How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

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How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:47 am

I am curious about the state of Buddhism in present-day Viet Nam, ostensibly still a communist country but with an increasingly open market economy.

There was an unfortunate incident at Bat Nha, Thich Nhat Thanh's branch monastery there, a couple of years ago, but other than that I hardly ever hear anything.

The funny thing is, I have several Viet Namese sangha who added me to facebook and from the pictures I see it seems that at least on the surface level Buddhism is thriving.

I wonder, though, do the monks and nuns really have freedom to practice or is it government-controlled Buddhism akin to that of Mainland China, where everything is monitored by the Communist Party controlled Buddhist Association.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby LastLegend » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:18 pm

Yes, Buddhism is controlled and monitored. The reason is the government fears that Buddhism might be a hosting place for people who want to overthrow the government because it the past it has been the case. But in terms of controlling the practice, no. They can practice as long as they don't create a threat to the power.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby lojong1 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:54 pm

LastLegend wrote:But in terms of controlling the practice, no. They can practice as long as they don't create a threat to the power.

Have you been there? Didn't Thich Naht Hahn leave because his order's buddhist practice was criminalised?
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby LastLegend » Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:13 am

My parents live there my friend, and they go to temples everyday.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby Bodhi » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:55 am

They dont have religious independency. Most, if not all, churches and temple are government-run or monitored which is used as a tool to spread propaganda to promote loyalty to the party. Many monks and nuns of these monastery are extremely corrupted . Those who speaks for religious freedom are imprisoned such as Catholic father Ly and Buddhist monk Thich Quang Do who is under house arrest because he demand religious freedom and is one of the leader of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, an organization currently banned in vietnam, many of the masters who was part of, founder, or head of the organization where imprisoned and sometimes forced to live in harsh solitary condition and die from illness and lack of medical care.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby lojong1 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:09 am

??
So lastlegend's parents are maybe:
-- not allowed to tell the truth about this;
-- don't know or care, and simply attend temples and have had no problems personally;
-- evil government agents;
-- parents of an evil government agent;

Religious freedom in Vietnam sounds fantastic.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby LastLegend » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:52 am

lojong1 wrote:??
So lastlegend's parents are maybe:
-- not allowed to tell the truth about this;
-- don't know or care, and simply attend temples and have had no problems personally;
-- evil government agents;
-- parents of an evil government agent;

Religious freedom in Vietnam sounds fantastic.


You seem to get emotionally involved with this. I am telling you that Vietnam is a one-party communist government, and of course they don't want any threats. Which power does not want to maintain its status quo? Yes, you take freedom of speech and religion for granted. The Vietnamese people don't have that choice and most of them suffer from poverty while the big dogs keep all the money from corruption and bribery. Yes, I understand. If Buddhists are to practice in Vietnam, they must not be a threat to the government which means certain things they should not say. What else can they do? You came here crying does not help. If you are advocating some sort Democracy for Vietnam, at least act democratic on your part.

Are you even Vietnamese?
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby Astus » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:59 pm

Just because a country's government is dictatorial it doesn't mean that people can't practise their religion at all, it's just that it is under a certain amount of control. Even in North Korea there is a sort of Buddhist union organising things, South Asian Buddhist countries are also mostly dictatorships, etc. Buddhism lived fine under all sorts of kings and emperors. Democracy is a very new thing even in Western countries while religions can be thousands of years old.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:20 am

For people interested in the sad situation regarding the former Plum Village branch in Viet Nam, Bat Na temple, from Plum Village perspective, you can find more here:
http://www.plumvillage.org/articles/fro ... rant-.html
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby lojong1 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:14 am

LastLegend wrote:...which means certain things they should not say.

You maintain that this has not interfered with buddhist practice in any way other than a name change and inclusion within the umbrella group?
Something stinks here.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby lojong1 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:30 am

Someone is deceiving someone, perhaps to avoid having their buddhist organs ripped out: http://thebuddhistblog.blogspot.ca/2009 ... etnam.html
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby lojong1 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:43 am

wikipedia says "Under Communist rule many religious practices in Vietnam Buddhism were suppressed."
Anyone know which and why?
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby Bodhi » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:31 am

Most of you guys seem to forget that ideally and orginally communism is a political theory that do not tolerate religion such as early Soviet Union. Reason is mainly that religion can be a strong force that interfere with absolute loyalty to the party. They fear rebellion. Most of you guys arent aware that Vietnamese do not have access to many of the information that we take for granted sometimes. Such as a certain (I forgot his mame) vietnamese man, he was a doctor that got a hold of a essay named "what is democracy" in english and he translated it to vietnamese. He was imprisoned and his family is monitored by government. I have listen to many well known and respected Buddhist master in vietnam , they pretty much preach propaganda. Those that dont preach propaganda are imprisoned or even killed.

Simply put, its hard to practice buddhism (especially lay people) when scriptures are editted and masters dont teach the true Dharma.

Government are much more efficient at tracking down those who arent doing what they want. We are living at a very different time as compare to centuries before.

I am Vietnamese and is a Human Right activist, I was born and raised in Vietnam for a while so I know what it is like.
Wherever you are, that is where the mind should be. Always be mindful, and be your own master. This is true freedom. - Grand Master Wei Chueh
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:02 am

Bodhi wrote:Most of you guys seem to forget that ideally and orginally communism is a political theory that do not tolerate religion such as early Soviet Union. Reason is mainly that religion can be a strong force that interfere with absolute loyalty to the party. They fear rebellion. Most of you guys arent aware that Vietnamese do not have access to many of the information that we take for granted sometimes. Such as a certain (I forgot his mame) vietnamese man, he was a doctor that got a hold of a essay named "what is democracy" in english and he translated it to vietnamese. He was imprisoned and his family is monitored by government. I have listen to many well known and respected Buddhist master in vietnam , they pretty much preach propaganda. Those that dont preach propaganda are imprisoned or even killed.

