How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby Quiet Heart » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:52 am

LastLegend wrote: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.

:smile:
It's a complex situation.
To simplify it as nuch as possible there were a number of "Buddhist" groups in Vietnam.
Some were considered too "friendly" with the American Agressors and therefore were possible "counter revolutionarys".
Others were more friendly and were or are being made part of the National Socilaist Historical Struggle.
It's all politics, half-truths, and bulls--t.
From both sides.
The one thing I did see in my trip tp Vietnam last year is that the new younger generation has no time for the old political rhetoric ... although it is still used by the older generation all the time.
Things are changing fast in Vietnam....and the old political certanties are changing fast.
"Buddhisim" in Vietnam is part of that change ... what's going to come out of those changes is as of yet uncertain,
The Vietnamese people will have a chance to make their own history ..... exactly as it should be.
That's really all the younger generation now wants, History is in the past only for them, no point in re-living History.
:smile:
P.S. Just so you know .... I spent 7 years in Vietnam from 1966 to 1973 ... was married to a Vietnamese woman and adopted a Vietnamese daughter. So I'm not an 'expert" but niether am I unexperienced in Vietnam.
I was there.
:smile:
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby Bodhi » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:53 pm

LastLegend wrote:
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.


It is really not a stretch. My uncle and grandma were both ordained and now both disrobed. And I felt they learn little of what buddhism is and you would agree with me if you meet them. I am definitely not saying there is not people that are truly cultivating but for the vast majority, buddhism and dharma is simply twisted to be used as a tool for promoting the party and loyalty to it. They do preach Amitabha but for me that is just to buy peoples heart. I personally hardly find that to be what Buddhism is really about. They also preach many things that sounded Buddhism but full of underlining and hidden propagandas. People arent burning themselves because the religion itself is not exactly banned or suppressed, at least they have an illusion of religous freedom. The problem is the tight control the government has over it. People really cant see this unless they really know and see what is going on behind the curtain.

I know a lady that have little to no profound understanding of buddhist dharma other than superstition that paid good money and now she is a grand master (su ba) of a temple. It is really sad. The term Buddhism might survive but it would soon evolved into some non-profound worshipping and money making business. Throughout history Buddhism declined and had disappeared from land it reaches.
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 LastLegend » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:58 pm

I am gonna go with Quiet Heart on this. Bodhi, you are a Human Right activist and happen to be Vietnamese, I think you are quite political and you do have an activist agenda to follow. I can't take your words for it. I would have to investigate for myself when I am in Vietnam.

Quiet Heart wrote:It's all politics, half-truths, and bulls--t.
From both sides.
:smile:
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby Bodhi » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:38 pm

LastLegend wrote:I am gonna go with Quiet Heart on this. Bodhi, you are a Human Right activist and happen to be Vietnamese, I think you are quite political and you do have an activist agenda to follow. I can't take your words for it. I would have to investigate for myself when I am in Vietnam.

Quiet Heart wrote:It's all politics, half-truths, and bulls--t.
From both sides.
:smile:



Just a few comments. Human rights activist wouldnt be necessary unless situation makes it necessary. Human rights are ironically differ from politics. Politics seeks position, election, and power. We are an interest group that seek to stop governmental oppression and killing of innocents or denying people of their rights and dont care much for power wealth or fame. So there is really no reason for us to make false statement, that is what politicians generally do to attain position and power not activist. I address issues worldwide not only Vietnam. I happen to be Vietnamese and a Buddhist (though quite secular) so it is definitely one of my top priority concern.

Though I am not dismissing Quiet Heart's credibility in any way, and hoping not to offend Quiet Heart either, but the 7 years he spent in Vietnam was a very different time. The unrest situation between the North and South was still chaotic and Vietnam was not yet under a unified established communist government (or more accurately it is refered to as socialist republic of Vietnam). After the war, they implemented tactics and activities for the southerners to prevent and opress uprises and rebellions which such mentality is still carried on to this day.

