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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Further Thoughts on the Bat Nha Monastery Incident.

Questions have been raised as to the veracity of the story put forth by the followers of Thich Nhat Hanh at Bat Nha monastery, Vietnam over the past few days. The practitioners of Nhat Hanh's style of Zen were initially invited and welcomed at the monastery around 2005. Everything seemed to be fine for some time between the two camps represented at the monastery. TNH's followers even used donations from lay followers of Thich Nhat Hanh to reinvest in Bat Nha monastery. Nearly $1 million was spent by TNH's lay followers to increase the land size of the monastery and build new buildings including a meditation hall that can seat 1,800 people. It was frequently filled every weekend with people from all around Vietnam, which is why I still question that the local population turned on the monastics in the past few days. I'm not ruling it out because tensions do build and trust frays in this crazy samsara. However, it is also true and dictatorial regimes often dress hardcore police and military officials in plain clothes.

It is also strange timing that this abbot should want TNH's followers to leave the monastery as the Communist officials claim. This is because it is occurring not long after Nhat Hanh asked the government to relax its grip on religious freedoms in the southeast Asian country. In addition, I find it odd that the abbot who supposedly was the one who wanted this removal of TNH's monks still has yet to speak of the incident. It is not unheard of in Communist totalitarian governments to threaten religious leaders with imprisonment and total destruction of their temples and shrines if they don't co-operate with officials. It just seems to me that if this abbot was so upset by the TNH monastics that he'd have said something by now. It is very possible that he was told to keep his mouth shut or face similar repercussions as the TNH followers are facing.The other point that makes me question the official story of the Communist regime is that they won't even allow the monastics to stay at the Phuoc Hue pagoda in Lam Dong province even though the state sanctioned Buddhist Church of Vietnam have welcomed them to stay. As you can see from above the pagoda isn't much to hundle hundreds of monks and nuns within. It seems the overall goal by the Communist government is to see them leave Vietnam altogether. However, I'm not interested in being a sycophant who defends my tradition regardless of what other evidence is presented so I am keeping the door open for further evidence to come in. That especially includes the story from the abbot, which I hope isn't just propaganda fed through him by the government at the threat of violence to him, his monks and his temple. If he presents a different story though then that from the TNH monastics I will gladly report it hear so that you (and I) can all decide for yourselves. Perhaps I reacted initially out of a gut reaction to stand with my fellow practitioners but I am more interested in the truth than being a brainwashed member of a cult of personality. I am more than willing to criticize these TNH followers should they deserve it. I'm not interested in Buddhism to simply be apart of a group. Questions still remain and I shall keep you posted as new information arises.

~Peace to all beings~

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1 comment:

Marco said...

Very interesting article. Peace to you. Marco at imported store

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