THE STRUGGLE AGAINST REACTIONARIES EXPLOITING BUDDHISM IN THE NEW STAGE
Tran Tu – March 3, 2005.
Vietnamese Buddhism is a big religion with a tradition of bonding with people. The majority of lay Buddhists and monastics are patriotic and passionate about socialism.
In the north, “The Buddhist Church of Unified Vietnam” is the only patriotic Buddhist organization adopting socialism and is a member of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front. Currently, Buddhism in the North consists of about 3,000 monks and nuns; followers are mostly old men and women (mainly elderly women). Typically senior monks are too old and frail for any activity. The young monastics possess low levels of education as well as Buddhist philosophy, and are incapable of assuming the task of exploiting Buddhism in the south and in international activities. However, currently the “Buddhist Church of Unified Vietnam” is training a number of young monastics but it is not until at least decades from now can these monastics handle the above-mentioned responsibilities.
In the south, Buddhism consists of many organizations and sects; the majority of monastics and lay Buddhists were active in the struggle against the Americans and their puppets. But the American puppets also use numerous deceptive schemes and ploys to cause division, sway, and degenerate a number of monastics and lay Buddhists in all Buddhist organizations and sects (most prominently within “The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam” organization), to turn these organizations and sects into tools to fight against the Revolution. Presently, Buddhism in the south has eight large organizations and sects operating in more than 10,000 monastics, nearly 5000 temples and has about 2.5 million followers (already taken refuge). Many monastics are intellectuals who have earned advanced levels in dharma and some are well-known in international religious organizations. Many monastics and lay Buddhists who came back after their training abroad are currently still actively participating in many activities of the Church. Many monastics have “disrobed” but in reality still remained active with the Church and a small number of these people are presently participating in some government’s offices. The reactionaries exploiting Buddhism in the south since April 30, 1975 are still collaborating with a number of reactionary monastics living in exile to act against the Vietnamese revolution. However they can not turn around the situation. Additionally, the majority of monastics and lay Buddhists in the south remain patriotic and bonded with the regime.
From the practical situation of Buddhism in our country, Decree number 09-CT/TW, issued on May 18, 1977 by the Central Board of Directors of the Vietnamese Communist Party, stated the policy towards Buddhism as follows: “… “carefully prepare to form a public patriotic organization for the whole country. To the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (An Quang Buddhist Church), there must be a plan to re-educate and after a good reeducation we will put it in the public Buddhist organization of the country”. This decree aims to cumulate Buddhism nationwide, eliminate Buddhist organizations established under the American puppet’s regime, making the unified buddhist organization a member of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front.
To implement the above policy, the People’s Central Propaganda Committee has assisted a number of specific well-known and well respected monastics and lay Buddhists in both the north and south to establish “The Committee To Campaign for Buddhist Unification” on December 2, 1980 to execute the campaign to unify Buddhism across the country according to the principle “Unifying the wills and actions, unifying leadership and organization, while other school traditions and practicing methods can be still maintained” (1). From practical situations (position and power) of above-mentioned Buddhist organizations and schools nationwide, the personnel structure of “The Committee to Campaign For Buddhist Unification” must manage to occupy as many “seats” as possible for the representatives of Buddhism in the south.
The creation of “The Committee to Campaign for Buddhist Unification”, supported by a large number of monastics and lay Buddhists in Buddhist organizations and sects nationwide, including a number in the “An Quang Buddhist Church” organization. This is because their desire is to unify Buddhism so they can operate with a larger magnitude. But the reactionaries exploiting Buddhism, especially those of An Quang Buddhist Church (including domestic and abroad) are still in search of ways to contest the unification of Buddhism based on the following tendencies:
- Agreeing to unify Buddhism nationwide, but the unification must be modeled after “The Association of Church groups.” An Quang Buddhist Church has to occupy many “seats” in the leadership at central and local levels; unifying but being able to introduce materials to spread activities of Buddhism. Representing this tendency is Tri Quang, actively supported by Don Hau, Tri Thu, Thien Sieu and the leadership of An Quang Buddhist Church in central cities.
- Not agreeing to unify under any form, therefore they find all methods to obstruct the unification, boycott the conference, not sending delegation from An Quang Buddhist Church to the conference, since they are afraid that once Buddhism is unified they will lose their Buddhist leadership positions. Representing this tendency is Huyen Quang who is actively supported by Quang Do, Thuyen An and a number of extremely reactionary monastics in Ho Chi Minh city and central cities.
