Yesterday morning, a 150-strong mob descended on Prajna Monastery, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. The crowd violently evicted over 130 monks, followers of Venerable Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Plain-clothes police were known to be amongst the mob; uniformed police blocked all roads of access. Government officials refused to intervene, claiming that nothing was happening at the monastery site.
The crowd, armed with sticks and hammers, smashed doors and windows. The monks, some less than 18 years old, began sitting meditation and chanting in peaceful resistance. They were assaulted, removed by force and dragged out of their residence into the torrential rain. They were violently bundled into trucks and taxis, driven off and later dumped by the roadside. Some were marched up to 15 kilometers away from the monastery, being subjected to kicks and blows if they fell. The two most senior monks were beaten and arrested without charge. At this time, it is unknown where one, Brother Phap Hoi, is being held.
After they had successfully attacked the monks, the mob set upon the two nuns’ quarters. Doors were smashed down and all 230 nuns and aspirants driven into one building. There they were held overnight, awaiting threatened violence the next day. Left with no alternative, the nuns and aspirants, the majority of whom are young girls and women under 25 years old, abandoned their home for an uncertain future.
Brother Trung Hai, Dharma Teacher at Bat Nha Monastery, was in France at the time of the attack. He says,
The Vietnamese government and the Religious Committee have won. Their victory is that Bat Nha is completely destroyed. Everything is smashed. All the monks and nuns have been evicted from the monastery and the buildings have been stripped bare.
Our monastics brothers and sisters have done their part, that is they have responded faithfully to every challenge with non-violence, compassion and forgiveness. And yes, they have won.
Now we rest on the conscience of the government and of the people, inside and outside of Vietnam.
We do not blame anyone. We have no anger toward anyone. We know that our enemies are not people; they are greed, hatred and ignorance.
ASSOCIATED PRESS, 27.09.09: “Buddhists: Police, mob force monks from monastery”
AFP, 28.09.09: "Vietnam Buddhists flee amid threats"
Le Monde, 28.09.09: « Vietnam: des soeurs de la communauté des Pruniers évacuées d’un monastère »
Bat Nha monastery was Vietnam’s fastest-growing and most radical monastery – and the one most popular among Vietnamese youth. All but a handful of the hundreds of monks and nuns ordained in the last three years are aged 15-25. Bat Nha was famed for its monthly mindfulness days, which regularly attracted crowds of 800 people, with bus-loads traveling up to 400 km from the big cities of Saigon, Da Nang and Nha Trang. This high-mountain monastery, renowned for its natural beauty, waterfalls and forests, came to popular fame when it was featured as a modern spiritual sanctuary for the young heroine of the national Stepfather television soap.
courtesy of: helpbatnha.org
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