Materialien zum Neobuddhismus


Wilhelm II.: "Völker Europas, wahrt Eure heiligsten Güter!"

4. USA und Hawaii

7. Vietnamesischer Buddhismus in den USA

von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --  4. USA und Hawaii. -- 7. Vietnamesischer Buddhismus in den USA. -- Fassung vom 2005-07-07. -- URL: -- [Stichwort].

Erstmals publiziert: 2005-06-16

Überarbeitungen: 2005-07-07 [Ergänzungen]; 2005-06-30 [Ergänzungen]

Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung Neobuddhismus, Univ. Tübingen, SS 2005

Copyright: Dieser Text steht der Allgemeinheit zur Verfügung. Eine Verwertung in Publikationen, die über übliche Zitate hinausgeht, bedarf der ausdrücklichen Genehmigung des Verfassers.

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Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Buddhismus von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

0. Übersicht

1. Einleitung

Der Vietnamkrieg führte nicht nur dazu, dass Amerikaner im Land mit den Buddhismen von Südvietnam, Laos, Kambodscha und Thailand in Berührung kamen. Die Flüchtlinge und Kriegsbräute aus diesen Ländern führten zu einer massiven südostasiatischen Immigration in die USA und damit zur Bildung ethnischer buddhistischer Gruppen und Institutionen. Außerdem führte die Antikriegsbewegung in den USA zu einer intensiveren Auseinandersetzung mit Buddhismus.

2. Hintergrund: Der Vietnamkrieg und die Antikriegsbewegung

2.1. Der Vietnamkrieg

"The Vietnam War was a war fought roughly from 1957 to 1975 after the North Vietnamese government secretly agreed to begin involvement in South Vietnam. Time period placement for the Vietnam War is sketchy. Some consider the Vietnam War to have begun in 1946 with the French attempt to re-establish control over their colony. This definition comes from those who tend to include the war with France, the war between the two Vietnams after 1954, and the war with the American troops until the fall of Saigon in 1975. Many more people separate the 29-year conflict in Vietnam into two separate wars, First Indochina War which was with the French and the Second Indochina War which was with the Americans. The difficulty in this is establishing a beginning and an end. The fighting with the French was more clear cut (1946 when the Vietnemese wrote their constitution to 1954 with the Geneva Peace Accord). The fighting with the Americans was less clear cut. The American government began giving funding to the French fight in the early 1950s. After the peace agreement, American troops were stationed in South Vietnam. From there on, the American involvement simply escalated. Many Americans consider the Vietnam War, the conflict between US and NVA troops, to have not begun until 1965 after the Gulf of Tonkin incident, when the US says N. Vietnamese attacked US Navy ships. The report was latter proven to be falsified. The war was fought on the ground in South Vietnam and bordering areas of Cambodia and Laos (see Secret War) and in the strategic bombing (see Operation Rolling Thunder) of North Vietnam. In Vietnam, the conflict is known as the American War (Vietnamese Chiến Tranh Chống Mỹ Cứu Nước, which literally means "War Against the Americans to Save the Nation"). For more details of the events during the war, see: Timeline of the Vietnam War. Many experts consider the Vietnam to just be one frontline in the larger Cold War.

Fighting on one side was a coalition of forces including the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam or the "RVN"), the United States, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. Participation by the South Korean military was financed by the United States, but Australia and New Zealand fully funded their own involvement. Other countries normally allied with the United States in the Cold War, including the United Kingdom and Canada, refused to participate in the coalition, although a few of their citizens volunteered to join the US forces. Canada, in fact, led peace talks between the two countries for years.

Fighting on the other side was a coalition of forces including the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the National Liberation Front, a South Vietnamese opposition movement with a guerrilla militia known in the Western world as the "Viet Cong". The USSR provided military and financial aid along with diplomatic support to the North Vietnamese and to the NLF, partly as support against the U.S. and South Vietnamese government and partly as a counter to Chinese influence in the region.


The Vietnam War is classed as the second war of the Indochina Wars and was in many ways a direct successor to the French Indochina War in which the French, with the financial and logistical support of the United States, fought a losing effort to maintain control of their former colony of French Indochina.

France had gained control of Indochina in a series of colonial wars beginning in the 1840s and lasting until the 1880s. During World War II, Vichy France had collaborated with the occupying Imperial Japanese forces. Vietnam was under effective Imperial Japanese control, as well as de facto Japanese administrative control, although the Vichy French continued to serve as the official administrators. After the Japanese surrender, the Vietnamese had hoped to move to formal independence from France. Political events outside Asia, however, dictated that this would not come easily.

On September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh organized a ceremony to herald the coming of an independent Vietnam. In his speech he even cited the American Declaration of Independence, and a band played the "Star Spangled Banner." Ho had hoped that the American Republic would be his ally in the movement for Vietnamese independence, basing his supposition on the notion that President Franklin Roosevelt had repeatedly spoken against the continuation of European imperialism after the armistice with Germany and Japan.

Early US Indochina Policy

Washington's desire for a more uniform postwar European economy and European cooperation on a multitude of other matters, however, proved more important than Roosevelt's call for the dissolution of Europe's empires. France, prompted by nationalist General Charles de Gaulle demanded a return of its overseas colonies. Since French cooperation was deemed vital in the postwar period, and since successive French governments threatened to become less cooperative in Europe if the United States refused to accede to their demands overseas, Washington committed itself to a policy of supporting the French colonial regime in Indochina. According to Herring (1986, p. 23.), the "French repeatedly warned that they could not furnish troops for European defense without generous American support in Indochina, a ploy [Secretary of State Dean Acheson ] accurately described as 'blackmail'."

Many American foreign policy theorists by the beginning of the 1950s, moreover, had been more or less won over by the twin doctrines of containment, as proposed in 1947 by George Kennan, and the domino theory, which held that if one country "fell" to communism, its neighbors would be soon to follow. The latter of these doctrines often assumed a good deal of vertical unity in international communist movements, directed by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and his successors. While this was largely true of European communist parties (with the exception of Yugoslav leader Tito), the situation was somewhat different in Asia.

The internal political climate of the United States also contributed to Washington's commitment in Southeast Asia. The well-known campaign of Senator Joseph McCarthy put considerable pressure on the ruling Democrats to be tougher on communism. Levelling the charge that the Democrats had "sold out" Eastern Europe, in particular Poland, at the Yalta Conference in 1945, and that they were therefore "soft on communism," McCarthy's attacks prompted President Truman to pursue a harder line on international communist movements, in Korea as well as Vietnam.

After taking power in 1953, the Republican administration of President Dwight David Eisenhower accepted the Indochina policy established by the Truman Administration and its foreign policy corps essentially without modification. Support for the French colonial regime was continued, on the pretense that the French were fighting towards the ultimate independence of Vietnam, as well as the defeat of the communists.

The End of French Involvement

It is generally accepted that the United States funded roughly one-third of the French attempts to retain control of Vietnam in the face of resistance from the Viet Minh independence movement, led by Communist Party leader Ho Chi Minh. The French, however, failing to make headway against Ho, and under increasing pressure from Washington to make good on its end of the bargain, adopted tougher measures by 1953. For instance, the so-called Navarre Plan called for a buttressing of the Vietnamese National Guard and the deployment of an additional nine battalions of French troops. The French made a request for $400 million in American assistance, of which $385 million was ultimately given. This discrepancy has often led to the charge that the United States failed to adequately fund French efforts to crush the rebellion early. (Herring, 1986, p. 27) The Navarre Plan ultimately failed to end the fighting, however. After the Viet Minh defeated the French colonial army at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the French withdrew, and the colony was granted independence.

According to the ensuing Geneva Conference (1954), Vietnam was partitioned, ostensibly temporarily, into a Northern and a Southern zone of Viet-Nam. The former was to be ruled by Ho Chi Minh, while the latter would be under the control of Emperor Bao Dai. In 1955, the South Vietnamese monarchy was abolished and Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem became President of a new South Vietnamese republic.

The Geneva Conference (1954) specified that elections to unify the country would be scheduled to take place in July, 1956, but such elections were never held. In the context of the Cold War, the United States (under Eisenhower) had begun to view Southeast Asia as a potential key battleground in the greater Cold War, and American policymakers feared that democratic elections would allow communist influences into the South Vietnamese government.

Diem's RVN government had gained the support of the US to circumvent the scheduled democratic elections, and under Diem's dictatorship, South Vietnam would be free of both socialism, and a democratic process that threatened to irreversibly install it. The North Vietnamese had been winning the public relations battle; it had implemented a massive agricultural reform program which distributed land to peasant farmers, and the people of the South took notice. President Eisenhower noted in his memoirs that if a nation-wide election had been held, the communists would have won. Also, it was said to have been unlikely that the Northern Communists would allow a free election in their half of Vietnam. In the end, neither the US nor the two Vietnams had signed the election clause in the accord. Initially, it appeared as if a partitioned Vietnam would become the norm, similar in nature to the partitioned Korea created years earlier.

The NLF led the popular insurgency against the South Vietnamese government. (The RVN and the US referred to the NLF as Viet Cong, short for Viet Nam Cong San or "Vietnamese Communist". The NLF itself never called itself by this name.)

In June 1961, John F. Kennedy met Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna, where Khrushchev sought to bully the young American President into conceding to the Soviets certain key contests, notably Berlin, where large numbers of skilled workers had been escaping to the West. Kennedy left the meeting agitated, and quickly determined that Khrushchev's attitude towards him would make an armed conflict virtually unavoidable in the near future. Kennedy and his advisers soon decided that any such conflicts had better follow the Korea model, being confined to conventional weaponry, through proxy parties, as a way to mitigate the threat of direct nuclear war between the two superpowers. It was decided that the most likely theatre for such a conflict would be in Southeast Asia. By the political calculations of his administration, the U.S. had to work quickly to create a "valve" to release any built-up political pressures.

The North, along with its Soviet backers knew well that the South was prepared to vote for a communist government. The U.S. cared little for Diem, but forged its alliance with his government out of fear that an easy communist victory would only bolster the perceived bravado that Khrushchev had shown to Kennedy at Vienna. The U.S. fatefully decided that an immediate stand against Soviet expansion was both prudent and necessary, regardless of the human cost (The Red Scare).

On December 11, 1961, the United States sent 900 military advisors, and after began to clandestinely send more, both to give temporary support to the South's Diem RVN regime, and to engage in terrorism against both North and South Vietnam. Some of these bombing attacks were designed to inflame and exacerbate both the civil war in the South and to exacerbate the impression of a greater conflict with the North.

The local strategy was to create the impression that a "legitimate" government was being overrun by "hostile Communist forces," though this was while the "Communist forces" were limited to a rising insurgency among the South Vietnamese. At the time, this insurgency was mostly inspired, not directed, by the North, and as such the definition of an "enemy" by philosophical and political grounds would prove to be fateful for U.S. soldiers ordered to make life-and-death choices on the ground. To US planners, however, these distinctions were neither forseeable nor did they matter as much as the creation of a greater conflict itself. The impossible task of defining who the enemy was would directly to the general quagmire and the human rights atrocities for which the Vietnam War is widely known.

The greater overall strategy was simple; to deliberately create a more desirable conventional conflict with the Soviet Union, through the two Vietnamese proxies, rather than to allow nuclear conflict to erupt elsewhere, as was greatly feared at the time. Cuba, Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean Sea were known hotspots that were feared could get out of control, should there be no pressure valve. Because the majority of the South was sympathetic to the North's communist ideology, the U.S. strategy was designed to artificially exacerbate the divide between North and South, along lines which could be reported to the American people as ideological. The so-called ideological divide has little meaning among the Vietnamese, who well understand the beginnings of its civil conflict as being ethnic in origin; and for their own particular reasons, different outside parties took sides, and desired influence.

Backed by the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, North Vietnam began supporting the NLF with arms and supplies, advisors, and regular units of the North Vietnamese Army, which were transported via an extensive network of trails and roads through the neutral nation of Laos, which became known as the Ho Chi Minh trail. The stage was set for the escalation to come, wherein a civil war between Vietnamese farmers seeking to overthrow a puppet despot would find themselves pawns in a larger proxy war between the competing expansionist systems of U.S. capitalism and Soviet communism.

Combatants in the war

In major combat there were, depending upon one's point of view, two to four major combatant organizations; the four being the United States armed forces and allied forces; the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam (ARVN—the South Vietnamese Army, pronounced Arvin, leading to the pejorative Marvin The Arvin); the NLF, a group of indigenous South Vietnamese guerilla fighters; and the People's Army of Viet Nam (PAVN—the North Vietnamese Army, pronounced Pahvin).

Arguments over which of these four were the actual combatants was a major political focus of the war. The U.S. sought to depict the war as one between ARVN defenders with U.S. help against PAVN forces, thus depicting the NLF a puppet or shadow army and the war as a South Vietnamese defense against North Vietnamese aggression.

The North Vietnamese portrayed the conflict as one between the indigenous South Vietnamese NLF and the United States, with the noncombat support of North Vietnam and its allies. This view held ARVN to be a puppet of the U.S.

These conflicting propaganda stances were later played out in early peace talks in which arguments were made over "the shape of the [negotiating] table" in which each side sought to depict itself as two distinct entities opposing a single entity, ignoring its "puppet".


U.S. involvement in the war was eventually called escalation, using the analogy of an escalator rising slowly but steadily to increase war pressure on the enemy, as opposed to the traditional declaration of war with the usual massive attack using all available means to secure victory.

Under escalation, U.S. involvement increased over a period of years, beginning with the deployment of non-combatant military advisors to the South Vietnamese army, to use of special forces for commando-style operations, to introduction of regular troops whose purpose was to be defensive only, to using regular troops in offensive combat. Once U.S. troops were engaged in active combat, escalation shifted to the addition of increasing numbers of U.S. troops.

The policy of escalation helped complicate the ambiguous legal status for the war. Since the U.S. had pre-existing treaty agreements with the Republic of Viet Nam, each escalation was presented as simply another step in helping an ally resist what the U.S. portrayed as a Communist invasion. The U.S. Congress continued to vote appropriations for war operations, and the Johnson Administration claimed these actions as a proxy, along with Tonkin, for the Constitutionally mandated requirement that Congress retain war power.