These 2 rebellious tendencies are expressed most clearly when “The Committee to Campaign for Buddhist Unification” was created: “The Committee to Campaign for a Unified Buddhism” introduction in Ho Chi Minh city (May 15, 1980), in Hue (May 24, 1980): “The Committee to campaign for Buddhist Unification” meeting with the “Institute for the Dissemination of Dharma Council” of An Quang Buddhist Church at An Quang temple in Ho Chi Minh city and when “An Quang Buddhist Church” contributed to the draft “Constitution” of “Vietnamese Buddhist Church” (2), even when selecting representatives to attend the “Conference of Representatives to Unify Vietnamese Buddhism”. However, they don’t have, in general, the noticeable means and activities. They only bribe, cause division and criticize members of An Quang Buddhist Church who joined the “Committee to Campaign for Buddhist Unification.”
We firmly guide the the campaign with the method: convert, educate, and persuade the people with advanced inclinations like ours. These people include: Tri Tinh, Mat Hien, and the leaders of other Buddhist organizations. Meanwhile we also actively reinforce the faith in those whose thoughts are unsettled and wavering such as Tri Thu, Don Hau, Hanh Tru, Thanh Tri. On the other hand, we also engage to alienate and expose the reactionaries and extremists such as: Huyen Quang, Quang Do, Thuyen An, Thong Buu … in Ho Chi Minh city; Duc Tam, Thien Hanh, Thanh Huyen, Dieu Khong in Hue. At the beginning we already manipulated a number of leadership figures in some organizations and schools (especially the monastics belonging to Buddhist organizations in the north and the monastics in “The Patriotic Buddhist Affairs of Ho Chi Minh city” and gathered support of the majority of monastics and lay Buddhist nationwide. Therefore the conditions are relatively ripen (compare to the position and strength of the current Buddhist situation) to unify Buddhism as designed by our plot. In light of this situation, a plan derived in the Decree number 40-NQ/TW issued October 1, 1981 by the Central Party’s Executive Committee, identified its policy as follows: Help “the Committee to Campaign for Buddhist Unification” establish a common organization for Buddhism nationwide that follows the path of national and socialism, and establish that foundation to eliminate An Quang Buddhist Church.
In implementing this scheme, we coordinated with the Central People’s Campaign Committee to help “The Committee to Campaign for Buddhist Unification” open the “Conference to Unify Vietnamese Buddhism” at Quan Su Temple, Hanoi, from November 4 to November 11, 1981 gathering 165 monastic and lay Buddhist representing the 9 largest Buddhist organizations and schools, through the constitution elected the central leadership for Buddhism in the entire country. Even though the group of Huyen Quang, Quang Do, Thuyen An opposed to the bitter end, An Quang Buddhist Church still elected 33 people to attend the conference. Having faced with the conference’s solemn atmosphere, a number of bad elements within An Quang Buddhist Church’s delegation did not dare to cause any significant disruption. Generally, the Conference to Unify Vietnamese Buddhism in principle achieved political requirements (however we have to think more about the personnel of the central leadership, on the police perspectives). An Quang Buddhist Church was very pleased with the leadership that they occupy in the 2 central leadership committees in national Buddhism (Central Approval Committee and Management Committee.)
After the conclusion of the conference, on November 8, 1981, the Central Management Committee met for the first time at Quan Su Temple to expand the operations of Vietnamese Buddhism. The people of An Quang Buddhist Church who were members of the Central Management Committee still find all ways to sway the organization right from its early days, they did not agree to let “Vietnamese Buddhist Church” officially join the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, instead only agreed that Vietnamese Buddhist Church has representatives in the Vietnamese Fatherland Front. On the other hand, after this conference, An Quang Buddhist Church still hoped the “excessive” era between national Buddhist organization and the old Buddhist organizations to last for some more time so they could get people of An Quang Buddhist Church into “key” positions in the leadership of local Vietnamese Buddhism. Therefore, their goal for all local leaders of An Quang Buddhist Church is to operate “capriciously” (meaning working both for Vietnamese Buddhist Church and the old An Quang Buddhist Church).
All the above scenarios prove that: “the fight against reactionaries exploiting Buddhism in Vietnam in the current period is not as “leisured” as remarked by some some people or communities; this fight remains lengthy, tense, and complicated. Thus, it requires police at all levels to think of new suitable combat methods for the current situations in order to actively fight against the activities of reactionaries exploiting Buddhism in Vietnam, especially nowadays Vietnamese Buddhism still commands the attention of many imperialist capitalist nations such as: The U.S, France, Japan … and international organization in general as well as international religious organizations in particular.
In this article, we only raise few personal opinions about the fight against plots and activities of the reactionaries taking advantage of Buddhism in Vietnam.
