The Future of Vietnamese Buddhism? by mattsteinglass
March 5, 2007, 3:24 pm
Filed under: Buddhism, Vietnam

This very interesting young monk was on hand in Ho Chi Minh City for the arrival of Thich Nhat Hanh a couple of weeks back. He’s Vietnamese, but went to France in 2000 to study with Hanh because he “didn’t see a wide future” in traditional Buddhism as it’s practiced in Vietnam today. He’s since helped establish a monastery near Dalat that focuses on Hanh’s approachable style of Zen, centered around a philosophy of “mindfulness”.  I found it really interesting as an example of what’s driving young Vietnamese these days who are interested in religion and searching for alternatives that mesh well with modern economies and lifestyles.


5 Comments so far
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I’m giving him a call. I keed.

Just saw the other youtube videos you posted – first time I’ve ever seen Thich Nhat Hanh. He is to the Vietnamese people as Rachel Ray is to soccer moms.

Comment by Thông

Oh, dang, that was stupid, I forgot that was on there! I have to take that down! Stupid.

Comment by mattsteinglass

the expulsion of thich nhat hanh from his native country was a blessing in disguise. he brought a very fresh and approachable tradition of zen buddhism to europe and america. for that i am very grateful. now the opportunity may be there for thay to return and re-establish his beautiful dharma in his homeland. peace.

Comment by romull

great to see Thay Trung Hai up on YouTube – nice work.

He was ordained a Dharma Teacher by Thich Nhat Hanh January 2006 – and during this ceremony, known as Transmission of the Lamp, TNH made very clear that he has a lot of faith in Thay Trung Hai to help renew and rejuvinate Buddhism in Vietnam.

A good catch for your wee video here!

Comment by natasha

I was relieved to see you’d recognized the risks in not cutting out Thay Trung Hai’s recitation of his name and phone number for you from the video on YouTube.

At first, i thought it quite irresponsible to NOT edit that out, especially given that you apparently understand well that the Vietnam government sometimes punishes outspoken Buddhist monks — not that Thay Trung Hai’s said anything obviously controversial in your video.

But the phone number is still being given in the version of the video i watched a few minutes ago on YouTube.

And, IMHO, as someone who has recently converted to Buddhism after having lived and worked in SàiGòn for over a dozen years, there are many times that the government here will consider unauthorized public statements as “threats to national security” even if they seem completely non-controversial to me or other westerners.

In the case of Trung Hai’s statements, it might be worth noting that the government has a very strong interest in the what goes into the minds of young Vietnamese, as evidenced by their very well-funded Youth Culture Houses and the thousands of “cultural” and “educational” programs they present nationwide all year round.

I would not want to bet much that Trung Hai’s ideas would not be interpreted by the powers that be as being at odds with their own.

But, that said, even if no political risk exists, aren’t you somewhat unjustifibly exposing Thay Trung Hai to potentially worldwide abuse of his phone number?

Comment by andi

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