passed from a person lớn his son or closest disciple, who is knowledgeable about the tenets and prestigious aý muốn the followers. He is in charge of religious affairs & the organization of rites within his ghen. He is assisted by deacons including Thong Tin (informing followers of ceremonies và events such as funerals, weddings and sicknesses within a tị and collecting money and things for charity when necessary), Cu Sy (writing petitions và memorials, chanting prayers, và striking bells và tocsins during ritual services), & Thu Le (preparing tables & chairs, arranging work, & burning và giving incense to the tị leader in ritual services).

Each ganh leader is also assisted by a management board which helps him with organizing worship rites, restoring and repairing pagodas & temples, managing finances and doing charity.


Tu An Hieu Nghia does not allow followers to lớn leave sầu their homes và families

Similar to lớn Buu Son Ky Huong, each new follower of Tu An Hieu Nghia is given a Long Phai, which is considered his certificate of membership và inseparable talisman.

The places of worship of Tu An Hieu Nghia include pagodas, communal houses, temples and altars in households. Different from Buddhist pagodas, pagodas of Tu An Hieu Nghia are not places for monks who have sầu left their homes for religious practice. Instead, they are places where ritual services of Tu An Hieu Nghia are held. They are also places for treatment.

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After the liberation of South Vietnam giới, some organizations of Tu An Hieu Nghia dissolved. Religious activities are still conducted as usual in households & places of worships. Important ceremonies & events are still held under the instruction of ganh leaders. The twenty-four ghen tuông are still in operation.

According to statistics, in 2008, Tu An Hieu Nghia had nearly 80,000 followers, concentrated in southwest provinces such as An Giang, Dong Thap, Can Tho, Vinch Long, Tra Vinc, Tien Giang, Kien Giang & Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Ahy vọng them, An Giang is the center of the religion. In 2006, the People’s Committee of An Giang Province granted the License No. 262/GCN-TGT dated August 4, 2006, to lớn Tu An Hieu Nghia. This religion raises high its principle: “Following Buddha, cultivating humanity, the Four Great Debts of Gratitude, và national harmony và unity.”

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