The Hoa Hao Buddhist Community is administered by a system of Administrative Committees
set up at each hamlet, village, district and province, at the top of which is a Central Council of Administrators. A Hamlet Administrative Committee is composed of several subcommittees.
Thanks to this closeknit system, Hoa Hao Buddhist leaders can keep close contact with the masses, all activities are effectively managed and all instructions given are easely carried out by all levels, from the central council to the grass-roots subcommittees.
The guiding principle of Hoa Hao Buddhist organization and management can thus be described as Focused Democracy.
Hoa Hao Buddhist faithful elect their representatives to the Administrative Committees at the hamlet level. The latter then elect the committee at the village level and this process continues up to the elections of the district and provincial committees.
The Central Council of Administrators is elected by the Administrative Committees from the hamlets, villages, districts and provinces.
As the Administrators have been chosen through elections according to their virtues and in compliance with the principle of democratic centralization, they will naturally have enough prestige to carry out their task.
Hao Buddhism was created in 1939 when Vietnam was still a French colony. French authorities did everything they could to oppress and prevent Prophet Huynh Phu So from preaching His doctrine.
After the Japanese troops’ invasion of Indochina, Japanese officials expressed their desire to help the Vietnamese nationalist and religious groups to reclaim their Independence from the French. In 1942, they helped liberate Prophet Huynh from Bac Lieu where He was being placed under administrative surveillance by the French, and took Him to Saigon.
Prophet Huynh was grateful for His liberation, but this did not prevent Him from incessantly asking the Japanese government to grant full independence to Vietnam.
Starting in 1945, the Hoa Hao Buddhist community actively organized a guerrilla resistance war against the French, then later against the Communist Viet Minh when they began to implement a totalitarian communist regime in Vietnam.
Following the signing of the Geneva Agreement in 1954, the Hoa Hao Buddhist community underwent another period of repression under the dictatorial regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem.
Only after the overthrow of President Diem on November 1st, 1963 did the Hoa Hao Buddhists have a chance to re-organize themselves and elect new Boards of Administrators.
The North Vietnamese conquest of South Vietnam in 1975 ushered in another dark period of persecution. Together with other religions, Hoa Hao Buddhist followers again have to face systematic tactics aimed at religious annihilation including requisition of Church facilities and mass arrest of Hoa Hao leaders.
All efforts of the Hoa Hao Buddhist Church are concentrated on the achievement of two main objectives: first, to propagate Hoa Hao Buddhist doctrine in and outside of the country; second, to carry out social work and come to the help of the poor.
The propagation of Hoa Hao Buddhist faith is considered a sacred mission to foster and promote virtues in society in order to reform mankind. The carrying out of social work serves the purpose of raising the standards of living of the people in line with the 20th century progress.
Over two millions of Hoa Hao Buddhist followers (before 1-1-1966) practicing Buddhism at home not only do their best to improve themselves physically and spiritually, but they also contribute greatly to the development of the agricultural economy of their country. Moreover, when required, the Hoa Hao Buddhist followers are always ready to sacrifice their lives to defend the Fatherland. The 18th of the 5th lunar month of 1939 in Vietnam is the anniversary of Hoa Hao Buddhism. On this day, an important ceremony is held at the Hoa Hao Holy Land and throughout the Mekong Delta area. The main features of Hoa Hao Buddhism are observed on this occasion.