September 29, 2009

Bat Nha Perspectives

Not long after my previous post, Dr. Scott Mitchell relayed a comment he received in an email, which presents another side to the events at Bat Nha monastery.
The criticism is, in short, that there may be more going on here than meets the eye or that we are only getting one side of the story. This person suggests that the monks and nuns in Vietnam may be “making nuisances of themselves” and that the locals had had enough, driving off the “elitist followers” of Thich Nhat Hanh.
The government press releases that I’ve seen don’t exactly piece together an alternative narrative. But it’s important to understand that this situation can be viewed from multiple perspectives, and they’re all worth honestly discussing. My real concern here is that the monks and nuns—regardless of their affiliation—should be entitled to due process under the law, which is apparently not an option being afforded to them. I have never been all too enthusiastic about Thich Nhat Hanh or the Order of Interbeing (another story for another time), but this situation really hits home for me. For some reason, I cannot silently condone the breach of human rights against the monks and nuns at Bat Nha monastery. It’s them today, but who’s next?

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