Please dont take my words for it though. I do urge you to investigate the current situation of Vietnam for yourself, not just Buddhism or religion alone but even to every day living of citizens, their rights, and many of the violations and corruption the vitnamese government is responsible of. It is definitely wise to see things for yourself than blindly believe what I said. :)

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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 LastLegend » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:57 pm

I don't doubt Communism is no good for the Vietnamese people. But you seem to undermine the Vietnamese practitioners of Buddhism in Vietnam as if there are no real practitioners anymore regardless of the external conditions-lack of religious freedom. This is where your activist agenda becomes political.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby uan » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:13 pm

Bodhi wrote:My uncle and grandma were both ordained and now both disrobed. And I felt they learn little of what buddhism is and you would agree with me if you meet them.


I'd be curious to learn a little more. Do they feel they learned very little of Buddhism? What do you feel they should have learned that they didn't? What would they have learned if the Communist were not in charge in Vietnam or had the policies in place that they do. Was it due to external factors that they didn't learn, or was it something inherent in them, their capacity or their motivation (and I don't intend any criticism towards your uncle or grandmother - we are all part of the sangha). I also know (iirc) that in some countries, such as Thailand, that many men will temporarily ordain for short period then disrobe. What are the traditions in Vietnam?

It is interesting to note that Thailand also has a lot of state control over the monasteries and great influence on how they are run, etc. I wonder if the philosophical question to ask is, is it okay for state involvement, but only certain types of states, or should the state just not be involved? Even with the best of intentions, the state is run by beings in the samsaraic world and for secular purposes.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby Bodhi » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:18 pm

LastLegend wrote:I don't doubt Communism is no good for the Vietnamese people. But you seem to undermine the Vietnamese practitioners of Buddhism in Vietnam as if there are no real practitioners anymore regardless of the external conditions-lack of religious freedom. This is where your activist agenda becomes political.


Please refer to one of my previous responses in which I said "i am not saying there is not true buddhist cultivator in Vietnam", However the topic starter asked for the current general situation of Buddhism in vietnam and the situation is they have little to none religious freedom, religions is exploited and used as a tool for encouraging loyalty to party, and those who wants religious freedom or independence is imprisoned and silenced. Among those buddhists imprisoned are your true practitioners that you keep speaking of and others true practitioners that dont speak up are in the dark, therefore leaving buddhism to be lead by corrupted masters and all those that follow their teachings are misled. Thats why I said its hard to practice if scriptures are editted and masters that are allowed to publicly give dharma talk only speak of propaganda.

That still doesnt make our work a political agenda in anyway. Though I personally as a person is identified with a political party, however as an activist we do not identified to any political party. There are socialist nations that thrived and respect human rights, and there are democratic nations that dont such as the first generation of the Republic Of Vietnam under the first President Ngo Dinh Diem, he seeked policies that oppressed indigenous natives (the French called them Montagnard) and Buddhist while show support to Catholicism (led to the self-immolation of Thich Quang Duc as a protest). Therefore as human rights activist we dont endorse any political party, only a humanitarian philosophy that extended universally especially those facing sufferings without discrimination. Human rights is a concept that is accepted and put in practice across the globe in all sort of countries under all sort of political party. If supporting human rights a political agenda, then practicing Buddhism is a political practice.

LastLegend, you may believe what you wish to believe. I have offered another reality from my knowledge, work, observation, and personal experience. You can consider it simply disregard it. I suggest investigate it yourself and believe what you feel best appropriate or fit. Though my response is probably gettig redundant because I am now pretty much just repeating what I already previously said in the other response. So I will cease to reply. Thank you for discussing and give me the opportunitynto share. :)

Metta
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 Bodhi » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:40 pm

uan wrote:
Bodhi wrote:My uncle and grandma were both ordained and now both disrobed. And I felt they learn little of what buddhism is and you would agree with me if you meet them.


