I'd like to share a recent letter:
I am writing to report the latest situation with the Bat Nha (Prajna) monastics and to convey Plum Village's request for financial help to relocate them for temporary asylum outside of Viet Nam.
As you know, despite much effort at intervention by the international community, by the end of 2009 the nearly 400 young monks and nuns of Bat Nha were all ejected by force and totally dispersed from the monastery. Bat Nha is history. Some of the monastics have ended in small numbers at a few temples here and there which are willing, quietly, to let them stay, some trying hard to maintain the practice by themselves at home, and about 160 went to Thailand where they have been receiving a lot of support by the local community.
Despite the difficult situations, the spirits are reported to be high. The monastics are confident of their spiritual direction and of the support from Plum Village, as well as many of us around the world.
The stories they tell of their last days together, of the brutal treatment they received, and what they are having to do to maintain diligence in the practice, are both heart breaking and heart warming. The whole saga is an shining example of how the practice of love and compassion--as manifested through the non-violence on the part of the monastics towards the brutality they received--can offer not only peace but also strength in difficult times. Many of the details could be found at helpbatnha.org.
Plum Village is making plans to help over 300 of the monastics to obtain temporary asylum in Thailand, France, the US and other international locations. (We on the East Coast may see an increase in the monastic population at Blue Cliff itself.) The main costs associated with this process are for visa and passport fees, and especially for air transportation from Viet Nam. Plum Village is making a request for financial support to make the location of the monastics possible. Any amount you can give would be gratefully accepted. Donations to Plum Village are tax-deductible.
If you could help, please send check or money order made out to Unified Buddhist Church (legal name for Plum Village) to:
Sr. Dang Nghiem/Sr. Huong Nghiem
Deer Park Monastery
2499 Melru Lane
Escondido, CA 92026
with a note indicating that the donation is for the Bat Nha fund.
Thank you for helping.
With a deep bow,