To secure victories in the current fight against the reactionaries exploiting Buddhism needs specific confirmation of the subjects we have to fight, suppress, isolate, and disunify. To the ones whom we need to manipulate, let us convert, educate, and manipulate them at all levels. Concurrently, we must fight to wipe out Buddhist organizations established in the era of American and their puppets (from central to local levels) in order to decimate the support and foundation of the reactionaries. On the other hand, we must guide monastics and lay Buddhists to actively participate in the building of a mutual Buddhist organization for the whole country which eventually must be a member of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front.
First, we need to execute well the following tasks:
- Reinforce and update the team of detectives who are able to fight against the reactionaries exploiting Buddhism.
In provinces, special zones, and districts crowded with monastics and lay Buddhists (especially in southern provinces), there needs to have detectives specialized in fighting against the reactionaries exploiting Buddhism. Position and arrange appropriate detectives depending on specific situations. Police in Ho Chi Minh city and Binh Tri Thien province specifically (areas of utmost importance), we need to reinforce the team of detectives assuming this task, both in quantity and quality.
The reinforcement and update above-mentioned expert authorities at police levels have to happen concurrently with the furnish of basic Buddhist knowledge, experience in engagement/fight and guidelines, religious policies that Party and Government have assigned to the detectives.
Reality has shown that only detectives who love their work, having acquired intimate real-world experience, along with deep professional knowledge in this discipline are qualified to accomplish successfully the task assigned in fighting against reactionaries exploiting Buddhism. If there is no specialized agents it will be hard to comprehend the situation timely, fully and exactly, therefore these agents cannot be active in the task.
The special subject office of A16 (3) need to urgently compile lectures, preliminary writings, summary of the experience fighting against the reactionaries exploiting Buddhism in Vietnam to circulate and furnish basic knowledge to detectives performing this task at police levels. On the other hand, we need to organize and invest in detectives who have potentials in focused research in grand specialized subjects in Buddhism related to multiple, to international organizations. At the same time, guide local vicinities to research topics within their own locales.
People’s Security high schools and universities need to systematically introduce the contents of the fight against reactionaries exploiting Buddhism into their teaching curricula.
- Need to reinforce and reorganize the assignment of gathering intelligence.
The special subject office of A16 (4) need to invest in personnel combined with other teams of detectives to pinpoint organizations and activities from abroad affecting domestic Buddhist organizations (especially to An Quang Buddhist Church), at the same time discover conspiracies, approaches, and ploys of the oversea reactionaries exploiting Buddhism. Comprehend international religious organizations so that the Bureau (5) can cooperate with the Central Committee of People’s Campaign advise the Party and Government about external affairs tasks in the field of Buddhism on the international stage. The People’s General Ministry of Security need to cooperate with Soviet Union’s securities in the task to manipulate and seize the international religious group as well as other Buddhist organizations in Asia … to serve the common fight in the field of Buddhism by socialist countries.
The task to gather intelligence by police at all levels needs to be managed closely, with guaranteed accuracy and in timely fashion, with the first emphasis on the operation of the reactionaries exploiting Buddhism in southern cities in current situations.
- The task to manipulate the public monastics and lay Buddhists in the fight against the reactionaries exploiting Buddhism, creating new Buddhist organizations according to our protocol from central to local levels … is a necessary work presently as well as in the long run that police at all levels have to carry out.
In northern cities, police needs to coordinate with the People’s Campaign committees and Front organizations to select a number of young local Buddhist monastics and send them to central Buddhist colleges at Quan Su temple (Hanoi) to train to become future leaders for Buddhism in northern cities. Cities with many monastics such as: Hanoi, Ha Nam Ninh, Ha Bac, Hai Phong, Ha Son Binh … so on need to campaign and educate the public, monastics and lay Buddhists to fight against demonic, superstitious activities and guide them back to purely traditional religious activities.
In southern cities, especially in complicated and important locations that have many monastics and lay Buddhists such as: Hue (Binh Tri Thien), Ho Chi Minh city, Dong nai and cities in the old Provincial 5, security commanders at all levels need to invest in time to lead teams of specialized detectives plan to fight specifically and wholly against every Buddhist organization and school according to the spirits of Decree number 40-NQ/TW, dated October 1, 1981 of the Central Executive Committee of the Vietnamese Communist Party
In applying professional police methods to fight against reactionaries exploiting Buddhism in Vietnam, we must be thorough to develop the power of the Government’s Constitution and laws, especially using Resolution 297/CP of the Government Committee dated November 11, 1977.
- Continue to execute well basic processional police assignments in the fight against the reactionaries exploiting Buddhism.