In U.S. political debate, the advantage of escalation to those who wanted to be engaged in the war was that no individual instance of escalation dramatically increased the level of U.S. involvement. The U.S. populace was led to believe that the most recent escalation would be sufficient to "win the war" and therefore would be the last. This theory, combined with ready availability of conscripted troops, reduced grassroots political opposition to the war until 1968, when the Johnson Administration proposed increasing the troop levels from approximately 550,000 in-country to about 700,000. This was the "straw" that broke the back of escalation and widespread U.S. support for the war. The troop increase was abandoned and by the end of 1969, under the new administration of Richard M. Nixon, U.S. troop levels had been reduced by 60,000 from their wartime peak.

Increasing US involvement to 1964

US involvement in the war was a gradual process. This involvement increased over the years under three U.S. presidents, both Democrat and Republican (successively Eisenhower-R, Kennedy-D and Johnson-D, and was sustained for additional years in the administration of Richard Nixon-R), despite warnings by the US military leadership against a major ground war in Asia. Though actions under the administrations of Eisenhower and Kennedy are considered to have cast the die for the future conflict, it was Johnson who expanded and transformed the engagement into a distinctly U.S. operation, a policy which eventually led to opposition within his own party that convinced him not to seek a second term in 1968 after internal polling showed the depth of public doubt and anger.

There was never a formal declaration of war but there were a series of presidential decisions that increased the number of "military advisors" and then active combatants in the region.

In the campaign for the presidency in 1960, the perceived Soviet threat and slippage in U.S. standing in the world was a prominent issue and Kennedy made erosion of the U.S. position in the world a major campaign issue. The Pentagon Papers (Chapter I, "The Kennedy Commitments and Programs, 1961,") elaborated on this point.

A further element of the Soviet problem impinged directly on Vietnam. The new Administration, even before taking office, was inclined to believe that unconventional warfare was likely to be terrifically important in the 1960s. In January, 1961, Khrushchev seconded that view with his speech pledging Soviet support to "wars of national liberation". Vietnam was where such a war was actually going on. Indeed, since the war in Laos had moved far beyond the insurgency stage, Vietnam was the only place in the world where the Administration faced a well-developed Communist effort to topple a pro-Western government with an externally-aided pro-communist insurgency.

The prominent anti-war critic Noam Chomsky claims that Kennedy ordered the US Air Force to start bombing South Vietnam as early as 1962, using South Vietnamese aircraft markings to disguise US involvement. He also accuses Kennedy of authorizing the use of napalm, along with other crop destruction programs at this earlier date, rather than as a later part of the larger war. The traditional view claims that "actual increased U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War" didn't occur until 1964.

The program of covert GVN (South Vietnamese) operations was designed to impose "progressively escalating pressure" upon the North, and initiated on a small and essentially ineffective scale in February 1964, according to standard sources. The active U.S. role in the few covert operations that were carried out was limited essentially to planning, equipping, and training of the GVN forces involved, but U.S. responsibility for the launching and conduct of these activities was unequivocal and carried with it an implicit symbolic and psychological intensification of the U.S. commitment.

Kennedy and South Vietnam

The Kennedy administration efforts to contain North Vietnam occurred simultaneously with an effort to modernize the regime of the South. Kennedy strongly believed that if South Vietnam was a stable and democratic country, it would largely discredit the North and its Communist rhetoric. Aid to the South was often made on the condition that the government would undertake certain political reforms. Soon, US Government advisors were playing a prominent role in every level of South Vietnam's government. South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem had little time for these reforms, and was quite uncooperative. He would often go through the motions of these US-prescribed reforms, but in very superficial ways that ended up quite embarrassing for the US. For example, when he ran for election, only one opposition candidate was allowed, and there were widespread allegations of vote-rigging. Diem did not believe that US ideas of democracy were applicable to his government, since the country was still so young and unstable. Kennedy was accused of being overly naive and utopian in his belief that US values could be instantly imported into any country, no matter what their culture or history.

Eventually, the Kennedy administration grew increasingly frustrated with Diem. In an embarrassing incident that was widely reported in the US press, Diem's forces launched a violent crackdown on Buddhist monks. Since Vietnam was a predominantly Buddhist nation while Diem and much of the ruling structure of South Vietnam was Roman Catholic, this action was viewed as further proof that Diem was completely out of touch with his people. US messages were sent to South Vietnamese generals encouraging them to act against Diem's excesses. Though there is some debate as to whether or not this was Kennedy's intention, the South Vietnamese military interpreted these messages as a call to arms, and staged a violent coup d'état, overthrowing and killing Diem on November 1, 1963.

Far from uniting the country under new leadership, the death of Diem made the South even more unstable. The new military rulers were very inexperienced in political matters, and were unable to provide the strong central authority of Diem's rule. Coups and counter-coups plagued the country, which in turn served as a great inspiration to the efforts of the North.

Three weeks after Diem's death, Kennedy himself was assassinated, and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was suddenly thrust into the war's leadership role. Newly sworn-in President Johnson confirmed on November 24, 1963 that the United States intended to continue supporting South Vietnam militarily and economically.

Johnson and the Gulf of Tonkin

Johnson raised the level of U.S. involvement on July 27, 1964 when 5,000 additional US military advisors were ordered to South Vietnam which brought the total number of US forces in Vietnam to 21,000.

On July 31, 1964, the American destroyer USS Maddox, continued a reconnaissance mission in the Gulf of Tonkin well offshore in international waters, a mission that had been suspended for six months. Some critics of President Lyndon Johnson say the purpose of the mission was to provoke a reaction from North Vietnamese coastal defense forces as a pretext for a wider war. Responding to an attack, and with the help of air support from the nearby carrier USS Ticonderoga, Maddox destroyed one North Vietnamese torpedo-boat and damaged two others. Maddox, suffering only superficial damage by a single 14.5-millimeter machine gun bullet, retired to South Vietnamese waters, where she was joined by USS C. Turner Joy.

On August 3, GVN again attacked North Vietnam; the Rhon River estuary and the Vinh Sonh radar installation were bombarded under cover of darkness.

On August 4, a new DESOTO patrol to the North Vietnam coast was launched, with Maddox and C. Turner Joy. The latter got radar signals later claimed to be another attack by the North Vietnamese. For some two hours the ships fired on radar targets and maneuvered vigorously amid electronic and visual reports of torpedoes. Later, Captain John J. Herrick admitted that it was nothing more than an "overeager sonarman" who "was hearing ship's own propeller beat". This was not, however, clear at the time.

The U.S. Senate then approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on 7 August 1964, which gave broad support to President Johnson to escalate U.S. involvement in the war "as the President shall determine". In a televised address Johnson claimed that "the challenge that we face in South-East Asia today is the same challenge that we have faced with courage and that we have met with strength in Greece and Turkey, in Berlin and Korea, in Lebanon and in Cuba," a dangerous misreading of the politics of the Vietnamese conflict. National Security Council members, including Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, and Maxwell Taylor agreed on November 28, 1964 to recommend that President Johnson adopt a plan for a two-stage escalation of bombing in North Vietnam.

On March 8, 1965, 3,500 United States Marines became the first American combat troops to land in South Vietnam, adding to the 25,000 US military advisers already in place. The air war escalated as well; on July 24, 1965, four F-4C Phantoms escorting a bombing raid at Kang Chi became the targets of antiaircraft missiles in the first such attack against American planes in the war. One plane was shot down and the other three sustained damage. Four days later Johnson announced another order that increased the number of US troops in Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000. The day after that, July 29, the first 4,000 101st Airborne Division paratroopers arrived in Vietnam, landing at Cam Ranh Bay.

Then on August 18, 1965, Operation Starlite began as the first major American ground battle of the war when 5,500 US Marines destroyed a NLF stronghold on the Van Tuong peninsula in Quang Ngai Province. The Marines were tipped-off by a NLF deserter who said that there was an attack planned against the US base at Chu Lai. The NVA learned from their defeat and tried to avoid fighting a US-style war from then on.

The Pentagon told President Johnson on November 27, 1965 that if planned major sweep operations needed to neutralize NLF forces during the next year were to succeed, the number of American troops in Vietnam needed to be increased from 120,000 to 400,000. By the end of 1965, 184,000 US troops were in Vietnam. In February 1966 there was a meeting between the commander of the U.S. effort, head of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam General William Westmoreland and Johnson in Honolulu. Westmoreland argued that the US presence had prevented a defeat but that more troops were needed to take the offensive, he claimed that an immediate increase could lead to the "cross-over point" in Vietcong and NVA casualties being reached in early 1967. Johnson authorized an increase in troop numbers to 429,000 by August 1966.

On 12 October 1967 US Secretary of State Dean Rusk stated during a news conference that proposals by the U.S. Congress for peace initiatives were futile because of North Vietnam's opposition. Johnson then held a secret meeting with a group of the nation's most prestigious leaders ("the Wise Men") on November 2 and asked them to suggest ways to unite the American people behind the war effort. They concluded that the American people should be given more optimistic reports on the progress of the war. Then based on reports he was given on November 13, Johnson told his nation on November 17 that, while much remained to be done, "We are inflicting greater losses than we're taking...We are making progress." Following up on this, General William Westmoreland on November 21 told news reporters: "I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing." Two months later the Tet Offensive made both men regret their words.

Continued escalation of American military involvement came as the Johnson administration and Westmoreland repeatedly assured the American public that the next round of troop increases would bring victory. The American public's faith in the "light at the end of the tunnel" was shattered, however, on January 30, 1968, when the enemy, supposedly on the verge of collapse, mounted the Tet Offensive (named after Tet Nguyen Dan, the lunar new year festival which is the most important Vietnamese holiday) in South Vietnam, in which nearly every major city in South Vietnam was attacked. Although neither of these offensives accomplished any military objectives, the surprising capacity of an enemy that was supposedly on the verge of collapse to even launch such an offensive convinced many Americans that victory was impossible. There was an increasing sense among many people that the government was misleading the American people about a war without a clear beginning or end. When General Westmoreland called for still more troops to be sent to Vietnam, Clark Clifford, a member of Johnson's own cabinet, came out against the war.

Soon after Tet, Westmoreland was replaced by his deputy, General Creighton W. Abrams. Abrams pursued a very different approach to Westmoreland, favoring more openness with the media, less indiscriminate use of airstrikes and heavy artillery, elimination of bodycount as the key indicator of battlefield success, and more meaningful co-operation with ARVN forces. His strategy, although yielding positive results, came too late to sway a domestic US public opinion that was already solidifying against the war.

Facing a troop shortage, on October 14, 1968 the United States Department of Defense announced that the United States Army and Marines would be sending about 24,000 troops back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours. Two weeks later on October 31, citing progress with the Paris peace talks, US President Lyndon B. Johnson announced to his nation that he had ordered a complete cessation of "all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam" effective November 1. Peace talks eventually broke down, however, and one year later, on November 3, 1969, then President Richard M. Nixon addressed the nation on television and radio asking the "silent majority" to join him in solidarity on the Vietnam War effort and to support his policies.

The credibility of the government suffered when the New York Times, and later the Washington Post and other newspapers, published the Pentagon Papers. It was a top-secret historical study, contracted by the Pentagon, about the war, that showed how the government was misleading the US public, in all stages of the war, including the secret support of the French in the first Vietnam War.

Operation Rolling Thunder

Operation Rolling Thunder was the code name for the non-stop, but often interrupted bombing raids in North Vietnam conducted by the United States armed forces during the Vietnam War. Its purpose was to destroy the will of the North Vietnamese to fight, to destroy industrial bases and air defenses (SAMs), and to stop the flow of men and supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Beginning in the early 1960's, communist North Vietnam (The Democratic Republic of Vietnam, or DRV) began sending arms and reinforcements to the guerrillas of the National Liberation Front (NLF) fighting a war of reunification in South Vietnam. To combat the NLF and shore up the regime in the south, the United States sent advisors, supplies and combat troops. A war escalated that would see American soldiers engaging NLF insurgents and North Vietnamese regular troops in the field.

The supply lines for the war ran south across the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating North and South Vietnam, or via Laos and Cambodia along the infamous ‘Ho Chi Minh Trail’. The source of these supplies was the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union. The road and rail network of the north was vital for transshipping material south. The hub of this network was the national capital, Hanoi.

In August 1964, the ‘Gulf of Tonkin Incident’, a skirmish between DRV and United States Navy ships, gave the US a pretext to launch air strikes against the North. The objective, outlined by President Lyndon B. Johnson, was to discourage further "Communist aggression" by launching punitive attacks against the DRV.

In late 1964 the Joint Chiefs of Staff drew up a list of targets to be destroyed as part of a coordinated interdiction air campaign against the North’s supply network. Bridges, rail yards, docks, barracks and supply dumps would be targeted. However, President Johnson feared that direct intervention by the Chinese or Russians could trigger a world war and refused to authorize an unrestricted bombing campaign. Instead, the attacks would be limited to targets cleared by the President and his Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara.

Beginning in 1965, Rolling Thunder was a sustained bombing campaign against North Vietnam. In the February of 1965, Viet Cong guerrillas attacked an American air base at Pleiku, South Vietnam. President Johnson immediately ordered retaliatory bombing raids against military installations in North Vietnam. Early missions were against the south of the DRV, where the bulk of ground forces and supply dumps were located. Large-scale air strikes were launched on depots, bases and supply targets, but the majority of operations were “armed reconnaissance” missions in which small formations of aircraft patrolled highways and railroads and rivers, attacking targets of opportunity.

Afraid the war might escalate out of hand, Johnson and McNamara micromanaged the bombing campaign from Washington. Rules of engagement were imposed to limit civilian casualties or attacks on other nationals, such as the Eastern Bloc-crewed supply ships in Haiphong harbor or the Soviet and Chinese advisors helping train the Vietnamese military.

However, the American policy of ‘graduated response’ – slowly ramping up pressure on the DRV leadership – meant that more targets became available to airmen to bomb. The bombing moved progressively northwards toward Hanoi. Exclusion zones were maintained around Hanoi and Haiphong to keep bombers away from the population centers, but eventually raids would be authorized even into these sanctuaries.

