Still More About Religious Policy in Vietnam
After writing two earlier hubs -
- I have read one more article about the matter:
The problem seems to be Thich Nhat Hanh's habit of saying his opinion. He has asked the Vietnamese president to abolish the so-called "religious police" (a police that is not very religious) and government's control of religious activities.
A natural thing to say for someone who has lived in France and the USA, but obviously not acceptable to the Vietnamese authorities.
Even more: the annual journal of his institution in France, Plum Village, has proposed "that the government abandon Communism, take the word Communist out of the name of the ruling political party and remove 'Socialist' from the country’s official name". A debatable proposal - Socialism, and even Communism, taken in the original meaning of these words, are by no means strange to original Buddhist thought (or original Christian thought, for that matter; the so called "Christian Right" is not very Christian). The problem is whether the political system of Vietnam (or China, or Cuba, or the former Soviet block) has any Socialism except in its name.
But if something is debatable, it should be debated - not silenced.
A problem now is whether Thich Nhat Hanh's disciples in Vietnam are chased away by the local abbot, as says the government, or by the government, as say some others. Puppets are not uncommon in dictatorships.
We will se what will happen.