A local government document from last month obtained by Thich Nhat Hanh’s followers and shown to Reuters stated that the group was not recognised by the state or the official Buddhist congregation and was staying at Bat Nha illegally. The roots of the problem may go back, in part at least, to Thich Nhat Hanh’s late 2007 visit to Vietnam. During that trip, he told Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet that the government should abolish the arm of the police that tracks religious groups and disband the government’s Religious Affairs Committee, which regulates religious activities.In the same shoes, I probably would have avoided giving a Communist leader unsolicited political advice, although I heartily agree that Viet Nam would be better off without the Religious Affairs Committee.
October 5, 2009
More background on Bat Nha
Reuters’ Faithworld blog provides a broader picture behind the situation of monks and nuns at Bat Nha monastery in Vietnam.