Reactions To The New Year Message By The Most Venerable Thich Quang Do and Situations at UBCV’s Giac Minh Temple in Danang City

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In an interview with the Vietnamese Buddhist Radio (http://daiphatgiao.free.fr) on Friday February 25, 2011, the Most Venerable Thich Thanh Quang, Chief Representative of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) in Quang Nam – Danang and Head of the UBCV Youth Bureau, reported the reactions by young Buddhists in Danang city to the New Year Message by the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, Patriarch of the UBCV.

According to the Most Venerable Thich Thanh Quang, many young Buddhists revealed that they had been mislead by the propaganda campaign against the UBCV by the communist government of Vietnam. After reading the New Year Message 2011 by the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, many young followers realized that they had been wrongly influenced by state-controlled media and had wrong views about the UBCV. Young Buddhist followers said the communist government has been labeling the UBCV as a political organization promoting the overthrowing of the Communist Party’s government. However, these young followers realized that the UBCV goals and objectives follow the Buddha’s teachings of compassion and helping all sentient beings; the UBCV is for the preservation of the country’s territory; the UBCV is for the promotion of human rights and democracy; the UBCV is for freedom of religion; and the UBCV is for bliss and happiness to the people.

About current situations of the UBCV in general and at Giac Minh Temple in Danang city specifically, the Most Venerable Thich Thanh Quang reported: Since 1981, all leaders of the UBCV have been either imprisoned or abused by the government. Giac Minh Temple has suffered constant abuses under all forms of schemes over the last 30 years. The government have falsely accused the UBCV as causing disunity and threatened Buddhists with “disasters” if they go to Giac Minh Temple. As a result, nobody dared to visit the temple. Police regularly check for residency registration at the temple and they always do this at midnight. The Most Venerable described a situation where he heard someone knock on the temple’s door at midnight. As soon as the Most Venerable opened the door, police bursted into the temple and ordered all monks and nuns to sit on the floor with their legs crossed. The police pointed the finger at the Most Venerable’s face and declared “Tomorrow, all of you have to leave the temple and return to your hometowns.” Facing such threats and intimidations, monks and nuns at Giac Minh Temple had to seek temporary refuge at some good-hearted Buddhists; they leave the temple at 9PM and return at 3AM to chant sultras and pray to the Buddha. After about 5-7 days, the monks and nuns have to move to a new location. During important Buddhist celebrations such as Vesak celebration 2010, the government mobilized hundreds of undercover police and thugs to block entrances to Giac Minh Temple, forbidding anyone from coming to the temple even to pay respects to their late parents and ancestors. Those who did not leave the scene were severely beaten and dragged away bloodily.