Communities need to complete the task of investigations according to the established project. In investigating Buddhism schools in southern cities, we need to pay overall attention to compiling sources of documentation, from which some sources are left over from our enemies, documents developed from enemy individuals and other documentations collected from our detectives. We need to specially investigate Buddhist organizations established under the American’s puppet era, Buddhist charities, Thich Nhat Hanh’s School of Youth Serving Society, Buddhist Chaplain Office, other cultural, educational organizations assisted by international organizations, Buddhist organizations and movements that was operating under the ploy “neutral” or “opposition” of the American and puppets’ government, monastics, lay Buddhists who returned home after studying abroad, monastics and lay Buddhists either publicly or secretly cooperated with the American’s puppets and who are still working in Buddhist organizations or government’s offices…
In Binh Tri Thien and Ho Chi Minh cities, we need to continue to fight with established special strategies, at the same time we need to develop modern special plans against leading reactionary figures in An Quang Buddhist Church and a number of young reactionary monastics who are hatching plans and are working to exploit Buddhism to rebel against the Revolution.
The tasks to build and guide special intelligence agents (6) holds an extremely vital position in the assignment to discover and disintegrate the network of spies and reactionaries exploiting Buddhism. We need to forcibly embed special intelligence agents into individuals that the American’s puppets selected and dropped behind, especially the ones with good reputation and power in Vietnamese and international Buddhism such as: senior Buddhist monks at levels of Most Venerable and Most Senior Venerable, a number of young Venerables who have high level of educations and deep knowledge in Buddhist dharma. To this type of individuals, we need to carefully research about their family history and relationships in order to overpower, convert, educate, persuade and prevent them from lying and betraying.
First, we have to attentively solve the following fundamental issues:
– After “The Conference To Unified Vietnamese Buddhism” in Hanoi, local Buddhist churches will proceed to create management teams at all levels as per the spirit of “the constitution” and the resolution of “The Conference to Unify Vietnamese Buddhism”. The police should cooperate with the people’s campaigning committee and the fatherland front at all level to implement necessary assignment in order to protect and guide the unification of Buddhism according to our guideline.
– In communities that have members of An Quang Buddhist Church, we need to campaign according to our line and policy. Avoid being selfishly biased against them, lobby and entice them to the leadership of Vietnamese Buddhist Church at all levels, separate them from the dangerous reactionaries. For the ones with unfavorable past who are still stubbornly opposing us, we must be determined not to let them participate in the leadership at any level.
– In areas with dissenting elements, we need to increase the frequency of investigations. In the fighting task, specific plans are required to initiate, immediately discover, and to take necessary preventive measures against destructive acts aimed toward the unification of Buddhism at locals. In areas with the presence of An Quang Buddhist Church, we need to collaborate with the people’s campaigning committee and Fatherland Front and to derive specific plan requesting input from our superior to eradicate An Quang Buddhist Church at all levels.
– Police in local areas need to actively plan to plant special intelligence agents (7) to participate in leadership roles of the church at all levels. The areas without special intelligence agents need to have screening plan to select a number of favorable candidates who have good reputation in the church, nurture them to become special intelligence agents then bestow on them leadership positions in the new Buddhist organizations in local areas. We can select among the senior monks or monastics who used to be undesirable but has recently improved attitudes and plant them in the delegation at all levels. After that we can appeal them to become special intelligence agents serving the common fight.
Vietnamese Buddhism has long received the “attention” from many countries such as: The U.S, France, England, Japan … and from international religious organizations. In current situation, the reactionaries exploiting Vietnamese Buddhism and the exiles from abroad are trying to obstruct our national Buddhist unification, opposing the religious policy from our Party and Government, accusing us of repressing Buddhism … and so on.
Therefore the fighting task against the reactionaries exploiting Buddhism in Vietnam remains lengthy and complicated. That reality requires the agents assuming the fighting task against the reactionaries exploiting Buddhism to have a further and deeper vision in order to actively engage the enemy. It is for this same reason that the collaboration with security forces from socialist countries in this field is very necessary.
- “News Release” of “The Committee to Campaign for a Unified Vietnamese Buddhism”, signed and issued to all Buddhist churches and foundation nationwide by Thich Tri Thu.
- “Vietnamese Buddhist Church” is the national Buddhist Church in Vietnam, created on November 4, 1981.
- A16 belongs to the Police Bureau, equivalent to X15 2nd Ministry Counter Intelligence of the Department of Defense, specialized in preparing paterials including fake counter intelligence documents (fake news, fake documents, and fake photos) to smear and breakup opponents organization)
- See (3)
- The Police Bureau
- Special intelligence agent planted into Buddhist organizations to cause destruction of these organizations
- See (6)