To keep the United States Air Force and Navy out of each other’s way the DRV was divided into air zones called ‘Route Packages’ (RPs), each assigned to a service. The area around Hanoi included Route Packages 5 and 6a (the USAF’s responsibility) and 4 and 6b (the USN’s). Strikes into RP 6a or 6b were reckoned to be the toughest of all. The Vietnamese, with Soviet and Chinese help, had built a formidable air defense system there. Initially this consisted of anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) and MiG fighter jets, but from mid-1965 this was supplemented by surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). A radar net now covered the country that could track incoming US raids and allocate SAMs or MiGs to attack them.

To survive in this lethal air defense zone the Americans adopted special tactics. Large-scale raids were assigned support aircraft to keep the bombers safe. These would include fighters to keep the MiGs away, jamming aircraft to degrade enemy radars, and ‘Iron Hand’ fighter-bombers to hunt down SAMs and suppress AAA. New electronics countermeasures devices were hurriedly deployed to protect aircraft from missile attacks.

By 1966 the air war in the higher Route Packages was getting hotter. Though most of the casualties came from AAA, there were an increasing number of encounters with SAMs and MiGs. MiGs were a particular problem because the Americans’ poor radar coverage of the Hanoi region allowed obsolete jets such as the MiG-17 to get the jump on them. Airborne Early Warning aircraft had great trouble detecting MiGs at very low altitude.

Most of the USAF raids against the North came out of bases in Thailand. They would refuel over Laos before flying onto their targets. Sometimes the Americans would fly low and use prominent terrain features such as Thud Ridge to mask them from radar as they approached. After attacking the target – usually by dive-bombing – the raid would either head directly back to Thailand or exit over the relatively safe waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.

Navy raids would be launched from TaskForce 77’s carriers cruising on Yankee Station. The complement of a carrier air wing was needed to form an ‘Alpha Strike’. The Navy aircraft would usually take the shortest way into and out from the target.

Bombing halts became a feature of the war. Some of these were politically enforced, as President Johnson tried a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to coax the DRV into a peace agreement. Others were the fault of the weather that for six months a year made bombing near impossible. Attempts were made to overcome the weather by developing blind bombing techniques using radar or radio navigation systems, but at best they generated mediocre results and were often useless. 1967 saw America’s most intense and sustained attempt to force the Vietnamese into peace talks. Almost all the Joint Chiefs’ target list was made available to be attacked, and even airfields – previously off-limits – came in for a pasting. Only the center of Hanoi (nicknamed ‘Downtown’ after the Petula Clark song) and Haiphong harbor remained safe from harm. The Vietnamese reacted by becoming more aggressive with their MiGs and using AAA and SAM to rack up an impressive tally of US aircraft.

After two years of bombardment the Vietnamese were well equipped to handle US raids, having dispersed their supplies and developed the means to repair and rebuild the supply network after the raids had passed. Their strategy was longsighted. They did not have to defeat the Americans, merely absorb the punishment and outlast them.

By 1968 McNamara had become convinced that airpower could not win the war. In spite of the air campaign the Tet New Year holiday saw Hanoi and the NLF mount an offensive in the south. The Tet Offensive was a military disaster for the North and their NLF allies, but it still broke the will of the American leadership. Hoping that Hanoi would enter into peace talks, President Johnson offered a bombing halt. The communists, licking their wounds after Tet, agreed to talks and the Rolling Thunder campaign came to an end.



Nixon was elected President and began his policy of slow disengagement from the war. The goal was to gradually build up the South Vietnamese Army so that it could fight the war on its own. This policy became the cornerstone of the so-called "Nixon Doctrine". As applied to Vietnam, the doctrine was called "Vietnamization". The stated goal of Vietnamization was to enable the South Vietnamese army to increasingly hold its own against the NLF and the North Vietnamese Army. The unstated goal of Vietnamization was that the primary burden of combat would be returned to ARVN troops and thereby lessen domestic opposition to the war in the U.S.

During this period, the United States conducted a gradual troop withdrawal from Vietnam. Nixon continued to use air power to bomb the enemy, at the expense of American troop incursions. Ultimately more bombs were dropped under the Nixon Presidency than under Johnson's, while American troop deaths started to drop significantly. The Nixon administration was determined to remove American troops from the theater while not destabilizing the defensive efforts of South Vietnam.

Many significant gains in the war were made under the Nixon administration, however. One particularly significant achievement was the weakening of support that the North Vietnamese army received from the Soviet Union and People's Republic of China. One of Nixon's main foreign policy goals had been the achievement of a "breakthrough" in relations between the two nations, in terms of creating a new spirit of cooperation. To a large extent this was achieved. China and the USSR had been the principal backers of the North Vietnamese army through large amounts of military and financial support. The eagerness of both nations to improve their own US relations in the face of a widening breakdown of the inter-Communist alliance led to the reduction of their aid to North Vietnam.

The morality of US conduct of the war continued to be an issue under the Nixon Presidency. In 1969, American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh exposed the My Lai massacre and its cover-up, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. It came to light that Lt. William Calley, a platoon leader in Vietnam, had led a massacre of several hundred Vietnamese civilians, including women, babies, and the elderly, at My Lai a year before. The massacre was only stopped after two American soldiers in a helicopter spotted the carnage and intervened to prevent their fellow Americans from killing any more civilians. Although many were appalled by the wholesale slaughter at My Lai, Calley was given a life sentence after his court-martial in 1970, and was later pardoned by President Nixon. Cover-ups or soft treatments of American war crimes also happened in other cases, e.g. as revealed by the Pulitzer Prize winning article series about the Tiger Force by the Toledo Blade in 2003.

In 1970, Nixon ordered a military incursion into Cambodia in order to destroy NLF sanctuaries bordering on South Vietnam. This action prompted even more protests on American college campuses. Several students were shot and killed by National Guard troops during demonstrations at Kent State.

One effect of the incursion was to push communist forces deeper into Cambodia, which destabilized the country and in turn may have encouraged the rise of the Khmer Rouge, who seized power in 1975. The goal of the attacks, however, was to bring the North Vietnamese negotiators back to the table with some flexibility in their demands that the South Vietnamese government be overthrown as part of the agreement. It was also alleged that American and South Vietnamese casualty rates were reduced by the destruction of military supplies the communists had been storing in Cambodia.

In an effort to help assuage growing discontent over the war, Nixon announced on October 12, 1970 that the United States would withdraw 40,000 more troops before Christmas. Later that month on October 30, the worst monsoon to hit Vietnam in six years caused large floods, killed 293, left 200,000 homeless and virtually halted the war.

Backed by American air and artillery support, South Vietnamese troops invaded Laos on 13 February 1971. On August 18 of that year, Australia and New Zealand decided to withdraw their troops from Vietnam. The total number of American troops in Vietnam dropped to 196,700 on 29 October 1971, the lowest level since January 1966. On November 12, 1971 Nixon set a 1 February 1972 deadline to remove another 45,000 American troops from Vietnam.

On April 22, 1971, John Kerry became the first Vietnam veteran to testify before Congress about the war, when he appeared before a Senate committee hearing on proposals relating to ending the war. He spoke for nearly two hours with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in what has been named the Fulbright Hearing, after the Chairman of the proceedings, Senator J. William Fulbright. Kerry presented the conclusions of the Winter Soldier Investigation, where veterans had described personally committing or witnessing war crimes.

In the 1972 election, the war was once again a major issue in the United States. An antiwar candidate, George McGovern, ran against President Nixon. Nixon's Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, declared that "Peace is at Hand" shortly before the voters went to the polls, dealing a death blow to McGovern's campaign, which had been facing an uphill battle. However, the peace agreement was not signed until the next year, leading many to conclude that Kissinger's announcement was just a political ploy. Kissinger's defenders assert that the North Vietnamese negotiators had made use of Kissinger's pronouncement as an opportunity to embarrass the Nixon Administration to weaken it at the negotiation table. White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler on 30 November 1972 told the press that there would be no more public announcements concerning American troop withdrawals from Vietnam due to the fact that troop levels were then down to 27,000. The US halted heavy bombing of North Vietnam on December 30, 1972.

A campaign to bomb Vietnam's dikes and thus threaten the North Vietnamese food supply was employed to pressure the North to concede, the details of which only began to surface much later.

The end of the war

On 15 January 1973, citing progress in peace negotiations, President Nixon announced the suspension of offensive action in North Vietnam which was later followed by a unilateral withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. The Paris Peace Accords were later signed on 27 January 1973 which officially ended US involvement in the Vietnam conflict. This won the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for Kissinger and North Vietnam's Prime Minister Le Duc Tho while fighting continued, leading songwriter Tom Lehrer to declare that irony had died. However, five days before the peace accords were signed, Lyndon Johnson, whose presidency was marred by the war in Vietnam, died.

The first American prisoners of war were released on February 11 and all US soldiers were ordered to leave by March 29. In a break with history, soldiers returning from the Vietnam War were generally not treated as heroes, and soldiers were sometimes even condemned for their participation in the war.

The peace agreement did not last.

Nixon had promised South Vietnam that he would provide military support to them in the event of a crumbling military situation. Nixon was fighting for his political life in the growing Watergate Scandal at the time. Economic aid continued, but most of it was siphoned off by corrupt elements in the South Vietnamese government and little of it actually went to the war effort. At the same time aid to North Vietnam from the USSR and China began to increase, and with the Americans out, the two countries no longer saw the war as significant to their US relations. The balance of power had clearly shifted to the North.

By 1975, the South Vietnamese Army stood alone against the powerful North Vietnamese. Despite Vietnamization and the 1972 victories against the NVA offensive, the ARVN was plagued with corruption, desertion, low wages, and lack of supplies. Then in early March the NVA launched a powerful offensive into the poorly defended Central Highlands, splitting the Republic of South Vietnam in two. President Thieu, fearful that ARVN troops in the northern provinces would be isolated due to a NVA encirclement, he decided on a redeployment of ARVN troops from the northern provinces to the Central Highlands. But the withdrawal of South Vietnamese forces soon turned into a bloody retreat as the NVA crossed the DMZ. While South Vietnamese forces retreated from the northern provinces, splintered South Vietnamese forces in the Central Highlands fought desperately against the NVA.

On March 11, 1975 Bumnethout fell to the NVA. The attack began in the early morning hours. After a violent artillery barrage, 4,000- man garrison defending the city retreated with their families. On March 15, President Thieu ordered the Central Highlands and the northern provinces to be abandoned, in what he declared to lighten the top and keep the bottom. General Phu abandoned the cities of Pleiku and Kontum and retreated to the coast in what became known as the column of tears. General Phu led his troops to Tum Ky on the coast, but as the ARVN retreated, the civilians also went with them. Due to already destroyed roads and bridges, the column slowed down as the NVA closed in. As the column staggered down mountains to the coast, NVA shelling attacked. By April 1, the column ceased to exist after 60,000 ARVN troops were killed.

On March 20, Thieu reversed himself and ordered Hue, Vietnam’s 3rd largest city be held out at all cost. But as the NVA attacked, a panic ensued and South Vietnamese resistance collapsed. On March 22, the NVA launched a siege on Hue, the civilians, remembering the 1968 massacre jammed into the airport, seaports, and the docks. Some even swam into the ocean to reach boats and barges. The ARVN routed with the civilians and some South Vietnamese shot civilians just to make room for themselves. On March 25, after a 3-day siege, Hue fell.

As Hue fell, NVA rockets hit downtown Da Nang and the airport. By March 28, 35,000 NVA troops were poised in the suburbs. On March 29, a World Airways jet led by Edward Daley landed in Da Nang to save women and children, instead 300 men jammed onto the flight, mostly ARVN troops. On March 30, 100,000 leaderless ARVN troops surrendered as the NVA marched victoriously through Da Nang on that Easter Sunday. With the fall of Da Nang, the defense of the Central Highlands and northern provinces collapsed. With half of South Vietnam under their control, NVA prepared for its final phase in its offensive, the Ho Chi Minh campaign, the plan: By May 1, capture Saigon before South Vietnamese forces could regroup to defend it.

The NVA continued its attack as South Vietnamese forces and Thieu regime crumbled before their onslaught. On April 7, 3 NVA divisions attacked Xuan-loc, 40 miles east of Saigon , where they met fierce resistance from the ARVN 18th Infantry division. For 2 bloody weeks. Severe fighting raged in the city as the ARVN defenders in a last-ditch effort tried desperately to save South Vietnam from military and economic collapse. Also , hoping Americans forces would return in time to save them. The ARVN 18th Infantry division used many advance weapons against the NVA , and it was in the final phase in which Saigon government troops fought well. But on April 21, the exhausted and besieged army garrison defending Xuan-loc surrendered. A bitter and tearful Thieu resigned on April 21, saying America had betrayed South Vietnam and he showed the 1972 document claiming America would retaliate against North Vietnam should they attack. Thieu left for Taiwan on April 25, leaving control of the doomed government to General Minh

By now NVA tanks had reached Bienhoa , they turned towards Saigon , clashing with few South Vietnamese units on the way. The end was near.

