Bat Nha incident: Did Thay followers take heart to his wisdom?

by Ven Dharmakara, Los Angeles, CA, The Buddhist Channel, Oct 13, 2009

Even though Visakha Kawasaki brought up some excellent points, I believe that the Ven. Kobutsu Malone is correct that it might be wise to be suspicious of the recent Bat Nhan Monastery stories, especially since many have decided to take sides simply by applying an "us against them" mentality, the "us" being the greater Buddhist community at large.

To quote Thich Nhat Hanh, "In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us," so could we not be seeing the same behavior actually being applied by some of Thay's supporters in the events being reported?

There's also the animosity and ill will that was displayed by Thay's supporters when greeting representatives of the Buddhist Church of Vietnam (BCV) who came out to Bat Nhan to investigate their claims of harassment at the beginning of the stand-off, where the representatives were greeted by having dung thrown at them... definitely not very mindful.

Maybe this whole situation could have been avoided if they had taken to heart Thay's own words and just quietly surrendered the monastery:

"When we come into contact with the other person, our thoughts and actions should express our mind of compassion, even if that person says and does things that are not easy to accept."

Better yet, maybe they should have seen the whole issue of their residency at Bat Nhan in the light of being impermanent, doing so in accordance with the practice they supposedly have undertaken in the first place.
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