I'd be curious to learn a little more. Do they feel they learned very little of Buddhism? What do you feel they should have learned that they didn't? What would they have learned if the Communist were not in charge in Vietnam or had the policies in place that they do. Was it due to external factors that they didn't learn, or was it something inherent in them, their capacity or their motivation (and I don't intend any criticism towards your uncle or grandmother - we are all part of the sangha). I also know (iirc) that in some countries, such as Thailand, that many men will temporarily ordain for short period then disrobe. What are the traditions in Vietnam?

It is interesting to note that Thailand also has a lot of state control over the monasteries and great influence on how they are run, etc. I wonder if the philosophical question to ask is, is it okay for state involvement, but only certain types of states, or should the state just not be involved? Even with the best of intentions, the state is run by beings in the samsaraic world and for secular purposes.


As far as I know, Vietnamese dont share that tradition with Thai - young men ordaining for short period of time then disrobe. Both my Uncle and grandma was ordained for atleast a decade. My uncle along with many other monks (not all) and would sneak out to go to bar and even have sex, it is common among many monasteries in Vietnam. He disrobed and got married then divorced. He abused his wife abd kids. They got divorced but now he wouldnt let his wife visiting her kids, and he is a terrible father. He worship all sort of stuff, gods, and goddesses and believe in all crazy sort of superstition ans astrology. He also have kids that he refused to accept as his. My grandma is similar breaking all her precepts. They both have very little knowledge of sutra study or even the basic idea of what Buddhism is about - simply a practice to free oneself from suffering.

I do not claim that the government has anything to do with. It could have and it
Might just be my uncle or grandma.Though I somewhat think being once ordained for so long they would have a better knowledge of Buddhism. Anyway I brought it up just to simply explain that they were one of the many source that helped me getting to know the buddhist monasteries and the sangha of Vietnam. Though not an important source since it is no secret what the condition is like.

My apology if it is hard to understand what I wrote because I am using my phone.-

Metta
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 uan » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:16 pm

Bodhi wrote:
uan wrote:
Bodhi wrote:My uncle and grandma were both ordained and now both disrobed. And I felt they learn little of what buddhism is and you would agree with me if you meet them.


I'd be curious to learn a little more. Do they feel they learned very little of Buddhism? What do you feel they should have learned that they didn't? What would they have learned if the Communist were not in charge in Vietnam or had the policies in place that they do. Was it due to external factors that they didn't learn, or was it something inherent in them, their capacity or their motivation (and I don't intend any criticism towards your uncle or grandmother - we are all part of the sangha). I also know (iirc) that in some countries, such as Thailand, that many men will temporarily ordain for short period then disrobe. What are the traditions in Vietnam?

It is interesting to note that Thailand also has a lot of state control over the monasteries and great influence on how they are run, etc. I wonder if the philosophical question to ask is, is it okay for state involvement, but only certain types of states, or should the state just not be involved? Even with the best of intentions, the state is run by beings in the samsaraic world and for secular purposes.


As far as I know, Vietnamese dont share that tradition with Thai - young men ordaining for short period of time then disrobe. Both my Uncle and grandma was ordained for atleast a decade. My uncle along with many other monks (not all) and would sneak out to go to bar and even have sex, it is common among many monasteries in Vietnam. He disrobed and got married then divorced. He abused his wife abd kids. They got divorced but now he wouldnt let his wife visiting her kids, and he is a terrible father. He worship all sort of stuff, gods, and goddesses and believe in all crazy sort of superstition ans astrology. He also have kids that he refused to accept as his. My grandma is similar breaking all her precepts. They both have very little knowledge of sutra study or even the basic idea of what Buddhism is about - simply a practice to free oneself from suffering.

