The Xa-loi Pagoda (or Temple of the Buddha's Relic) is a rather modern pagoda built following the classical Vietnamese pagodas lines in 1956.
Although most of the population is Buddhist, Vietnam is still a Communist country with no official support to Buddhism. It was even worse during the President Ngo Dinh Diem dictatorship (early 1960's), when thousands of Buddhist monks were sent to jail and pagodas were closed. The Xa Loi Pagoda was a centre of resistance against the Diem government.
It was the gong of this Xa Loi Pagoda that started the hunger strike of thousand of monks in Saigon. This hunger strikes and the burning of several monks, were the spark for the CIA led intervention of the country, that led to the killing of the radical Catholic leader of the South part of the then split nation.
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