Fall of Saigon

By April, the weakened South Vietnamese Army had collapsed on all fronts. The powerful NVA offensive forced South Vietnamese troops on a bloody retreat that ended up as a hopeless siege at Xuan-loc, a city 40 miles from Saigon, and the last South Vietnamese defense line before Saigon. On April 21, the defense of Xuan-loc collapsed and NVA troops and tanks rapidly advanced to Saigon. On April 27, 100,000 NVA troops encircled Saigon, which was to be defended by 30,000 ARVN troops. On April 29, the US launched Option IV, the largest helicopter evacuation in history. Chaos, unrest, and panic ensued as hectic Vietnamese scrambled to leave Saigon before it was too late. Helicopters began evacuating from the US embassy and the airport. Evacuations were held to the last minute because US Ambassador Martin thought Saigon could be held and defended. The operation began in an atmosphere of desperation as hysterical mobs of South Vietnamese raced to takeoff spots designated to evacuate, many yelling to be saved. Martin had pleaded to the US government to send $700 million dollars in emergency to South Vietnam in order to bolster the Saigon regime’s ability to fight and to mobilize fresh South Vietnamese units. But the plea was rejected. Many Americans felt the Saigon regime would meet certain collapse. President Ford gave a speech on April 23, declaring the end of the Vietnam War and the end of all American aid to the Saigon regime. The helicopter evacuation continued all day and night while NVA tanks reached the outskirts of Saigon. In the early hours of April 30, the last US Marines left the embassy as hectic Vietnamese breached the embassy perimeter and raided the place. NVA T-54 tanks moved into Saigon. The South Vietnamese resistance was light. Tank skirmishes began as ARVN M-41 tanks attacked the heavily armored Soviet T-34 tanks. NVA troops soon dashed to capture the US embassy, the government army garrison, the police headquarters, radio station, presidential palace, and other vital targets. The NVA encountered greater-than expected resistance as small pockets of ARVN resistance continued. By now, the helicopter evacuations that had saved 7,000 American and Vietnamese had ended. The presidential palace was captured and the Vietcong flag waved victoriously over it. President Minh surrendered Saigon to the NVA colonel Bui Tin. The surrender came over the radio as Minh ordered South Vietnamese forces to lay down their weapons. Columns of South Vietnamese troops came out of defensive positions and surrendered. Saigon fell on April 30, 1975. As for the Americans, many stayed in South Vietnam but by May 1, 1975 most Americans had fled, leaving the city of Saigon forever. The Vietnam War was America's most humiliating defeat, with over 58,000 dead and many left severely injured. As for the people of South Vietnam, over a million ARVN soldiers died in the 30-year conflict.

North Vietnam united both North and South Vietnam on 2 July 1976 to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Saigon was re-named Ho Chi Minh City in honor of the former president of North Vietnam. Hundreds of supporters of the South Vietnamese government were rounded up and executed, and many more were imprisoned. Communist rule continues to this day.

On 21 January 1977 American President Jimmy Carter pardoned nearly all Vietnam War draft evaders.

The neutrality of this article is disputed.
Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page.

Main article: Casualties of Vietnam War

Estimating the number killed in the conflict is extremely difficult. Official records from North Vietnam are hard to find or nonexistent and many of those killed were literally blasted to pieces by bombing. For many years the North Vietnamese suppressed the true number of their casualties for propaganda purposes. It is also difficult to say exactly what counts as a "Vietnam war casualty"; people are still being killed today by unexploded ordnance, particularly cluster bomblets. More than 40,000 Vietnamese have been killed so far by landmines and unexploded ordnance. [2] (

Environmental effects from chemical agents and the colossal social problems caused by a devastated country with so many dead surely caused many more lives to be shortened. In addition, the Khmer Rouge would probably not have come into power and committed their slaughters without the destabilization of the war, particularly of the American bombing campaigns to 'clear out the sanctuaries' in Cambodia.

The lowest casualty estimates, based on North Vietnamese statements which are now discounted by Vietnam, are around 1.5 million Vietnamese killed. Vietnam's Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs released figures on April 3, 1995, reporting that 1.1 million fighters -- Viet Cong guerrillas and North Vietnamese soldiers -- and nearly 2 million civilians in the north and the south were killed between 1954 and 1975. The number of wounded fighters was put at 600,000. It is unclear how many Vietnamese civilians were wounded.

Of the Americans, 58,226 were killed in action or classified as missing in action. A further 153,303 Americans were wounded to give total casualties of 211,529. The United States Army took the majority of the casualties with 38,179 killed and 96,802 wounded; the Marine Corps lost 14,836 killed and 51,392 wounded; the Navy 2,556 and 4,178; with the Air Force suffering the lowest casualties both in numbers and percentage terms with 2,580 killed and 931 wounded.

American allies took casualties as well. South Korea provided the largest outside force and suffered something between 4400 and 5000 killed[3] ( full details including WIA and MIA appear difficult to find. Australia lost 501 dead and 3,131 wounded out of the 47,000 troops they had deployed to Vietnam. New Zealand had 38 dead and 187 wounded. Thailand had 351 casualties. It is difficult to locate accurate figures for the losses of the Philippines. Although Canada was not involved in the war, thousands of Canadians joined the American armed forces and served in Vietnam. The American fatal casualties include at least 56 Canadian citizens. It is difficult to estimate the exact number because some Canadians crossed the border to volunteer for service under false pretenses whereas others were permanent residents living in the United States who either volunteered or were drafted.

In the aftermath of the war many Americans came to believe that some of the 2,300 American soldiers listed as Missing in Action had in fact been taken prisoner by the DRV and held indefinitely. The Vietnamese list over 200,000 of their own soldiers missing in action, and bodies of MIA soldiers from World War I and II continue to be unearthed in Europe.

Both during and after the war, significant human rights violations occurred. Both North and South Vietnamese had large numbers of political prisoners, many of whom were killed or tortured. In 1970, two American congressmen visiting South Vietnam discovered the existence of "tiger cages", which were small prison cells used for torturing South Vietnamese political prisoners. After the war, actions taken by the victors in Vietnam, including firing squads, torture, concentration camps and "re-education," led to the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese. Many of these refugees fled by boat and thus gave rise to the phrase "boat people." They emigrated to Hong Kong, France, the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries, creating sizable expatriate communities, notably in the United States.

Among the many casualties of the war were the people of the neighboring state of Cambodia. Approximately 600,000 died as a result of US bombing campaigns. The bombing campaigns also drove many Cambodians into the arms of the nationalist and communist Khmer Rouge who took power and continued the slaughter of opponents or suspected opponents. About 1.7 million Cambodians were murdered or fell victim to starvation and disease before the regime was overthrown by Vietnamese forces in 1979.

Domestic effects and aftermath in Indochina


Virtually every Vietnamese, especially South Vietnamese, was affected by the war, having endured relentless bombardments and targeted killings. Many Vietnamese lost relatives as a result of the war. The end of the war marked the first time that Vietnam was not engaged in substantial civil war or active military conflict with an external opponent in many years. North and South Vietnam were reunified under the Socialist Republic of Vietnam following the communist victory.

However, Fear of persecutions caused many highly skilled and educated South Vietnamese connected with the former regime to flee the country during the fall of Saigon and the years following, severely depleting human capital in Vietnam. The new government promptly sent people connected to the South Vietnam regime to concentration camps for "re-education", often for years at a time. Others were sent to so-called "new economic zones" to develop the undeveloped land. Furthermore, the victorious Communist government implemented land reforms in the south similar to those implemented in North Vietnam earlier. However it is as well to remember that large areas of land in South Viet Nam had already been appropriated by the communists well before the end of the war—and their owners compensated for the loss by the South Vietnamese government. Persecution and poverty prompted an additional 2 million people to flee Vietnam as boat people over the 20 years following unification. The problem was so severe that during the 1980s and 1990s the UN established refugee camps in neighboring countries to process them. Many of these refugees resettled in the United States, forming large Vietnamese-American emigrant communities with a decidedly anti-communist viewpoint.

The newly established Republic of South Vietnam promptly implemented currency reforms. The dong previously used in Vietnam was converted to the "liberation dong" at a rate of 500 old dongs to 1 liberation dong, essentially rendering much of the South Vietnamese money worthless. After unification in 1976, the liberation dong was abandoned in favor of a new unified dong. While the north exchanged at the 1:1 rate, the south had to exchange 10 liberation dong for each 8 unified dong. Private enterprises in the South were socialized. During much of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Vietnam underwent an economic depression and came close to famine.

Ravaged by war, Vietnam is still in the process of recovery. It remains one of the poorest countries in the world, and remmittance from overseas Vietnamese constitute a considerable part of the economy. Vietnamese people often make reference to events as happening "before 1975" or "after 1975", but life in South Vietnam before 1975 is rarely discussed because newspapers and movies published in the South prior to 1975 are forbidden from circulation. Many people were disabled during war, and continue to be killed and disabled by unexploded ordnance. Agent Orange, used as a defoliant during the war, is alleged by the Vietnamese government to continue to cause birth defects in many children.

The large number of people born after 1975 may be indicative of a post-war baby boom, and despite the devastating effect of the civil war on their parents' generation, a general disinterest in politics and recent history among this post-war generation of Vietnamese is notable.

In the late 1980s the government instituted economic reforms known as đổi mới (renovation), which introduced some market elements, achieving some modest results. The Soviet collapse in 1991 left Vietnam without its main economic and political partner, and thus it began to seek closer ties with the West. After taking office, U.S. President Bill Clinton announced his desire to heal relations with Vietnam. His administration lifted economic sanctions on the country in 1994, and in May 1995 the two nations renewed diplomatic relations, with the US opening up an embassy on Vietnamese soil for the first time since 1975.


Shortly before the war in Vietnam ended, the Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia. Following their takeover was a bloody genocide in which people were systematically killed. They were driven from power in 1979 when Vietnam liberated and installed a pro-Vietnam government.

Domestic effects and aftermath in the United States

The Vietnam war had many long term repercussions for American society and foreign policy.

War powers

Politically, the war's poor planning and legislation that President Johnson regarded as "blank checks" to pursue the war led to Congress reviewing the way that the United States waged war. Due to the Vietnam War buildup, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which curtailed the President's ability to commit troops to action without first obtaining Congressional approval.

Social impact

From a social point of view, the war was a key time in the lives of many younger Americans, especially the so-called baby boom generation. For protester and soldier alike, the war created many strong opinions in regards to American foreign policy and the justness of war. As a result, the Vietnam War was also significant in showing the degree that the public can influence government policy through mobilization and protest.

The use of the defoliation agent known as Agent Orange, designed to destroy the hiding places of the Viet Cong, has caused many health maladies and birth defects to this day for people on both sides of the conflict.

The war and its aftermath led to a mass emigration from Vietnam, mostly to the United States. They included both Amerasians (the children of Vietnamese young women and US military personnel) and Vietnamese refugees, especially those who had served under South Vietnam, who fled soon after the Communist takeover. During the subsequent years over 1 million of these people arrived in the United States (see Vietnamese American)

Social attitudes and treatment of veterans

In 1982, construction began on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. (also known as 'The Wall') designed by Maya Lin. It is located on the National Mall adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial. The Three Soldiers statue was added later, in 1984.

Service in the war was unpopular, especially among the contemporaries of the soldiers who fought it. Veterans of the war received benefits no better than those in the prior peacetime service period, and in contrast to the generous benefits afforded veterans of World War II. Some of the war's veterans experienced shunning in the society, and a few had profound difficulties—including homelessness—since returning from Vietnam. Many veterans who had been exposed to "Agent Orange" during service later contracted a number of cancers, skin diseases and other health problems. The U.S. department of Veterans Affairs awarded compensation to only 1,800 of some 250,000 claimants.

Also in contrast to the post-World War II period, the great majority of major elected officials in the U.S. have not been war veterans, which was virtually compulsory in the recent past. Each of the eight Presidents from 1945 to 1992 was a veteran of one of the World Wars. George McGovern, the pacifist opponent of Nixon, was a highly-decorated B-24 bomber pilot. Many who did serve during Vietnam served in auxiliary forces such as the National Guard or reserve forces that were minimally called up during the conflict, including current President Bush. Former President Bill Clinton initially signed up for ROTC, but successfully withdrew his commitment, and did not serve at all.

Contemporary status of Vietnam veterans

Vietnam service has become more respected, especially in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and was important to the election of some American politicians; for example, it was a factor in the election of John McCain, a former Vietnam POW, to the US Senate. John F. Kerry became the first Vietnam combat veteran to run as a major party candidate for president and he made his service there a major issue in the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign. His Vietnam record was controversial with veterans coming out for and against the candidate. Whether or not Kerry's tour of and subsequent protest of Vietnam had any effect on voters, his candidacy did not succeed."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-26]

2.2. Opposition gegen den Vietnamkrieg in den USA

"Opposition to the Vietnam War

Small scale opposition to the war began in 1964 on college campuses. This was happening during a time of unprecedented leftist student activism, and of the arrival at college age of the demographically significant Baby Boomers. Growing opposition to the war is attributable in part to the much greater access to information about the war available to college age Americans compared with previous generations because of extensive television news coverage.

Thousands of young American men chose exile in Canada or Sweden rather than risk conscription. At that time, only a fraction of all men of draft age were actually conscripted; and most of those subjected to the draft were too young to vote or drink in most states, the Selective Service System office ("Draft Board") in each locality had broad discretion on whom to draft and whom to exempt where there was no clear guideline for exemption. The charges of unfairness led to the institution of a draft lottery for the year 1970 in which a young man's birthday determined his relative risk of being drafted (September 14 was the birthday at the top of the draft list for 1970; the following year July 9 held this distinction). The image of young people being forced to risk their lives in the military but not allowed to vote or drink also successfully pressured legislators to lower the voting age nationally and the drinking age in many states.

In order to gain an exemption or deferment many men obtained student deferments by attending college, though they would have to remain in college until their 26th birthday to be certain of avoiding the draft. Some got married, which remained an exemption throughout the war. Some men found sympathetic doctors who would claim a medical basis for applying for a 4F (medically unfit) exemption, though Army doctors could and did make their own judgments. Still others joined the National Guard or entered the Peace Corps as a way of avoiding Vietnam. All of these issues raised concerns about the fairness of who got selected for involuntary service, since it was often the poor or those without connections who were drafted. Ironically, in light of modern political issues, a certain exemption was a convincing claim of homosexuality, but very few men attempted this because of the stigma involved.

The draft itself also initiated protests when on October 15, 1965 the student-run National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam staged the first public burning of a draft card in the United States. The first draft lottery since World War II in the United States was held on 1 December 1969 and was met with large protests and a great deal of controversy; statistical analysis indicated that the methodology of the lotteries unintentionally disadvantaged men with late year birthdays. [1] ( This issue was treated at length in a 4 January 1970 New York Times article titled "Statisticians Charge Draft Lottery Was Not Random".

Even many of those who never received a deferment or exemption never served, simply because the pool of eligible men was so huge compared to the number required for service, that the draft boards never got around to drafting them when a new crop of men became available (until 1969) or because they had high lottery numbers (1970 and later).

The U.S. people became polarized over the war. Many supporters of the war argued for what was known as the Domino Theory, which held that if the South fell to communist guerillas, other nations, primarily in Southeast Asia, would succumb in short succession, much like falling dominoes. Military critics of the war pointed out that the conflict was political and that the military mission lacked clear objectives. Civilian critics of the war argued that the government of South Vietnam lacked political legitimacy, or that support for the war was immoral. President Johnson's undersecretary of state, George Ball, was one of the lone voices in his administration advising against war in Vietnam.

