Bat Nha incident: A response to Visakha Kawasaki

by Ven Kobutsu Malone, Osho, Sedgwick, ME (USA), The Buddhist Channel, Oct 11, 2009

I would like to thank Visakha Kawasaki for the comments on my inquiry piece (Deep Questioning: The Kalama Sutta Comes Alive). I have a few comments to further the discussion.

First, I did not use the term "clique" in my piece. That term is one used frequently by the Chinese government to label dissenting parties and in particular the followers of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Let me make it quite clear, I am not a communist, nor agent, or apologist for the Vietnamese or any communist government. I am the sort of person that totalitarian regimes throw in prison, execute or make "disappear." I have been a social justice activist most of my life and been arrested, gassed, beaten unconscious and detained without charges for my activities here in the "land of the free."

As for the "sets of players" referred to by Visakha Kawasaki, we have no way of knowing all of the "players" because we do not seem to be getting the full story. This was the reason for my questioning the situation, it seems that the only information we are getting is from one "set of players."

The question, "What about the police and the mobs involved?" needs clarification. The term "Police" can denote a number of groups, we don't really know what group is being referred to. It is possible that "police" just means the local constabulary, the group responsible for maintaining civil order and investigating local crime. Local constabularies are found everywhere; in America they comprise local police departments in towns and cities or in rural areas the county sheriff. The next level up here in the States would be a State Police forces, then we get into federal law enforcement with its myriad of alphabet agencies responsible for various areas of law enforcement.

The statement, "Police aren't local people" cannot be verified and seems to be a naïve assumption. Immediately following, the statement, "They are agents of the State" is true, but without knowing the identity of the "police" involved we cannot determine if we are talking about a local law enforcement body concerned with maintaining order or some sort of secret national police force involved in systematic religious suppression.

As for "the mobs involved" referred to by Visakha Kawasaki, on close examination we are being presented with a term "mobs" that is subjective, vague and undefined. How many mobs are we talking about? If indeed the group of people behaved as a "mob" just who were these people? Were they local people and local Buddhist clergy acting in frustration toward a group of people who were told by their Temple Abbot a year ago to leave? Or were they bussed in by some government agency from afar to beat and humiliate Thich Nhat Hanh's monks and nuns for the purpose of repression? There is a big difference.

These questions cannot be answered with the facts available, to assume they can be is just jumping to conclusions without clear evidence. Is this not true naïveté?
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