I do not claim that the government has anything to do with. It could have and it
Might just be my uncle or grandma.Though I somewhat think being once ordained for so long they would have a better knowledge of Buddhism. Anyway I brought it up just to simply explain that they were one of the many source that helped me getting to know the buddhist monasteries and the sangha of Vietnam. Though not an important source since it is no secret what the condition is like.

My apology if it is hard to understand what I wrote because I am using my phone.-

Metta


thank you for your kind and generous response (and no problem with understanding what you wrote, I'm impressed you were able to have such a response on a phone! - I know I couldn't :D )

:anjali:
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby lojong1 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:56 pm

Oh Bodhi! :heart:
I would sneak away from a Vietnamese temple to be with you, my friend.
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Re: How is Mahayana Buddhism faring in Viet Nam nowadays?

Postby LastLegend » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:19 pm

Bodhi wrote:
Please refer to one of my previous responses in which I said "i am not saying there is not true buddhist cultivator in Vietnam", However the topic starter asked for the current general situation of Buddhism in vietnam and the situation is they have little to none religious freedom, religions is exploited and used as a tool for encouraging loyalty to party, and those who wants religious freedom or independence is imprisoned and silenced. Among those buddhists imprisoned are your true practitioners that you keep speaking of and others true practitioners that dont speak up are in the dark, therefore leaving buddhism to be lead by corrupted masters and all those that follow their teachings are misled. Thats why I said its hard to practice if scriptures are editted and masters that are allowed to publicly give dharma talk only speak of propaganda.

That still doesnt make our work a political agenda in anyway. Though I personally as a person is identified with a political party, however as an activist we do not identified to any political party. There are socialist nations that thrived and respect human rights, and there are democratic nations that dont such as the first generation of the Republic Of Vietnam under the first President Ngo Dinh Diem, he seeked policies that oppressed indigenous natives (the French called them Montagnard) and Buddhist while show support to Catholicism (led to the self-immolation of Thich Quang Duc as a protest). Therefore as human rights activist we dont endorse any political party, only a humanitarian philosophy that extended universally especially those facing sufferings without discrimination. Human rights is a concept that is accepted and put in practice across the globe in all sort of countries under all sort of political party. If supporting human rights a political agenda, then practicing Buddhism is a political practice.

LastLegend, you may believe what you wish to believe. I have offered another reality from my knowledge, work, observation, and personal experience. You can consider it simply disregard it. I suggest investigate it yourself and believe what you feel best appropriate or fit. Though my response is probably gettig redundant because I am now pretty much just repeating what I already previously said in the other response. So I will cease to reply. Thank you for discussing and give me the opportunitynto share. :)

Metta


You are presenting a viewpoint of an activist (perhaps a political one also) more than a viewpoint of a Buddhist that feels like you are a making a sweeping generalization about the Vietnam's Buddhist practitioners in general. I have said Buddhism has the ability to adapt for those whose truly understand the Dharma, the point of the Dharma. Then they would not get political. Then there are those who are enlightened, their behavior can not be predictable. They might get political they might not...Do true practitioners always have to speak up against Vietnamese Communism? Do they all have to burn themselves to prove that they are true practitioners? What I am saying is we are not enlightened enough to see more than that meets the eyes. I will give Vietnam's Buddhist practitioners benefit of a doubt that there are some enlightened practitioners or high level practitioners out there, and we don't understand their behavior. Do they have to burn themselves or not burn themselves? Do they have to get political or not political? We don't know what they choose to do.

You should not underestimate Buddha's teachings, its abilities, and Vietnam's Buddhist practitioners' capacities and abilities to adapt, and abilities to use skillful means, abilities to transform its environment, etc. What I am saying is there are more than that meets the eyes. Buddha's teachings can thrive with its deep wisdom and insights. If the Buddha mind is free, nothing can control it.

I hope you understand my point. If you don't re-read a couple times.

To reiterate, I am not denying that are no human rights, religious and freedom of speech, corruption, etc in Vietnam. I am responding to your seemingly sweeping generalization.
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