Gruesome images of two anti-war activists that set themselves on fire in November 1965 provided iconic images of how strongly some people felt that the war was immoral. On November 2 32-year-old Quaker member Norman Morrison set himself on fire in front of The Pentagon and, on November 9, 22-year old Catholic Worker Movement member Roger Allen LaPorte did the same thing in front of the United Nations building. Both protests were conscious imitations of earlier (and ongoing) Buddhist protests in South Vietnam itself.

The growing anti-war movement alarmed many in the US government. On August 16, 1966 the House Un-American Activities Committee began investigations of Americans who were suspected of aiding the NLF, with the intent to introduce legislation making these activities illegal. Anti-war demonstrators disrupted the meeting and 50 were arrested.

On 1 February 1968, a suspected NLF officer was summarily executed by General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, a South Vietnamese National Police Chief. Loan shot the suspect in the head on a public street in front of journalists. The execution was filmed and photographed and provided another iconic image that helped sway public opinion in the United States against the war.

On 15 October 1969, hundreds of thousands of people took part in National Moratorium antiwar demonstrations across the United States; the demonstrations prompted many workers to call in sick from their jobs and adolescents nationwide engaged in truancy from school - although the proportion of individuals doing either who actually participated in the demonstrations is in doubt. A second round of "Moratorium" demonstrations was held on November 15, but was less well-attended.

The U.S. realized that the South Vietnamese government needed a solid base of popular support if it was to survive the insurgency. In order to pursue this goal of "winning the hearts and minds" of the Vietnamese people, units of the United States Army, referred to as "Civil Affairs" units, were extensively utilized for the first time for this purpose since World War II.

Civil Affairs units, while remaining armed and under direct military control, engaged in what came to be known as "nation building": constructing (or reconstructing) schools, public buildings, roads and other physical infrastructure; conducting medical programs for civilians who had no access to medical facilities; facilitating cooperation among local civilian leaders; conducting hygiene and other training for civilians; and similar activities.

This policy of attempting to win the "Hearts and Minds" of the Vietnamese people, however, often was at odds with other aspects of the war which served to antagonize many Vietnamese civilians. These policies included the emphasis on "body count" as a way of measuring military success on the battlefield, the bombing of villages (symbolized by journalist Peter Arnett's famous quote, "it was necessary to destroy the village in order to save it"), and the killing of civilians in such incidents as the My Lai massacre. In 1974 the documentary "Hearts and Minds" sought to portray the devastation the war was causing to the South Vietnamese people, and won an Academy Award for best documentary amid considerable controversy. The South Vietnamese government also antagonized many of its citizens with its suppression of political opposition, through such measures as holding large numbers of political prisoners, torturing political opponents, and holding a one-man election for President in 1971.

Despite the increasingly depressing news on the war, many Americans continued to support President Johnson's endeavors. Aside from the domino theory mentioned above, there was a feeling that the goal of preventing a communist takeover of a pro-Western government in South Vietnam was a noble objective. Many Americans were also concerned about saving face in the event of disengaging from the war or, as President Richard M. Nixon later put it, "achieving Peace with Honor". In addition, instances of Viet Cong atrocities were widely reported, most notably in an article that appeared in Reader's Digest in 1968 entitled The Blood-Red Hands of Ho Chi Minh.

However, anti-war feelings also began to rise. Many Americans opposed the war on moral grounds, seeing it as a destructive war against Vietnamese independence, or as intervention in a foreign civil war; others opposed it because they felt it lacked clear objectives and appeared to be unwinnable. Some anti-war activists were themselves Vietnam Veterans, as evidenced by the organization Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Some of the Americans opposed to the Vietnam War, as for instance Jane Fonda, stressed their support for ordinary Vietnamese civilians struck by a war beyond their influence. The anti-war sentiments gave reason to a perception among returning soldiers of being spat on.

In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson began his re-election campaign. A member of his own party, Eugene McCarthy, ran against him for the nomination on an antiwar platform. McCarthy did not win the first primary election in New Hampshire, but he did surprisingly well against an incumbent. The resulting blow to the Johnson campaign, taken together with other factors, led the President to make a surprise announcement in a March 31 televised speech that he was pulling out of the race. He also announced the initiation of the Paris Peace Talks with Vietnam in that speech. Then, on August 4, 1969, US representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese representative Xuan Thuy began secret peace negotiations at the apartment of French intermediary Jean Sainteny in Paris. The negotiations eventually failed, however.

Seizing the opportunity caused by Johnson's departure from the race, Robert Kennedy then joined in and ran for the nomination on an antiwar platform. Johnson's vice president, Hubert Humphrey, also ran for the nomination, promising to continue to support the South Vietnamese government.

Kennedy was assassinated that summer, and Eugene McCarthy was unable to overcome Humphrey's support within the party elite. Humphrey won the nomination of his party, and ran against Richard Nixon in the general election. During the campaign, Nixon has been said to have claimed knowledge of a secret plan to end the war; this claim did not actually occur. It was thought to have occurred because at one point, his opponent for G.O.P. nomination, Gov. George Romney of Michigan, asked him "Where is your secret plan?"

Opposition to the Vietnam War in Australia followed along similar lines to the United States, particularly with opposition to conscription. While Australian disengagement began in 1970 under John Gorton, it was not until the election of Gough Whitlam in 1972 that conscription ended."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-26]

3. Hintergrund: Vietnamese Americans

"A Vietnamese American is a resident of the United States who is of ethnic Vietnamese descent. They make up the bulk of overseas Vietnamese (Viet Kieu) and are also one group of Asian Americans.

According to the 2000 Census, there are 1,122,528 people who identify themselves as Vietnamese alone or 1,223,736 in combination with other ethnicities. Of those, 447,032 (39.8%) live in California and 134,961 (12.0%) in Texas. The largest concentration of Vietnamese found outside of Vietnam is found in Orange County, California, where 135,548 can be found. Vietnamese American businesses are ubiquitous in Little Saigon, located in Westminster and Garden Grove, where they constitute 30.7% and 21.4% of the population, respectively. In addition, many Vietnamese Americans have established businesses in Chinatowns throughout North America. Like many other immigrant groups, the majority of Vietnamese Americans are small business owners. Throughout the United States, many ethnic Vietnamese, especially first or second-generation immigrants, open restaurants (serving either Vietnamese cuisine, Chinese cuisine, or both), beauty salons and barber shops, and auto repair businesses. In Louisiana and Texas, some Vietnamese Americans are involved with the fish and shrimp industries.


The history of Vietnamese Americans is a fairly recent one. Prior to 1975, most Vietnamese residing in the United States were wives and children of American servicemen in Vietnam or academics and their number was insignificant. The "fall of Saigon" (known as the "liberation of Saigon" in Vietnam) on April 30, 1975, which ended the Vietnam War, prompted the first wave of emigration. Many people who had close ties with the Americans feared communist reprisals, and 125,000 of them left Vietnam during Spring 1975. This group was generally highly skilled and educated and their leaving constituted a severe brain drain for Vietnam. They were airlifted by the US government to bases in the Philippines and Guam, and were subsequently transferred to various refugee centers in the United States. These refugees were initially unwelcomed by Americans, as a poll taken in 1975 showed only 36% in favor of Vietnamese immigration. Even so, President Gerald Ford and other officials strongly supported them and passed the Indochina Migration and Refugee Act in 1975, which allowed them to enter the United States under a special status. In order to prevent the refugees from forming ethnic enclaves and to minimize their impact on local communities, they were scattered all over the country. Within a few years, however, many resettled in California and Texas, giving those states the largest Vietnamese American populations.

The year 1978 began a second wave of Vietnamese refugees that lasted until the mid-1980s. As people faced being sent to "reeducation camps" (essentially forced labor concentration camps) or being forced to evacuate to "new economic zones," about two million fled Vietnam in small, unsafe, and crowded boats. These "boat people" were generally less educated and skilled than the people in the first wave. If they escaped pirates, they usually ended up in asylum camps in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong or the Philippines, where they might be allowed to enter countries that agreed to accept them. Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980, reducing restrictions on entry, while the Vietnamese government established the Orderly Departure Program (ODP) under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in response to world outcry, allowing people to leave Vietnam legally for family reunions and for humanitarian reasons. Additional American laws were passed to allow children of American servicemen and former political prisoners and their families to enter the United States. Between 1981 and 2000, the United States accepted 531,310 Vietnamese refugees and asylees.


As a relatively recent immigrant group, most Vietnamese Americans are either first or second-generation Americans. They have the lowest distribution of people with more than one race among the major Asian American groups. As many as 1,009,627 speak Vietnamese at home, making it the 7th most spoken language in the United States. As refugees, Vietnamese Americans have some of the highest rates of naturalization. As refugees from a communist country, many are vehemently anti-communist. Vietnamese Americans regularly stage protests against the Vietnamese government, its human rights policy and those whom they perceive to be sympathetic to it. For example, in 1999, protests against a video store owner in Westminster who displayed the Vietnamese communist flag and a picture of Ho Chi Minh peaked when 50,000 people held a vigil in front of the store in one night, causing severe disruptions in traffic. Membership in the Democratic Party was once considered anathema among Vietnamese Americans because it was seen as friendly to communism. However, their support for the Republican Party has somewhat eroded in recent years, since the Democratic Party is seen in a more favorable light by the second generation as well as the newer, poorer refugees.

Recently, Vietnamese Americans have exercised considerable political power in Westminster, Garden Grove and other areas. Many have won public offices at the local and statewide levels in California (mostly as Republicans). Several Vietnamese Americans serve or served in the city councils of Westminster and Garden Grove; the mayor pro tempore of Westminster is a Vietnamese American. Some Vietnamese Americans have recently lobbied many city governments to make the former South Vietnamese flag instead of the current flag of Vietnam the symbol of Vietnamese in the United States, a move that the Vietnamese government objected to.

A large fraction of Vietnamese Americans consisted of ethnic overseas Chinese who immigrated to Vietnam centuries ago. Ethnic Chinese made up a large fraction of the commercial elite which left after the fall of Saigon, and the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979 led to discrimination against ethnic Chinese which contributed to a large fraction of them becoming boat people. As a result, many Vietnamese Americans also speak fluent Cantonese (although with more Vietnamese influence, "Vietnamese" Cantonese slightly differs from Guangdong and Hong Kong Cantonese) and serve somewhat as a bridge between Vietnamese American and Chinese American communities, which in turn helps create an Asian American identity. Some Vietnamese Americans may also speak Mandarin as a third or fourth language in all aspects of business and interaction. Interestingly, while ethnic Chinese Vietnamese Americans are seen and see themselves as overseas Chinese (or huayi) they generally do not classify themselves or are seen as Chinese American. Paradoxically, however, some Chinese Vietnamese may even consider themselves more Chinese than Vietnamese which may affect census reporting.

Some of them are Eurasians and Amerasians. These Eurasians are descendants of native Vietnamese, some Chinese, and early French settlers during colonial period and Amerasians are descendants of native Vietnamese, some Chinese, and American soldiers during Vietnam War."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-26]



Gründung des Hoa Hao Buddhismus (Phật Giáo Hòa Hảo)

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-21

"The mountains of the Western area have been the home of many unexplainable mysteries.  The most famous of these are the Sacred Mountains of That Son on the border of Chau Doc and Cambodia.

Since 1849, a living Buddha reverently known as The Healing Buddha of Tay An made his first appearance on the Sacred Mountain of That Son and began his salvation mission by creating BUU SON KY HUONG Buddhism.  About 90 years later, exactly in 1939, also near That Son, another living Buddha, Prophet Huynh Phu So [Ðức Thầy Huỳnh Phú Sổ] [1920 - 1947], continued the tradition of Buu Son Ky Huong and founded Hoa Hao Buddhism.

Therefore, although Hoa Hao Buddhism was founded in 1939, it is a continuation of the Buu Son Ky Huong (literally, “Strange Perfume from Precious Mountains“) established in 1849.  Thus its existence is over a century old.

Both The Healing Buddha of Tay An and Prophet Huynh Phu So have been revered throughout South Vietnam as two Buddhas coming into the world to save mankind from sufferings.  They have also been revered as two genuine patriots. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-21]


THE FIRST characteristic of Hoa Hao Buddhism lies in the fact that from Buu Son Ky Huong to Hoa Hao, it has always been a peasant Buddhism, one meant for  Vietnamese farmers. 

During his lifetime, The Healing Buddha of Tay An used to preach Buddhism and at the same time encouraged agriculture under the slogan PRACTICING BUDDHISM WHILE FARMING YOUR LAND.

In continuing the tradition of Buu Son Ky Huong Prophet Huynh also encouraged agriculture.  This is the reason why He chose the most fertile part of Vietnam to begin his evangelical mission, and why the majority of Hoa Hao faithful are farmers.

From the perspective of cultural anthropology and sociology, it is well known that the farmers, by their pure and simple nature, are predisposed to study religion and self-improvement.

THE SECOND characteristic is that both Hoa Hao Buddhism and Buu Son Ky Huong advocate the practice of Buddhism at home.  The reason was that both the Healing Buddha of Tay An and Prophet Huynh Phu So shared the view that Buddhism should not only be preached in pagodas and temples, but also be a living practice observed  in every family.

For this reason, Hoa Hao followers are not required to shave their heads and take refuge in pagodas.  Instead they are allowed to live with their families, to lead normal lives tilling their land while trying to improve themselves by observing Shakyamuni’s (*) Teachings.

 “STUDY BUDDHISM TO IMPROVE YOUR-SELVES” is the guideline of Hoa Hao Doctrine.  In order to attain Nirvana and free ourselves from the cycle of reincarnation, we must follow to the letter the genuine teachings of Buddha, keep a clear mind and improve ourselves  to fulfill our duty in our present life.