Simply put, its hard to practice buddhism (especially lay people) when scriptures are editted and masters dont teach the true Dharma.

Government are much more efficient at tracking down those who arent doing what they want. We are living at a very different time as compare to centuries before.

I am Vietnamese and is a Human Right activist, I was born and raised in Vietnam for a while so I know what it is like.


Thats Sad.

in my experiences Vietnamese Buddhism is the most strongest.
(im not trying to say all others are weak or incorrect,only that in america they have not only been
maintaining members but they are actually growing at a super fast rate)

Alot of times Vietnamese Buddhism is overlooked in the west,but go and look on the web for Viet Buddhists temples in america and you might be shocked to find they have more temples than most other Buddhist sects combined.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby PorkChop » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:15 am

Son of Buddha wrote:Thats Sad.

in my experiences Vietnamese Buddhism is the most strongest.
(im not trying to say all others are weak or incorrect,only that in america they have not only been
maintaining members but they are actually growing at a super fast rate)

Alot of times Vietnamese Buddhism is overlooked in the west,but go and look on the web for Viet Buddhists temples in america and you might be shocked to find they have more temples than most other Buddhist sects combined.


I think Chinese Buddhism is making strides as well and the Tendai folks (like Jikan) are also making good moves, but I can't disagree with this statement at all. This is especially true for me given that i practice at a Vietnamese Temple and was there for a Tet (lunar new year) celebration earlier this evening. I think the biggest reason for their success here is the commitment I've seen from many Vietnamese in America to buying into the "American dream". While they still help out family back home, many do not wish to return, and many value the freedom of opportunity here. I feel just as lucky to share in their Buddhist culture as they feel to share in our culture of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and equal opportunity.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:50 am

Thank you Pork Chop.

Commitment that was the word that was elludeing me.

.......honestly ive sat here for 15 minutes trying to put words on paper ,then erasing them over and over again, I feel nothing I write is worthy enough to explain the beauty of their commitment.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby LastLegend » Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:06 pm

lojong1 wrote:
LastLegend wrote:...which means certain things they should not say.

You maintain that this has not interfered with buddhist practice in any way other than a name change and inclusion within the umbrella group?
Something stinks here.


You cannot detach Buddha's teachings from political sphere. That's your problem. Politics is none of my concern. If you advocate people rising up against Vietnamese communism, I have no say in that. My father served South Vietnam and was imprisoned for 8 years. That's the reason why we came to the US.

The difference between me is you is if given a chance, you would kill all the communist leaders in Vietnam. I would not. And you are here preaching Democracy, then you are not ready for Democracy.

Now, you can playing the accusing game all you want. I know one thing you are pissed because you cannot get over your hatred, and it would be a bad idea to get involved in politics if you cannot overcome your emotions. And folks like you are willing to stab anyone whom you suspect to be "stinky." Once again, you hate Vietnamese communism but you are acting exactly like they do.

You are too political to be a Buddhist.
Last edited by LastLegend on Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:58 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby LastLegend » Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:10 pm

lojong1 wrote:Someone is deceiving someone, perhaps to avoid having their buddhist organs ripped out: http://thebuddhistblog.blogspot.ca/2009 ... etnam.html


If you are Communist, someone seems to be threat in your backyard, what would you do? Shit if you go to Vietnam now, better keep your mouth shut up if you are smart.

If you have the courage to fight for the freedom of Vietnamese people, I admire you because I don't have such courage. If you are not an activist, you need to stop your bullshit because I know when you are in Vietnam for tourism or a visit to see your family, you would not speak up either.

Is Vietnamese communism right? Absolutely not, people are suffering from poverty while the top dogs pocket. I rather Vietnam be a Socialist Democracy just like Singapore.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby lojong1 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:48 pm

Thank you Bodhi for this, my reply to LastLegend.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby LastLegend » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:52 pm

Bodhi wrote:Most of you guys seem to forget that ideally and orginally communism is a political theory that do not tolerate religion such as early Soviet Union. Reason is mainly that religion can be a strong force that interfere with absolute loyalty to the party. They fear rebellion. Most of you guys arent aware that Vietnamese do not have access to many of the information that we take for granted sometimes. Such as a certain (I forgot his mame) vietnamese man, he was a doctor that got a hold of a essay named "what is democracy" in english and he translated it to vietnamese. He was imprisoned and his family is monitored by government. I have listen to many well known and respected Buddhist master in vietnam , they pretty much preach propaganda. Those that dont preach propaganda are imprisoned or even killed.

Simply put, its hard to practice buddhism (especially lay people) when scriptures are editted and masters dont teach the true Dharma.

Government are much more efficient at tracking down those who arent doing what they want. We are living at a very different time as compare to centuries before.

I am Vietnamese and is a Human Right activist, I was born and raised in Vietnam for a while so I know what it is like.


They preach propaganda but they also preach Amitabha. Buddhism has an ability to adapt, otherwise every monk and nun would have to burn themselves, and this is some shit that lojong1 tries to advocate, "either you are with us or against us" attitude :rolling: . But that is not to deny the corruption that you mentioned. I think it's a bit of a stretch to make such a generalization though.
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