On Grave Blunders by the Communist Party of Vietnam Against The Nation and Vietnamese Buddhism.
The Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do
“… unification of Buddhism is a monastic affair between monks and nuns from the two regions. Why were monks in the South and North not allowed to meet and discuss with one another? Why did the government interfere into this affair? …”
IN LIEU OF THE INTRODUCTION
Letter to Mr. Do Muoi
Communist Party of Vietnam’s General Secretariat
Saigon August 19, 1994
To Mr. Do Muoi,
Communist Party of Vietnam’s General Secretariat in Hanoi
I am signing below as the Buddhist monk Thich Quang Do. I would like to present to you a few things as follows:
On this day 49 years ago, my dharma master, The Most Venerable Thich Duc Hai, Abbott of Linh Quang Temple in Thanh Sam village, Ung Hoa township, Ha Hong province, was executed by the communists at 10AM August 19, 1945 (July 12, At Dau lunar calendar year), the day of the revolutionary victory, on the grass field in front of Bat village’s common hall in Ung Hoa township, Ha Dong province, 2 miles from my master’s temple, as the communists had foisted the label “Vietnamese traitor” on him.
My dharma uncle (my master’s dharma older brother) was The Most Venerable Thich Dai Hai, Abbott of Phap Van Temple (Dau temple) in Bac Ninh province, was also arrested by the communists in 1946 and later died for the alleged offense of being a member of Vietnam Nationalist Party.
My dharma ancestor (i.e. dharma grandfather) was Thich Thanh Quyet, Abbott of Tra Lu Trung Temple, Xuan Truong township, Nam Dinh province. In 1954, the communists came to the temple and told my dharma ancestor that he was putting people to sleep with religious opium, that he would be determined to be a bad element and be put to public denouncement. My dharma ancestor was so afraid he hung himself so he would not have to suffer the pain during the denouncement.
Now, it is my turn to be imprisoned by the communists in Phan Dang Luu prison in Ba Chieu, Gia Dinh from April 6, 1977 to December 12, 1978, and sent to exile in Vu Doai Village, Vu Thu district, Thai Binh province since February 25, 1985 for crime of “performing religious work equals doing political activities”. In February 10, 1982, my mother was also arrested by the communists and sent to exile in Vu Doai to live with me for crime that nobody knew; and my mother died tragically on December 14, At Suu lunar calendar year (January 1985) from being severely malnourished and hypothermia. Having been the only one left, I felt that I could not let myself remain exiled innocently, indefinitely, and inhumanely. So, on March 22, 1992 (10 years and 27 days into my exile), after having notified the Ministry of Public Security in Hanoi, I returned to Saigon on March 25, 1992. On April 20, 1992, I received an order from the city Police Bureau that expelled me to the North; an ordained monk can live anywhere without fears of hardship, as long as things are done lawfully. Since I am innocent and entitled to all citizen’s rights, nobody has a right to impulsively allow me to reside when he or she is happy or evict me when unhappy like in 1982. If I am guilty, bring me to trial based on the current laws and prosecute me fairly; I am willing to accept the court’s decision. I am a self-conscious citizen who only wants to live and be governed lawfully. That’s all. I am not hoping for anything more as it is fortunate enough to get that already.
Mr. General Secretariat, the reason I tell you about the tragic deaths of my most beloved ones and my harsh imprisonment through dozens of years is to prove to you that I have all the qualifications to act on behalf of victims of communism to send you the attached “Assessment” in which I have vindicated my dharma master and spoken out about grave blunders by the Communist Party of Vietnam against the nation in general, and against Buddhism specifically. I am fully responsible for what I have said and am willing to receive all consequences which could lead to a tragic death like those of my dharma ancestor, my dharma uncle, my dharma master, my mother, and Quan Ky Tu who was killed by the King of Zheng.
Even if I get killed, I still express my firm belief that communism will not exist for a long time. That belief is not present in my mind just now but it evolved in me right at 10AM, August 19, 1945 (I was 18 years old at the time) when I witnessed my dharma master standing in the middle of Bat village’s common hall, his hands tied tightly with steel wires behind his back, his neck wearing two posters with the words “Vietnamese traitor”; one poster was in front of the chest and the other on his back. On both sides of my master were a group of people holding wooden sticks, spears, and rakes to keep guard on him. A group of people called People’s Court judges stood on the common hall’s veranda floor to administer the court. They forced my master to kneel on the floor and bow his head to listen to the court’s prosecuting his crime. But my master refused to do that. One person from the veranda floor stepped in front of my master’s face and asked “Are you thug, a Vietnamese traitor, still stubborn?”. Upon finishing the question, the person punched my master several times on his jaws. A stream of blood flooded out of my master’s mouth, running along his chin, soaking the “Vietnamese traitor” poster in front of his chest. Immediately, the judges sentenced my master to execution and led him to the grass field in front of the common hall. Blood from my master’s mouth continued to gush out, soaking his long robe and dripping on the common hall’s floor. After reaching the grass field, they wrestled my master to the ground and then one person shot him three times at his temples with a revolver. Another stream of red blood shot up straight and my master died instantly. That blood stream, with the image of my master died hog-tied on the grass, his face all bloodied, the two “Vietnamese traitor” posters soaked with blood, his long robe blood-soaked, his feet blood-soaked, blood spilled onto the grass, blood could be seen everywhere. It has been 49 years, but I still remember those images crystal clear and feel as if it was only some day ago. It is quite a nightmare.