 A Hoa Hao Buddhist practicing Buddhism for self-improvement must first of all do his best to comply with the Four Great Debts Of Gratitude:

 1. Gratitude to our Ancestors and Parents.
 2. Gratitude to our Country.
 3. Gratitude to the Three Treasures:  Buddha, the Dharma (Buddhist teachings),  and the Shangha (Community of monks).
 4.  Gratitude to our fellow countrymen and to mankind.
(See Biography and Teachings of Prophet Huynh Phu So).
To show our thankfulness to our Country, we must be ready to sacrifice ourselves for our country when required.
(*) Shakyamuni is the historical Buddha who founded Buddhism in the sixth century B.C.

THE THIRD characteristic is the modernization of the methods of self-improvement by discarding all unnecessary rites and superstitious practices.  The purpose is to promote the essence of Buddhism in accordance with Buddha’s genuine teachings.

 Here are some modifications advocated by Hoa Hao Buddhism:

  • No pagodas or statues should be built besides the existing ones.  Instead, let us reserve our money to come to the assistance of the poor and the needy, a really beneficial act unlike building a large pagoda or casting tall statues. 
  • Let us not require the services of sorcerers, magicians, astrologers, and fortune-tellers.  Let us not offer food as offerings to Buddha because Buddha would never accept such bribery.
  • Let us do away with   flags, banners or streamers.  Let us not burn votive paper because this is a futile waste...
  • Let us not cry or conduct expensive funerals; instead let us pray quietly for the deliverance of the deceased person’s soul.
  • Let us not compel our children to marry the one they do not like.  Let us not demand large financial gifts from the bridegroom or organize big wedding parties, because this will only  impoverish ourselves.

In short, the reforms advocated by Hoa Hao Buddhism are aimed at bringing us back to the original teachings of Buddha who taught: OUR BELIEF MUST COME FROM OUR HEART.  Faith is a matter of heart rather than a matter of rite and ceremony."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-21]


Nachdem Japan aus Vietnam abgezogen war, übernahmen die Kommunisten die Führung im Norden Vietnams. Ho Chi Minh ruft in Hanoi die unabhängige Demokratische Republik Vietnam aus.


In Südvietnam wird von Frankreich eine Gegenregierung eingesetzt.


Während die Regierung in Nordvietnam von der Sowjetunion und China anerkannt wird, unterstützen die USA und Großbritannien Südvietnam.


 In Genf wird auf der Indochina-Konferenz beschlossen, dass Vietnam entlang des 17. Breitengrades vorläufig geteilt wird. Außerdem werden freie Wahlen vorbereitet.


Die amerikanische Regierung beginnt Südvietnam militärisch zu unterstützen. (350 Offiziere für die Ausbildung und Organisation der südvietnamesischen Armee)


Aus Angst vor einem kommunistischen Wahlsieg verhindert der südvietnamesische Machthaber Diem die gesamtvietnamesischen Wahlen.


In Südvietnam bildet sich die Guerillaorganisation Vietcong.


Thich Nhat Hanh (Thích Nhất Hạnh) (1926 - ) besucht erstmals die USA, er studiert und unterrichtet an den Universitäten Princeton und Columbia.

Zu Thich Nhat Hanh siehe:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --  2. International. -- 4. Thích Nhất Hạnh. -- URL:


Seitens den USA wird der Bestand an militärischen Beratern von 700 auf 16.000 vervielfacht.


Im Golf von Tonking wird der US-Zerstörer "Maddox" von nordvietnamesischen Streitkräften angegriffen. Allerdings befand sich der US-Zerstörer nicht, wie von US-Seite behauptet, in internationalen Gewässern, sondern bereits in von Nordvietnam beanspruchtem Seegebiet. Auf Grund dieses inszenierten Vorfalls beschließt der US-Kongress Präsident Lyndon B. Johnson freie Hand bei Militäreinsätzen in Vietnam zu gewähren.


Die Operation "Rolling Thunder" bildet mit schweren Bombardements in Nordvietnam den Auftakt des Vietnamkrieges. Bis zum Jahresende werden in Südvietnam 200.000 US-Soldaten stationiert.


Im Laufe des Jahres wird das amerikanische Truppenkontingent in Südvietnam auf 400.000 Soldaten erweitert.


Thich Thien-An (Thich Thiện Ân) (1926 - 1980) kommt als Gastprofessor an die University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) und lehrt Thien (Zen) Meditation

Abb.: Thich Thien-An

"Ven. Dr. Thich Thien-An came to Southern California in the summer of 1966 as an exchange professor at UCLA. Soon his students discovered he was not only a renowned scholar, but a Zen Buddhist monk as well. His students convinced Dr. Thien-An toteach the practice of meditation and start a study group about the other steps on the Buddhist path, in addition to the academic viewpoint.

Several years later, his enthusiastic followers encouraged Ven. Thien-An to apply for permanent residence and start a meditation center that included place for practitioners to live. Twenty-six years later, The International Buddhist Meditation Center continues to thrive.

The IBMC today consists of six houses on a residential street several miles west of downtown Los Angeles. Suto, as his students called him, believed in the importance of being accessible to those who face the dukkha of city living. Two of the houses in the compound are named for Vietnamese monks who self-immolated to bring the attention of the world to the horrors of the situation in Vietnam, an act which ultimately led to the downfall of the hated Diem regime. One of those monks, Ven. Tieu-Dieu, was Suto's father.

Suto was born in Hue and grew up in a Buddhist family. Even as a young boy, he would imitate the chanting and ceremony of the monks who came to their house to give blessings and receive dana. He entered the monastery at the age of 14 and continued his education, finally receiving a Doctor of Literature degree at the prestigious Waseda University in Japan. He then returned to Vietnam to found a university there.

Ven. Thien-An's vision of his work in the U.S. was to bring Buddhism into another culture, as always adapting to the national values and understandings. He understood the American mind and culture and had a sense of how the practice needed to differ for Americans to develop. He mentioned often how the West would eventually bring Buddhism back to the East.

When Saigon fell in 1975, Ven. Thien-An saw his responsibility and helped the boat people and other refugees from his homeland. The center became a residence for as many of the displaced as possible. Networking was done to ensure help for the others. The American monks joined with Vietnamese monks to do this Bodhisattva work.

The fleeing Vietnamese, having left all their material belongings as well as family and friends behind, were so relieved to find Buddhists when they got off the ships that many of them cried. Suto opened the first Vietnamese Buddhist temple in the United States. Eventually, he became the First Patriarch of Vietnamese Buddhism in America.

Suto's vision of Buddhism in America included a softening of the lines between different Buddhist traditions, and the Center has always included teachers from Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, as well as monks and students from many different countries. He encouraged interfaith as well as interBuddhist activities, and provided opportunities for students who wished to become dharma teachers and continue to live the householder's life, rather than becoming monastics. Many American monks and nuns were also ordained, and a number of his disciples still continue his work, both at the IBMC and other centers.

Dr. Thien-An died at the age of 54 of cancer which had spread rapidly throughout his body, from his liver to his brain. In his last months, one could often find him sitting peacefully on the steps of the bell tower. It was a gift to be able to sit quietly next to him and feel the energy of his understanding. He had many plans but saw the reality of what was happening. He smiled, as he smiled often, a smile of great compassion and loving-kindness for all the world."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-21]


Mittlerweile werden in den USA zunehmend Proteste gegen den Krieg registriert. Der Aufmarsch wird jedoch fortgesetzt, so dass sich zum Jahresende 500.000 US-Soldaten in Vietnam befinden.


Während der so genannten "Tet-Offensive"des Vietcongs geraten die US-Truppen anfangs in Bedrängnis. Die Offensive wurde jedoch schnell gestoppt und war militärisch gesehen ein Fehlschlag für Nordvietnam. Die Wirkung der Tet-Offensive auf die amerikanische Öffentlichkeit war jedoch fatal. Glaubte man bis dahin den Krieg gewinnen zu können, war die Bevölkerung regelrecht geschockt davon, dass Nordvietnam eine solch große Offensive durchführen konnte. Diese Offensive veränderte die öffentliche Meinung dahingehend, dass immer mehr US-Bürger gegen den Vietnam-Krieg waren. Präsident Johnson stoppt die Bombardierungen, während in Paris erste Friedensgespräche geführt werden. Richard Nixon wird neuer Präsident der USA. Sein Sicherheitsberater wird Henry Kissinger. In dem Dorf My Lai verüben US-Truppen ein Massaker an der Zivilbevölkerung.


Unter dem Stichwort "Vietnamisierung" will Nixon die US-Truppen nach und nach aus Vietnam abziehen.


Thich Thien-An  (Thich Thiện Ân) (1926 - 1980) gründet das International Buddhist Meditation Center in Los Angeles

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-21


Die südvietnamesische Armee marschiert mit Unterstützung der USA in Laos ein.


Die nordvietnamesische Armee verletzt die Grenze entlang des 17. Breitengrades und betritt südvietnamesisches Gebiet. Die U.S. Air Force verschärft erneut ihre Bombardierungen in Nordvietnam.


In Paris wird das Waffenstillstands-Abkommen geschlossen und markiert den Austritt der USA aus dem Vietnamkrieg. Bis März 1973 verlassen die amerikanischen Truppen das Land. Der Bürgerkrieg ist jedoch nicht beendet.


Mit der Eroberung Saigons am 30. April durch kommunistische Truppen findet der Vietnamkrieg sein Ende.


Thich Thien-An (Thich Thiện Ân) (1926 - 1980) gründet Chua Vietnam (Vietnam Temple) in Los Angeles


Abb.: Karuna Dharma
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-30]

Joyce Adele Pettingill wird unter dem Ordensnamen Karuna Dharma zur buddhistischen Nonne ordiniert.

"Rev. Karuna Dharma was born Joyce Adele Pettingill in Beloit, Wisconsin. Her parents were active American Baptists. She started college at the University of Wisconsin where she met her husband, Ben Ting Fun Lum. They moved from Madison to Los Angeles as Ben started work as an aerospace engineer at MacDonald Douglas. Their daughter Chrystine was born and she finished her degree at UCLA, receiving a B.A. in English. In 1969 they were divorced. She received two M.A.s: one in Secondary Education and the other in Comparative Religion.

She met her teacher, Thich Thien-An, and began her studies of Buddhism in 1969. At the same time, she helped Dr. Thien-An establish the International Buddhist Meditation Center, Chua Vietnam in Los Angeles, the first Vietnamese temple in the U.S., and the College of Oriental Studies.

In 1973 she became a Buddhist atthangha sila. In 1975 she spent her weekends at Camp Pendleton as a Buddhist chaplain and took full Ordination in 1976, becoming one of the first women to be ordained traditionally in the U.S. Then in 1979 she completed her D.Dh. degree in Buddhist Studies from the University of Oriental Studies.

Since Dr. Thien-An's death in 1980 she has been the Abbess of the International Buddhist Meditation Center and was one of its founding members. She oversees the running of the Center, performs ceremonies, teaches, and is involved in Interfaith work and InterBuddhist work and has been active in the Interreligious Council of Southern California.

She is an original founding member of the Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue in Los Angeles and represented the Buddhists in presenting gifts to His Holiness Pope John Paul II on his trip Los Angeles in 1987.

She is a past president of the American Buddhist Congress, serves as vice-president of the Buddhist Sangha Council and College of Buddhist Studies and was a founding president of Sakyadhita, the International Association of Buddhist Women.

Ven. Karuna is profiled in, "Meetings with Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teachers in America," by Lenore Friedman. And contributed a chapter to a recent book edited by Karma Lekshe Tsomo, "Buddhism through American Women's Eyes." She edited "Zen Philosophy, Zen Practice," by Thich Thien-An and co-wrote the booklet "An Early Journey: Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue," with Dr, Michael Kerze. Rev. Karuna coauthored Buddhist Concept of Mind with Dr. Havanpola Ratanasara, as yet unpublished and edited Buddhist Concepts by American Disciples, contributing many of her own writings.

She is an active member of the Buddhist community in Los Angeles. She played an important part in the first Grand Ordination to be given completely in English with Ven. Thich Man-Giac presiding in 1981. In 1994 she and Ven. Dr. Ratanasara presided over the first Grand Ordination, with both bhiksus and bhiksunis, giving ordination on all levels, ordaining in all three traditions: Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana. In 1997 she gave her second Grand Ordination, sharing the role of Uppajaya with the Ven. Dr. Havanpola Ratanasara.

In 2004 Dr. Karuna is planning to host the third Grand Ordination, of Western Bhikkhunis and Bhikkhus."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-30]

"1976 hatten sich Nonnen von Fo Kwan Shan aus Taiwan in Los Angeles aufgehalten, um damit zu beginnen, einen Tempel für ihre Anhänger dort aufzubauen. Ven. Dr. Thich Thien-An, der Abt des IBMC erklärte ihnen, dass er eine Bhikshuni ordinieren wollte und bat sie um ihre Erlaubnis, dies zu tun. Sie stimmten bereitwillig zu. So konnte Ven. Karuna Dharma in Los Angeles ordiniert werden und später selbst die Übertragung der Gelübde weitergeben. Damit wurde sie eine der ersten Frauen, die in Amerika die volle Ordination erhielt und die erste Amerikanerin, die als Bhikshuni in der vietnamesichen Zen-Tradition ordiniert wurde. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-30]


In Los Angeles findet unter der Leitung von Ven. Thich Man-Giac die erste Große Ordination vollständig auf Englisch statt.


Abb.: Logo®

Gründung von Chua Phat To (Chùa Phật Tổ) (Gotama Temple)  in Long Beach, CA

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-07

"Activities and Schedule

Daily religious activities at Chua Phat To center around chanting and meditation. The day begins at 5 a.m. when the monk and nuns meditate for at least an hour before breakfast. The rest of the day's schedule varies: there are often meetings and classes to attend, homes to visit, guests to receive. In the afternoon, lay people will often come by on their way home from work for chanting services at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Weekend schedules are full. Services for the dead are usually held on weekends. Funerals and memorial services (gio)) are among the temple's most prominent functions. Tho Bat Quan Trai, Taking the Eight Precepts, is a retreat offered every two weeks on Saturdays. Members of the community, most of them in their fifties and older and most of them female, come and live at the temple for one night while formally taking eight precepts instead of the usual five. They wear gray robes and eat vegetarian food, meditate, chant, listen to tapes of prominent Dharma teachers, and listen to teachings by the resident nuns or the abbot. Tai Chi is a regular Saturday morning event at 10 a.m. In Vietnam, Tai Chi is generally practiced by older folks early in the morning. Seniors make up the majority of the participants at Chua Phat To also, though a few younger Americans are involved as well. Vovinam (Vietnamese martial arts) classes are offered at 10 a.m. on Sunday mornings. Most of the participants are young people. The Long Beach community has hosted martial arts training since 1985. Finally, the temple has come to be an important venue for public talks especially on Buddhist subjects. Talks are often held on Sunday afternoons and are generally in Vietnamese.

