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In Buddha's CompanyThai Soldiers in the Vietnam War$
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Richard A. Ruth

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834197

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834197.001.0001

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Fighting on the Metaphysical Landscapes of South Vietnam

Fighting on the Metaphysical Landscapes of South Vietnam

(p.180) 6 Fighting on the Metaphysical Landscapes of South Vietnam
In Buddha's Company

Richard A. Ruth

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on another battle fought by Thai soldiers in South Vietnam, out of sight of the news media and unacknowledged by the public. This conflict unfolded in the realm of the metaphysical, a continuous battle of spiritual prowess that pitted Thai Buddhist principles against Vietnamese supernatural forces. In this battle, the Thais fought a nebulous but potent adversary in the form of animal and land spirits that inhabited the forests, cemeteries, and temple complexes beyond Bearcat Camp. For those soldiers who encountered these dark forces, the spiritual struggles that ensued became as important to their Vietnam War narratives as any shoot-out with the Viet Cong, the lingering psychic consequences more enduring than any adventure in the physical realm.

Keywords:   Buddhism, Thai Buddhist principles, supernatural forces, Vietnam War, metaphysical, animal spirits, land spirits

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