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Re-Actualizing the Relationship of Filiation Among Vietnamese People in France Through Buddhism

Jérôme Gidoin

Beginning with an ethnological field review dedicated to the ancestral cult of Vietnamese as practised in France, and reinterpreted on a Buddhist basis, this article deals with the intergenerational transmission of the Vietnamese ethno-religious identity. More and more families who feel that they can no longer manage to pass on the values attached to the Vietnamese identity find it easier to hand over their ancestor worship cult to the monks affiliated to certain Vietnamese pagodas in the Paris region. This phenomenon denotes the erosion of a ritualistic transmission model. Affiliation with a pagoda allows one to preserve a certain number of elements that are essential to an ethical fabric that is being redefined. We see, for example, that young people willingly reclaim their Vietnamese identity, using Buddhism as their referent, but without perpetuating traditional family ritualism. They often consider Buddhism to be a choice. We then see a new way of handling collective referents, and in parallel, a redefinition of the ancestral cult tradition passed on by parents, since every culture needs to adapt to change, more especially within a post-migration context.