The temple's website is only in Vietnamese, though it is interesting and full of information and usually updated regarding major upcoming events.


In 1967, Huynh Ngoc Diep, a young educated woman from the southern coast of Vietnam with a law degree from Saigon University, arrived in the United States to attend a leadership program at Cal State Long Beach on a USAID scholarship. Returning to Saigon in 1970, she took up employment with a large U.S. corporation and married. Just before Saigon fell in 1975 she and her family fled the country and she soon found herself back in Long Beach. "I wanted to come back to a place I knew," she said. Calling herself Denise Truong (after adopting the English name she had taken on her first trip to America, and, in the American fashion, her husband's surname) she also found a job at her former alma mater as a budget analyst. Long Beach has been her home ever since. But home means many things and a home without a place to worship, without monks and a temple, is not quite home. For several years after her arrival in southern California, she and her family, like so many other refugees, would attend Chua Vietnam in Los Angeles. But Chua Vietnam is a small space and far from where most of the refugees settled in those early years. They went to Chua Vietnam LA for the big celebrations (Tet, the new year; Le Vu Lan, the ghost festival; and Le Phat Dan, the Buddha's birthday), but, again like many other Vietnamese in southern California, they would more often attend regular services at the Long Beach Japanese temple on Santa Fe Ave. They needed their own place.
In the late 1970s, Mrs. Truong helped to organize local Vietnamese to found a temple. In 1981, Dr. Thien Thanh, a monk who had been living at Chua Vietnam, became the first abbot. Dr. Thien Thanh had been a monk since the age of 8 and had been raised and trained at Chua Kim Hue, a prominent monastery not far from Saigon. He had been in India studying in 1975 when Saigon fell and Chua Vietnam had sponsored him to come to the U.S. to teach. In Los Angeles he was a professor at the College of Oriental Studies, a Buddhist center that was instrumental in shaping Buddhism in L.A.--both ethnic and convert--in the 1970s. He was particularly good, says Mrs. Truong, at giang Phap, expounding the Dharma.
Once Thay Thien Thanh had accepted the offer of the Long Beach Buddhists, the members began to buy property for a temple. They had not done so before, because it is important for many Buddhists that a monk be the founder of the temple, not lay people. In this way, the temple is authentic, a home for the monk. It also minimizes conflicts between laity and sangha. In 1981, 37 original founders chipped in to buy land and an apartment building in central Long Beach to make their temple and a home for their monk. Over the years, as adjacent properties came available, they were able to buy what they needed to assemble sufficient land for a chua. Thay Thien Thanh named the temple. He wanted a Buddhist name but not one too closely identified with Vietnam. He wanted to be able to attract Buddhists of any ethnicity, but particularly because he hoped to one day be able to serve members of the large Long Beach Cambodian community, many of whom live in the temple's neighborhood, the many local Thai population, and English speakers as well. Beyond buying land, the temple building efforts were guided by the members' desire to conform closely to American models of non-profit and religious organization. Control of the temple had, in most ways, been turned over to Thay Thien Thanh, but all agreed that the temple should have a proper board of directors and be legally incorporated. Many immigrant temples are not and more than a few are actually privately owned, either by lay people or by members of the sangha. But the lay founders of Chua Phat To were firmly committed to ensuring that their temple conform to American practices, both financially and legally.
The temple began planning its expansion with the city in 1991. They raised money, hired architects, and began to clear the hurdles necessary to build a proper temple. The city was reluctant to let them proceed at first. There were parking issues--never to be underestimated in Southern California. There were too many members wanting too few spaces in a crowded neighborhood. The city council would not authorize the building of a temple until parking could be expanded. A Baptist church owned a rental property adjacent to the temple's lots that was taking potentially useful real estate, but the minister would not sell to Buddhists. Eventually, after lengthy negotiations, the sale was made and the house, a Craftsman bungalow, was donated to local historic preservationists thus earning some local acclaim. The historic old homes in the neighborhood remain an issue in planning any expansion.
Thay Thien Thanh died in 1995, when building a new temple was still years away. For the next five years, plans for the temple's development went ahead, but at a slow pace. The members were intent on preserving their abbot's legacy by preserving what they saw as the appropriate relationship between laity and sangha by building from his monastic lineage. So, it was important that they have a monk to consecrate the new temple and that the new abbot be from the same temple as the old one. The lay leaders requested that Chua Kim Hue in Vietnam send them another monk, one who was also adept at preaching the Dharma and would be able to work in the U.S. for some years. Finding such a monk and getting him permission to leave Vietnam would take five years. In the meantime, several nuns had joined the temple over the years and had many active lay people, so Chua Phat To continued to have a strong presence in the local community. Their new abbot arrived in 2000, ready to begin construction as well as English lessons.


In 2002, with sufficient land, resources, the backing of the city and the community, the temple broke ground on a new chanting hall. Construction of the building took about a year with much of the labor being donated. The front room of the hall is the main worship space, used for chanting and meditation and also for teachings and lectures. The room is dominated by a large altar with two Buddhas. The smaller one in front is from Thailand and forged in the Thai style. The larger Buddha in back is in an east Asian style. Collages constructed by temple young people and hung on the walls describe Buddhist figures and points in Buddhist cosmology and philosophy. Behind the the main hall is a smaller room containing an altar with a picture of the temple's founding monk, Thich Thien Thanh with pictures of monks from his lineage above on the wall. Above this room are two apartments to be used as a monastic dormitory. The rest of the temple site holds parking space and several of the old original apartments, low, narrow buildings used for office space, nuns dormitories, and kitchen and dining areas. One of the old apartment buildings was once used as a the main worship hall and still contains a small altar also dedicated to the monastic lineage of the abbot.
Contact Name and Title
Thich Thien Lam or Denise Truong

Contact Phone/Fax Number

Date Center Founded

Religious Leader and Title
Thich Thien Lam

Lay Leader and Title
Denise Truong

Membership/Community Size
Over 1000 members

Ethnic Composition
Predominantly Vietnamese; outreach to the local Cambodian, Thai, and English-speaking communities remains an aspiration for the most part.

Prepared by Student Researcher Brad Torre
Updated on October 8, 2003"

[Quelle: Brad Torre. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-07-07]


Abb.: Prabhasa Dharma
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-30]

Gisela Midwer alias Geshhin Myoko  Prabhasa Dharma (1931 - 1999) erhält von Thich Man Giac das Dharma Siegel und wird 45. Matriarchin der Lam-Te-Zen-Linie

"In Deutschland geboren und vorwiegend in Kalifornien gelebt, studierte sie zunächst viele Jahre Zen bei dem japanischen Zen-Meister Joshu Sasaki, der sie zur Nonne und Lehrerin mit dem Namen Gesshin Myoko (Mond-Herz / Wunderbares Licht) ordinierte.

1981 schloss sich Gesshin Myoko der Schule des vietnamesischen Lam Te (Rinzai) Zen-Meisters Thich Man Giac an, von dem sie 1985 das Dharma-Siegel einer Großmeisterin erhielt. Sie wurde als Prabhasa Dharma (Leuchtendes Dharma) 45. Matriarchin in der Lam Te Zen Linie.

Aus ihrer japanischen und vietnamesischen Tradition entwickelte sich eine Form von Zen, die nicht an ein bestimmtes Land oder eine bestimmte Kultur gebunden ist. Ihre Zen-Erfahrung manifestierte Prabhasa Dharma Zenji als Dichterin, Malerin und Kalligrafin.

Seit 1980 hielt sie Vorträge, veranstaltete Seminare und gab zahlreiche Sesshin in Amerika und Europa. So entstand eine große internationale Sangha.
Im Jahre 1999 berief sie Jiun Hogen zu ihrer Dharma-Nachfolgerin. Jiun Hogen Roshi ist die heutige spirituelle Leiterin des Zen-Zentrums Noorder Poort und der internationalen Zen-Institute. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-30]


Gründung der Universal Buddhist Congregation in East Boston, Massachusetts


The Universal Buddhist Congregation (UBC), which meets in East Boston, was started in 1985 by Rev. Thich Giac Duc, who is the spiritual leader of the community. The extended community consists of between 2,000 and 3,000 people, with 50 attending services on an average day. Young people are a focus of this community, and it is not unusual for half of those gathered to be children and teenagers. There are activities for the youngsters after the Sunday services, which are held on the fully renovated first floor which includes a large hall, a kitchen and a dining room. The youth are part of the International Buddhist Youth, an organization started in the 1930s, which has over 20,000 members in the United States, and three million around the world.

The Congregation meets in a former Catholic church, which they purchased in 1987 and have extensively renovated. Mostly volunteer labor has supported the installation of electricity, heat, flooring, a new roof, and the large worship space on the second floor, which includes a large altar with illuminated images and another altar for ancestors. Renovations of the exterior of the building have not been a priority. Instead, the congregation tithes money to the poor in Vietnam, without regard to their religious affiliation.


The Universal Buddhist Congregation is unique in that the monks are allowed to marry. They observe the same vows as other monks, except that abstention from sex becomes fidelity in marriage. The UBC believes that married monks can be closer to the people, that sexual desires can be overcome with meditation and do not preclude marriage, and that marriage and procreation are important for some monks as well as for lay people.

Activities and Schedule

This Vietnamese tradition draws on many strands of Buddhism, including Mahayana, Theravada, Tibetan and Zen Pure Land. The services are conducted in Vietnamese, and people sit on mats on the floor or on chairs behind the mats. Visitors are welcome. Major events at the UBC include: the celebration of the Buddha's Birthday in April, which draws between 700-1000 people; Vietnamese Mothers' Day in July, reflecting their ongoing concern with respect for parents; and the Ceremony for the Buddha's Enlightenment in December, which is held over three days with chanting from 10 A.M. to midnight. In January, over 500 people gather to pray for the coming year.
Meetings take place on Sunday at 12 Noon.


Contact Name and Title
Mr. Tan Nguyen on Sunday between 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M.

Contact Phone/Fax Number
(617) 569-1201

Date Center Founded

Religious Leader and Title
Rev. Thich Giac Duc

Membership/Community Size
200 and 500-1000 in attendance at larger ceremonies

Ethnic Composition
Predominantly Vietnamese

Affiliation with Other Communities/Organizations
International Buddhist Youth

Updated on June 20, 2002"

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-07]



Abb.: Chùa Long Vân
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-07]

Eröffnung von Chùa Long Vân (Long Van Temple) in Orlando, Florida

"Early Beginnings in Orlando

The Long Van Temple has its roots within a small group of Vietnamese refugees who came to Orlando, Florida following the fall of Saigon in 1975. This pioneering group had encountered years of struggle after their arrival in America by having to adjust to a completely new life on foreign land far from home. In 1981, they established the Florida Vietnamese Buddhist Association. As more and more Vietnamese came to Orlando, the Association was concerned with maintaining Vietnamese culture for their children, and this issue became an utmost priority for the group. Therefore, they began to make plans for establishing a center where their community could convene, worship and teach Vietnamese culture.

Finding a Center and Religious Leader

In the beginning, money and the local laws brought forth further challenges for the group to overcome before they could open the center. Yet, their persistence prevailed, donations were collected, and the search for a location without legal obstacles culminated in the building of a two-room house located in the neighborhood of the Vietnamese shops and stores on Colonial drive near downtown Orlando. It was named Long Van Temple, but it was to be only the first of two worship centers bearing the same name.
Finding a religious leader for the Temple presented another dilemma. Mainly, because after 1975, few Buddhist monks were able to leave their country. In addition, the demand was high for the monks who were in America (or could come to America) because of the large number of temples being built in other cities and states.
According to Long Van's president, Dr. Hung M. Nguyen, the first Long Van Temple near downtown Orlando, "...became a center for Vietnamese Buddhists and non-Buddhists. Buddhists of all age groups came to the Temple weekly for worshiping. Services were in Vietnamese and were assisted by different Buddhist monks throughout the time."

The Growth of Long Van in Orlando

In the following two years, many more Vietnamese came to Orlando, and in 1983 a group of "Buddhist activists" from the Temple decided to look for a larger lot to construct a permanent temple. They found a piece of land on Cornelia avenue directly off a major highway in East Orlando. The temple was built in the traditional Vietnamese style and completed in 1986. It is the same Long Van Temple that exists today.
The Long Van Temple on Cornelia has a "Buddha Hall" that can accommodate fifty to sixty worshipers, an office, a room for the resident monk, and other facilities including a large covered back area and stage for festival use.
A large lot next to the temple was purchased a few years ago, and again, due to the growing number of Vietnamese in Orlando, the present board of directors has decided to build a larger Buddha Hall on it. This project currently faces the difficulties due to new rules and regulations as well as objection from neighbors who argue the expansion of the temple may cause traffic problems in the neighborhood. However, as with many prior obstacles Long Van Temple has encountered, they are in the process of solving these as well. Dr. Hung M. Nguyen relates, "Hopefully, we will have a new temple in the year 2000 to celebrate the millennium." The Long Van Temple has a full schedule of activities. They hold worship services every Sunday at noon, and their Buddhist Study Group and Youth Buddhist Group meet weekly. The Youth Buddhist Group has Dharma classes and Vietnamese classes as well as other activities such as camping, sports, and kungfu. Sutra recitation sessions are held twice monthly, on the New moon and Full moon nights. There are also monthly retreat sessions lead by religious leaders from the Vietnamese American Unified Buddhist Congress of the USA.

Activities and Schedule

Yearly festivals include Buddha's Birthday, Vietnamese New Year (TET), and the Vulan Festival on the lunar calendar. Festivals are grand events replete with games, performances, speeches and seemingly endless tables filled with vegetarian delicacies. Children are an integral part of the Temple's activities as is evident at the festivals which are full of youths of all ages engaging in many activities. Visitors are most welcome and guaranteed a wonderful time immersed in Vietnamese culture for the day.

