Engaged Buddhism: Prajna Monastery and taking a stand


The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings (Interbeing by Thich Nhat Hanh) are a guide to living in a world that requires us to step out of our comfort zone.  Formulated in the cauldron of the Vietnam war, they are the precepts that seal the relationship between Thich Nhat Hanh and his students.  Among the 14 aspirations are commitments to not be bound to views even Buddhist ones (#1 & 2), to encourage freedom of thought (#3), to manage anger (#6), and to speak truthfully especially against injustice (#9).

batnhamonasticsThe events have unfolded at Prajna Monastery in Bat Nha Vietnam since mid-July 2008 culminating with the violence on September 27 2009.  They have raised concerns globally about what is truth and delusion, what is right action in the face of potentially increasing risk to those who are helpless, what is the balance between being comfortable with uncertainty and embodying the bodhisattva of Great Action.  Our precepts are our only guide and they too must be embodied in a way that is within the context of a world that often seems honesty-blind and compassion-deaf.

There are sufficient independent reports from AP and BBC about the unfolding events.  You can access these here.  In the end, at this very moment, it doesn’t matter what the story is.  It only matters that there are human lives at risk and we must speak to that – and that alone.

Here are ways to learn and to help:

400 Monastics Being Forcefully Evicted Today

This is my summary and includes a list of actions with phone numbers and addresses to contact.


This video is of excerpted clips of Bat Nha Monastery showing daily activities of the young monks and nuns. Clips of the attack on the monastics. Non-violence practice of the monks during the attacks.

AP: Buddhists: Police, mob force monks from monastery
September 27, 2009

Live Audio from Bat Nha
September 27, 2009

from Toronto ON Canada

The Mindfulness Practice Community of Toronto has created a petition site
re: Petition against violence in Bat Nha Monastery Vietnam, to be sent to
the Canadian Embassy in Vietnam, the Prime Minister of Canada, and the
Vietnam Embassy in Canada. The petition letter uses the sample letter we
received from Sr Bi Nghiem. People from all countries can sign the petition.


with gratitude for materials provided by members of the Order of Interbeing


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