Next week – unless the Vietnamese government relaxes its position – 400 residents at a monastery following the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, who are now living without electricity, water or phone service, will be forcibly evicted.
Thich Nhat Hanh is asking Buddhists of all persuasions to help in their urgent struggle to keep open Prajna Monastery (aka Bat Nha Monastery) in Bao Loc, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam.
See helpbatnha.org for information on writing senators and members of Congress, plus other ways to support the Vietnamese monks and nuns.
The eviction notice was issued a week ago by Le Dun, a spokesman for the Vietnamese ministry of foreign affairs. The government’s ultimatum comes as the latest in a series of events that began in June 2008, when the government’s Religious Committee and the Society Security Police Branch of the Ministry of Public Safety requested Prajna’s abbot, Ven. Thich Duc Nghi, to stop sponsoring monks, nuns, and lay people practicing at the monastery.
In September 2008, three disciples of the abbot led a group of 20 men in a raid on the monastery residence, where the monk’s belongings were thrown outside. Despite an apparent resolution to the dispute in early October, late that month the Religious Affairs Committee denounced Thich Nhat Hanh and reiterated a call for the monastery to be cleared out. Regular harassment by the Religious Police followed, culminating in mobs of several hundred people attacking the monastery in June and July with no police intervention.
Sister Chan Kong, Thich Nhat Hanh’s foremost adviser, told BBC News, “The government fear that we are too dynamic and they can’t control us. Local police in every province have been paying visits to the parents of our young disciples, telling them to get their sons and daughters out of Bat Nha because we are ‘political’.”
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.
bishwa gurung says
it's disguisting to read about vietnames monk situation.I hope they all get their right services.and pray for them.