The September 3 eviction deadline given 400 monks at Bat Nha Monastery in Vietnam’s central highlands passed without incident. In response to a government eviction notice issued in early August, Thich Nhat Hanh issued a plea to Buddhists of all traditions to express their support.
In an interview with Agence France Presse, Thich Phap Kham, one of the founders of the Bath Nha community (aka Prajna Monastery), said that the monks “still carry out their religious activities and so far there has been no sign of a siege.” Although, they are still living without electricity, running water, or phone service.
Sister Dang Nghiem, a student of Thich Nhat Hanh who is working with the Help Bat Nha Monastery initiative, told the Shambhala Sun, “I am sure the struggle is not yet over—not for us, and not for many other well-intended people. Collective awareness will continue to help not only our monastic brothers and sisters in Bat Nha, but it can also help improve many other conditions in Vietnam.”
Before Thich Nhat Hanh’s return visit to Vietnam in 2005 after 39 years of exile, Prajna was a small temple on a plot of largely unoccupied land. During that visit, abbot Thich Duc Nghi, offered his monastery as a training and practice center in the tradition of Plum Village, the monastery established in France by Thich Nhat Hanh. Since that time, over 300 young people have been ordained and elder monastics from Plum Village have travelled to Prajna to train the initiates. From 2005 to 2008, over $1 million was donated by Thich Nhat Hanh’s supporters to buy lands and build facilities for the practitioners. In addition, thousands of Vietnamese young people have visited Prajna as have some sangha members from Hong Kong, Australia, and other parts of the world.