A touching commentary on the Bat Nha petition:
11:58 pm PST, Jan 27, Linh Vuong, Texas
My first encounter with Bat Nha community happened in Northern Vietnam. My trip coincided with Thay Thich Nhat Hanh. I heard he was at a gathering not too far from Hanoi, helping to heal wounds from the war. Yes the war happen more than 20 years ago. Before taking part in this occasion, I knew about relived trauma of American veterans. But I did know the Vietnamese side. My parents did not talk about it. Vietnamese are kind of like that, optimistic, and moving on. Practical about not staying in the past. Here, I met Vietnamese people some I had known before mostly who were visibly still hurting suffering from the war, emotional physical injuries, and from the loved ones they lost. The wounds were fresh. The lessons Thich Nhat Hanh and his community offered to these people, simple gesture of acknowledging their suffering, I could see it was helping eased pain and started healing. I remember the young monks and nuns of Bat Nha. Because among this heavy hearted work, they were so light hearted. I felt a lightness of being around them. They were so funny,cleverly teasing one another and poking fun at me as well. And funny in their gushing excitement to travel to this part of Vietnam. I felt like I was hanging with friends. They treated me as such, inviting me to games (soccer, badminton, hacky sack Vietnamese style) and to share food with them. To this day, I still think they are are some of the most loving, radiant, and peaceful human beings I spent time with. Some of my new friends invited me to Bat Nha monastery. I hadn't plan it but as life goes happen to be spontaneously in the hood, but hesitant to visit unannounced and thinking I need some sort of permission/arrangement. I showed up at the doorstep anyway, and was warmly taken in. Bat Nha is a beautiful place close to virgin tropical forest and tree plantations. The air is crisp and clear, the way the clouds move across the landscapes and sunsets are magical and memorable. I stayed at the monastery, observing the day to day life of my friends and practice doing chores mindfully which was not always easy as my mind likes tended to wonder. Some of the highlights of my visit, were free time, in which my friend would excitedly seat me down and politely press me to dictate some of their readings on compassion because they like to hear American accent and wanted to practice. There was a lot of giggling. And requests for me to repeat, as they pointed out I tend to glue my words together. Although at that time I had only encounter Thich Nhat Hanh in books and readings and only partially knew about his lessons, I witness in my gentle friends at Bat Nha, genuine happiness in their dedication to love and compassion in action. I admire the ways in which the monks and nuns at Bat Nha lived simply and worked enthusiastically and persistently to build bridges of understanding, not only that, but to also share their felt happiness and ways in which to care for suffering with others in the greater community, especially with young adults. For me, it is shocking to discover what has happened to Bat Nha monastery, it is like hearing that my friend's family has been forced from their home, and brothers and sisters forced to be split up. This calls to mind, the words, "An injustice to one is an injustice to all." We are one in the same. Love and support to the Bat Nha community. truth will always rise to light. May we all always persevere, feel, be, and be supported in pure true love, peace, freedom, wisdom, compassion, mindful, and secure sense of being. "You can walk into a room full of darkness and spark the smallest amount of light and all the darkness flees .. but you can never walk into a room full of light with any amount of darkness and make any impact on the energy of light !!"