In an extreme excruciation, and with tears streaming down my face, right at that moment sitting on the grass looking at my master’s corpse, I thought communism would not exist for a long time. The reason: communism advocates hatred and class struggle. Beating and killing people like that is too cruel, and what is cruel is usually not long-lasting; history has proven that. Since generally the absolute majority of people love kindness and hate evil, whatever disliked by people do not survive long. Communist Russia’s 74-year existence (1917 – 1991) was not a long time compared to the Li dynasty’s 215-year existence which, according to Professor Hoang Xuan Han, was the most gentle and compassionate dynasty in Vietnamese history.
Then, ever since 1975, I have learned one more thing which is: according to natural law of elimination, whatever satisfies people’s needs, even if it has been buried, would be dug back up; on the other hand, whatever fails to satisfy people’s needs will be self-destroyed. After having actually lived under the communist regime, I have realized that communism fails to satisfy people’s needs: mentally, people have been suppressed and abused; economically, the country is so poor and famished that the government has to follow the capitalists and learn market economy; communism does not exist materially, it exists only on a fake name. The reason why the old Eastern European communist and Soviet Union was self-eliminated because it did not satisfy people’s needs. Nobody sabotaged or eliminated communism, especially Buddhism which never hurts anybody and which has to always defend itself instead against the communist’s destruction and suppression aimed to eliminate Buddhism.
But as I mentioned above, according the natural law of elimination, in some aspect, Buddhism still fulfills people’s needs; therefore it is hard to be eliminated. The evidence is that currently in the North, except for the ones that were completely flattened to make rice fields, temples that were destroyed by the communists have been rebuilt with straw– more well-off villages built a couple of brick houses with western roof tiles (because ancestor’s roof tiles had been completely destroyed), as places to worship the Buddha. Sutras published in Vietnamese that had been burned off for being considered “perverted culture” by the communists, were purchased from the South and hand-copied to distribute to one another. Thus, it is evidenced that people still need Buddhism, whereas, as far as I know, since after 1954 in the North, every household had to hang pictures of “great” international communist leaders such as Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Malenkov, Mao Zedong, Kim Il-sung … etc. But in 1982 when I was sent to exile in Vu Doai village, I did not see anyone, including Party members, hang any of these pictures!
Specifically, North Korea’s Mr. Kim Il-sung: he died recently, and the Communist Party of Vietnam reserved the entire day of July 17, 1994 as a “national mourning” day for him. I humbly think that if Mr. Kim Il-sung had done anything to help the Communist Party of Vietnam, or for “brotherhood as close as between teeth and lips” among international communists, then only the Party and its 1.8 million members mourn his death. What did Mr Kim Il-sung do for the country of Vietnam – and not all 70 millions Vietnamese are Communist Party members, that the government forced the entire population to mourn his death, even only for a day? Why did the Communist Party of Vietnam not build a big temple right in Hanoi to worship Patriarch King Hung and declare March 10 of lunar calendar – Ancestors Remembrance Day, a national holiday and give everybody a whole day off so that the entire nation has a chance to commemorate the National Patriarchs and forefathers who founded and built the country that Communist Party of Vietnam calls home today? Why don’t we pay respect to our own ancestors? The Communist Party of Vietnam treated Mr. Kim Il-sung, a person of foreign descent, nicely while murdering fellow Vietnamese. Every time I recall the image of my master being beaten and shot in front of the village common hall, my heart is pained, anguished, and ashamed for the Lac Hong descendants with 4000 years of history.
Additionally, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese were killed during the class struggle, innovation and denouncement in 1956 in the North. Even though the Communist Party had later corrected and apologized (for killing people wrongly), but has the Party organized a “national mourning” for these innocent victims? How about the countless number of Vietnamese refugees who have drowned in the oceans since April 30, 1975? Who mourns their deaths? If the entire Vietnamese population has to mourn anyone’s death, it is for these victims and not North Korea’s Mr. Kim Il-sung!
Respectfully greetings Mr. General Secretariat.
Thich Quang Do
General Secretary – The Institute for the Dissemination of Dharma
The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam.
- The Most Venerable Thich Huyen Quang – Acting President, The Institute for the Dissemination of Dharma, The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam.
- UBCV Members in Vietnam and abroad
- Leaders of other religions as a FYI