PARIS, 16 March 2008 (IBIB) – In face of the Chinese government’s violent military crackdown on peaceful protests of Buddhists in Tibet, the Very Venerable Thich Quang Do, Deputy leader of the outlawed Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) has sent a “Message of Solidarity from the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam to H.H. the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet”, expressing support for their peaceful struggle for freedom. The message was sent clandestinely to the International Buddhist Information Bureau from the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery in Saigon, where Thich Quang Do is under house arrest.
Deeply disturbed to hear that over 80 people had been killed by the Chinese military forces, and that Chinese Police had deliberately provoked violence by dressing as monks and lashing out at the peaceful demonstrators, Thich Quang Do wrote to the Dalai Lama:
Institute for the Dissemination of the Faith
Thanh Minh Zen Monastery, 90 Tran Huy Lieu, District 15
Phu Nhuan Ward, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
|Buddhist Era 2551||
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
“I express the profound shock and grief of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam on the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations by Buddhist monks, nuns and civilians in Tibet. Buddhism is a philosophy of peace and non-violence. Yet the peaceful protests of Buddhists all over Asia – in Tibet, Burma and Vietnam – are being quelled with brutality and bloodshed. The Chinese government says repression will bring “order and stability”. But we Buddhists know that violence cannot dispel violence, that brute force cannot engender peace.
“The Buddhists of Tibet are struggling to prevent the suppression of their culture and their faith, and protesting the injustice of one-Party rule. Only dialogue, not destruction, can open the way to a lasting solution in Tibet. In my view, China must first cease the violence and open a meaningful dialogue with Your Holiness, as the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. To support this dialogue, the United Nations, world governments, parliaments and the whole international community must press the Chinese to cease repression and concretely address the Tibetan people’s legitimate demands.
“In Asia today, authoritarian regimes repress Buddhism, for they fear it as a force of freedom and peace. Yet they also seek to use Buddhism as a propaganda tool, and harness its potential for their expansionist aims. In China, in April 2006, for the very first time in 57 years of communism, Beijing organized the First World Forum on Buddhism, with participants from around 30 nations. This year in Vietnam, on 12-17 May, the Hanoi government will host the United Nation’s Day of the Vesak with over 4,000 international participants. But as Hanoi’s leaders glorify Lord Buddha’s Birth, they ruthlessly repress Lord Buddha’s followers. The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam is outlawed today and its followers are harassed or detained. How ironic it is that only Communists and foreigners will be free to celebrate the Vesak, whilst we independent Buddhists will be absent from the scene?
“On behalf of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), I pray for all those who have lost their lives or freedom in these demonstrations, and for all monks and nuns whose whereabouts is unknown. I wholly support the Tibetan people’s courageous struggle for survival, and share your aspirations for the right to freedom and life. Today, we are all Tibetans. The Buddhists of Vietnam stand beside you in this non-violent struggle for religious freedom and human rights. For without human rights, human beings can never fully and freely exist.
“The UBCV Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang and I, as well as the whole UBCV leadership will never forget the numerous appeals made by Your Holiness throughout the 1990s, to obtain our release from the communist jails. During those dark days, we were not aware of your efforts. Only when I was amnestied from prison in 1998 did I learn from the UBCV’s spokesman Vo Van Ai about your humane and crucial intervention. I will never forget your solidarity with the outlawed UBCV. You are always in my prayers, and I hope with all my heart and strength that you will succeed in guiding the Tibetan people through these difficult times.
Head of the Institute for the Dissemination
of the Faith (Vien Hoa Dao)
Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam
Sramana THICH QUANG DO”