PARIS, 16 November 2015 (IBIB) – The Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church in Vietnam (UBCV) has sent a message of condolences to French President François Hollande following the series of massive, coordinated terrorist attacks that shook Paris on Friday 13th November 2015.
Vietnam’s longest-detained prisoner of conscience, Thich Quang Do expressed the sadness and sympathy of all UBCV Buddhist monks, nuns and followers, and conveyed their prayers to the French President and the people of Paris. Deeply shocked by the tragic events, he said that the Vietnamese “have long experience of suffering, enduring decades of war and unabated political repression” and therefore felt “closely bound to all those who experience suffering in their lives”. He denounced the “acts of destruction perpetrated against innocent citizens [which are] are both cruel and cowardly”, and said that the terrorists, “trapped within a universe of hatred [..] cannot understand that hatred can only engender violence and suffering”.
Thich Quang Do, 87, a prominent dissident and outspoken government critic, has spent over 30 years under different forms of detention (prison, internal exile and house arrest), and is currently under house arrest without charge at the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). He sent the letter clandestinely to the International Buddhist Information Bureau, asking us to forward it to French President François Hollande.
(Full texte below)
Message of Condolences to President François Hollande
I am writing on behalf of all Buddhist monks, nuns and followers of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam to express our deepest sympathy and condolences to all the people of Paris who suffered so atrociously in the terrorist attacks on Friday 13th November, in which some 130 people died and hundreds were wounded. We share your burden of sorrow and grief, and pray for you and your people in these dark days.
These acts of destruction perpetrated against innocent citizens are both cruel and cowardly. Those who committed them have brought shame and dishonour to their cause. Trapped within a universe of hatred, they cannot understand that hatred can only engender violence and suffering. We are deeply shocked by this unspeakable tragedy, and express our heartfelt sympathies to all the victims, their families and friends. We pray that durable solutions may be found, based on mutual comprehension and understanding.
In Vietnam, we have long experience of suffering, enduring decades of war and unabated political repression. We thus feel closely bound to all those who experience suffering in their lives. Today, many Vietnamese Buddhists, human rights defenders and members of other religions are persecuted simply for peacefully expressing their beliefs. I myself have spent three decades in detention, and I am under house arrest as I write to you today. I send this letter through underground channels, hoping fervently that it reaches you safe and sound.
Please accept the sincere condolences of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, and the expression of my highest consideration.
Fifth Supreme Partriach
Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam