August 27, 2009
The monks of Bat Nha—a monastery in the Plum Village tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, who is currently recovering from a lung infection in a Boston hospital—face immediate eviction. You can help fight the eviction.
Gary Gach sent this email today, which contains a lot of information on the situation:
Today we are writing to you on behalf of Thich Nhat Hanh, the Zen master, poet, author and peace advocate. In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize, saying "I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this gentle monk from Viet Nam."
As a result of his peace activism, Thich Nhat Hanh was exiled from Viet Nam for 40 years. He founded a monastic community in Plum Village, France, where he teaches, writes, gardens and works to help refugees. He conducts mindfulness retreats worldwide, teaching and practicing non-violence and compassion.
In 2005, he was invited back to Viet Nam. Upon his return, his presence and teachings have inspired more than 400 young Vietnamese to become monastics. His followers were given permission to settle in the Bat Nha Monastery in Viet Nam where they have expanded the facilities, building meditation halls, living quarters, dining halls and kitchens.
After all these years, the Vietnamese government continues to see Thich Nhat Hanh and his followers as a threat. Again they want to banish him, his community and his growing number of followers from Viet Nam. Over 400 monastics at Bat Nha Monastery have been told that they must leave the monastery by September 2 or they will be removed by force.
The violence has already begun. The monks and nuns have been the target of hostile and violent acts. Their belongings were confiscated, gates to the monastery have been locked, lay persons and supporters are prohibited from entering, police have searched and interrogated monks and nuns at all hours, electricity and water have been turned off and food deliveries have been prevented. Yet in spite of these human rights and religious freedom violations, the monks and nuns have stayed. We fear for their safety.
We have only two short weeks to help. We are asking for your support in writing to your representatives and government officials to end the violations against the monks and nuns at Bat Nha and allow them to stay in the monastery and continue their practice peacefully.Some helpful information is listed below.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.
Gina Bell and Joan Indusi
For more information and sample letters:
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton
(scroll to bottom for Contact Us)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Sen. Chuck Schumer
Members of the House
(upper left corner to find/write to your representative)