The Future

In October of 1999, Long Van Temple will host the Annual Meeting of the Vietnamese American Unified Buddhist Congress of the USA. Long Van remains a dedicated and active presence of Vietnamese culture and worship in Orlando, Florida, and they will continue to develop and grow according to their community needs.
Contact Name and Title
Hung M. Nguyen, MD., President

Contact Phone/Fax Number
407-679-9738 (phone); 407-657-8958 (fax)

Date Center Founded

Lay Leader and Title
Hung M. Nguyen, MD., President

Membership/Community Size
800 Members

Ethnic Composition

Affiliation with Other Communities/Organizations
Vietnamese American Unified Buddhist Congress of the USA

Prepared by Dr. Yudit Greenberg
Updated on June 26, 2002"

[Quelle: Yudit Greenberg. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-07-07]


Abb.: Claude Anshin Thomas

Claude Thomas (1947 - ), ehemals Kommandierender einer Hubschrauberstaffel im Vietnamkrieg, begegnet Thich Nhat Hanh und bleibt 3 Jahre in Plum Village

"Nach einer schweren, von Gewalt und Missbrauch geprägten Kindheit meldete er sich als Siebzehnjähriger freiwillig zum Kriegseinsatz in Vietnam. Als Kommandierender einer Hubschrauberstaffel wurde er für den Tod Hunderter von Menschen verantwortlich. Er nennt sich selbst heute einen "Killer". Im Alter von 19 Jahren kehrte er mit schweren Verwundungen in die USA zurück. Nicht fähig, mit seinen traumatischen Erfahrungen zurechtzukommen und von der amerikanischen Gesellschaft ausgestossen, hatte er danach, wie viele andere Vietnam-Veteranen lange, leidvolle Erfahrungen mit Obdachlosigkeit, Drogensucht, Arbeitslosigkeit, Straffälligkeit und sozialer Isolation.

Im Rahmen eines Retreats für Vietnam-Veteranen begegnete er 1990 dem vietnamesischen Zen-Lehrer Thich Nhat Hanh, der ihn zum tiefen Anschauen und Berühren seines Leidens f&uumlhrte. Ihm wurde klar, dass durch die Verdrängung der Wurzeln seiner Gewalt und seines innersten Leids der zerstörerische Kreislauf von Misstrauen, Gewalt und Aggression immer weiter fortgesetzt wird. Auf Einladung von Thich Nhat Hanh lebte Claude Thomas anschliessend 3 Jahre in dessen klösterlich buddhistischer Gemeinschaft von Vietnamesen in S&uumldfrankreich.

Claude erfuhr unter seinen ehemaligen "Feinden", die ihn offener aufnahmen als seine eigenen Landsleute, eine tiefe innere Verwandlung. Seither ist sein Leben ganz der Aufgabe gewidmet, f&uumlr den Frieden in der Welt zu wirken. Er ist Mitglied der 'Buddhist Peace Fellowship' und er unternahm zahlreiche Friedensaktivitäten u.a. 1995/96 einen Friedensmarsch in Begleitung anderer Kriegsveteranen sowie japanischer Mönche, der ihn von Auschwitz &uumlber Kroation und Bosnien, Israel, Irak, Indien, Kambodscha bis nach Vietnam f&uumlhrte.

 Im Jahre 1995 wurde Claude Thomas von dem Zenmeister Tetsugen Bernard Glassman Roshi, dem Leiter der Zen Community of New York und Gründer der sozial engagierten Greyston Foundation in Yonkers (New York) zum Zen-Mönch mit dem Dharma-Namen Anshin (Geist des Friedens) geweiht. Damit zugleich wurde Claude erstes Mitglied des von Glassman Roshi gegründeten Zen Peacemaker Ordens. Seit 4 Jahren spricht Claude in zahlreichen Vorträgen in den USA und Europa von seinen leidvollen wie transformierenden Erfahrungen, führt Tage der Achtsamkeit und einwöchige Meditations-Retreats durch und hat vielen Menschen bereits einen völlig neuen und verwandelnden Zugang zu den Wurzeln ihres tief verborgenen Leids eröffnet. Claude hat auch an mehreren der von Glassman Roshi durchgef&uumlhrten Strassenretreats unter Obdachlosen und Drogenabhängigen in den USA teilgenommen und leitet inzwischen auch selbst solche. Das erste Strassenretreat mit Claude Thomas in Deutschland fand im Oktober 1997 zusammen mit 18 Teilnehmern in Berlin statt."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-02]


"When the Garden Grove, California, city council filed criminal charges in 1991 against a Vietnamese Buddhist abbot for housing two homeless people in the garage of his residence/ temple and forced him to plead guilty to avoid a jail sentence, it was but one of many misfortunes for the Vietnamese Buddhists of this Orange County community. Ever since the abbot, the Venerable Thich Chon Thana, responded to these charges in December 1991, the Vietnamese Buddhist community has been experiencing numerous incidents of religious discrimination. More recently, on April 18, the city council sued Venerable Thich Nguyen Tri, Abbot of the Bat Nha Temple on West Street in Garden Grove, for violation of a city zoning ordinance which requires that churches be situated on lots that are at least one acre in size. Bat Nha Temple is on a small lot and operates without a permit. It appears that the ordinance was passed in 1991 to inhibit the growth of small residential temples used by the Vietnamese community. If this is the case, a federal court would consider the ordinance exclusionary in its intention and a violation of U.S. constitutional law guaranteeing the right to religious freedom.

The fact that Venerable Thich Nguyen Tri did not address the council's suit in a timely manner enraged the mayor of Garden Grove, Frank Keffler. In a recent televised council meeting he said, "The Buddhist temples in Garden Grove have not been good neighbors ... we are going to crack down heavily on illegal Buddhist temples."

The city attorney's proposed settlement of the civil suit—which the Abbot has refused—required the following: that the four-foot-high statue of the Buddha in the front yard of his home be removed, that he refrain from any form of religious meditation or prayer services, that he celebrate no Buddhist holidays, and that he offer no educational programs inside his home. Having refused this proposal, the Abbot has been criminally charged with willful violation of zoning laws."

[Quelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. IV, No. 1 (Fall 1994). -- S. 94ff..]


Abb.: Filmplakat

Es erscheint der Film Heaven & Earth, der dritte Film von Oliver Stone's (1946 - ) Vietnam-Trilogie (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July). Im Film spielt Buddhismus eine bedeutende Rolle.


Binh Gia Pham verbrennt sich in Dorchester, Massachusetts als Protest gegen die Behandlung der Buddhisten in Vietnam.


Gründung von Chua Quan Am in GardenGrove, California


Hoa Thuong Thich Dao Quang holds a special reverence for Quan Am, the bodhisattva of compassion. She has guided him through his entire life. He is particularly grateful to her for helping him survive his seaborne exodus from Vietnam many years ago. For that reason, he named his temple after her. For the first few years after he arrived in California, Thich Dao Quang lived--as did many other newly-arrived refugee monks--at Chua Vietnam in Garden Grove. In the 1980s and 1990s, Chua Vietnam was a stopping-off point for monks transitioning into local society. But living there proved awkward for Thay Dao Quang. While at Chua Vietnam, he was in the position of being a resident monk at a temple governed by a lower-ranking abbot. He rapidly developed his own following and within a few years began to seek a place of his own. In 1999, with the support of lay disciples, he was able to found Chua Quan Am in a small house in Garden Grove on the edge of Little Saigon . He brought with him or gathered to him a number of newly ordained monks and nuns. Most of them are quite young and relatively well assimilated in terms of language, education, and professional life. A handful are older women, some widows, slowly beginning to detach themselves from the world. Together they have built a temple that, while small, is one of the most vigorous and highly regarded in Orange County.

The temple building is a small, one story ranch house typical of Garden Grove neighborhoods. The house is marked as a temple only by the small, bronze-colored Buddha under the front window and a Buddhist flag. In the backyard of the temple is an unused, but immaculate, swimming pool surrounded by a flowers and herbs and a fence. Near the pool, under an awning, is an outdoor altar to Quan Am, lit at night, decorated on holidays. Behind the garden wall at the rear of the house is a large public park that is sometimes used for large events. The garage fronting the street is a dining hall and used for meetings as well. The main sanctuary is the living room, running the breadth of the house from the front door (where stands an altar that dominates the room) back to a small sitting area where the monks and nuns study and speak with visitors.


Thay Dao Quang is accorded tremendous respect by his followers for his learning and experience and because, some say, he just acts as a monk should. That is, he gives attention and deference to Vietnamese Buddhist customs and ideals. Unlike some other monks in Orange County, he has little desire to rhetorically or practically "fit" Buddhism with "modern life" or "American values." He is in his seventies, speaks no English, and has no immediate desire to reach out to the general American population (though he has a long-standing relationship with European American monks ordained under Vietnamese teachers). He is generally unconcerned with politics of any sort. While he counsels laity on a variety of personal issues, his focus is squarely on religious matters as he, and many who visit his temple, see them.
The temple's sangha is unusually large relative to the small size of the building, but also in absolute numbers. Only a handful of temples in the area have as many monks and nuns. It is also diverse. Most temples are either monks' temples or nuns' temples. Chua Quan Am has a sangha for both, with several novices, and ages ranging from eighteen to over ninety. There are four or five monks associated with the temple, though that number can vary some as they move to other temples for study or to be near (or live with) family (not unusual in the U.S.). Two or three live in the house with Thay Dao Quang. Most of the nuns, numbering around six or seven, live in their own homes or in an apartment. Two novice nuns, however, because of their youth and promises made to their parents, live in the temple under the direct supervision of Thay Dao Quang. One has just finished high school and both are now enrolled at a local college. Life at the temple for the young nuns is rigorous and schedules are strict. Buddhist practice comes first, but school work is always given its due. Both nuns are very happy there. Both chose this life and they continue to do so. They had to convince their reluctant parents that they were ready for this step (not an easy thing to do) and then they had to find a temple and teacher. Now, despite the vicissitudes of youth and student life in America--or perhaps because of them--they are preparing themselves for full ordination.


Because the temple is not able to support all of its sangha through donations alone and because some members continue to have commitments outside the temple, several members of the sangha must work. One young monk, for example, took vows as a novice in his early twenties. Raised in the mid-west, he had to come to Orange County to work in business, but also to study Buddhism among the local temples. He found the right temple and, once Thay Dao Quang had agreed, was allowed to take ordination as a novice. Full ordination is still a year or two away. In the meantime, he has taken a less demanding job so that he can continue to support his family and pay off his student loans.


The master is particularly revered by older women in the community. A core group of a dozen or more support the temple with gifts of money, food, and time. They cook many of the meals (though the monks and nuns cook as well) and regularly attend the small evening and weekend services. Temple attendance in Orange County is heavily female and generally older. Chua Quan Am's active supporters fit that pattern. But Thay Dao Quang clearly also appeals to Vietnamese Americans in search of a conservative, orthodox, devotional style of Buddhism. Even his younger supporters admit that Thay Dao Quang is different from other monks in the way that he relates to his followers and the American (and Vietnamese American) world around him. The worldly success and aspirations of his followers mean little to him--at least as compared to the Buddha's dharma. He does things the right way, his followers say, the old way. And that is what they like about him. Despite a seemingly small group of supporters, the reputation of the temple and its master is robust and extensive. Attendance at major temple functions such as the Buddha's birthday can number well into the hundreds, with many families and young people.

Activities and Schedule

Chua Quan Am is a Pure Land temple. Thay Dao Quang says that he has studied and taught Thien (Zen), but that it is simply too difficult a path for most people, especially in contemporary America. Thien requires time and intense effort, he believes. It takes more to get it right. Pure Land is not easy and takes longer to achieve the same goal, but its requirements--faith, prayer, study, good works, devotional chanting--fit with the lives most people lead. So Thay Dao Quang no longer teaches Thien. Still, Thay Dao Quang's way seems hardly less exacting. His is an orthodox and formal Buddhism. Bowing, to him and to the Buddha, for example, along proper displays of respect to the texts and artifacts of Buddhist ritual and adherence to a strict ritual schedule are habitual parts of life at Chua Quan Am. Meals are ritualized but not solemn. Monks and nuns sit in a general order of rank, with lay people at the end of the table farthest from the master. There is little conversation. The Buddhist seasons and holidays are observed in what the temple's sangha considers to be older and better ways, proper ways. The monks and nuns chant daily, several times a day, and even more during Ha, the summer, the season of monastic retreat. During Ha, the sangha cannot eat eat after noon. For dinner they "drink" a sweet, blended bean soup, which by all accounts rapidly grows tiresome. They also chant the names of the Buddha--all 10,000--at the rate of five hundred per day. In all of these practices, Thay Dao Quang is somewhat unusual (though not unique) in Vietnamese Orange County. Certainly there are other formal temples and many have regular, daily chanting. And monks and nuns in general are shown a great deal of respect. But amid the plethora of temples attempting to "reach out" to a population acclimated to life in America, Chua Quan Am stands out as a place of relative conservatism and rigor in practice, doctrine, and everyday temple manners .


Because of problems with complaints from the neighbors, the temple has had to curtail its busy schedule over the last two years. The city has threatened legal action if activity is not kept to an absolute minimum. The temple itself cannot accommodate large crowds, but neither can the street accommodate so many cars. While large events such as the Buddha's birthday and Le Vu Lan, the ghost festival, have always been held at public (and, often, rented) venues around town, such as schools, parks, and auditoriums. But now the monks and nuns have had to cut back on daily and weekly services for lay people as well. At the moment (mid-2003) the temple is, by necessity, mostly a monastery. Rather than attempt to fight the city, Thay Dao Quang has currently chosen to look for another property. Real estate is expensive in Orange County and the search is expected to last some time.


While even funerals and memorial services have been cut back, the sangha of Chua Quan Am continue to chant sam hoi with lay people every other weekend. Sam hoi is the bi-monthly repentance ceremony, usually held on the new and full moons, but amended in Orange County to fit the American schedule. The monks and nuns also continue to host a small chanting service most Thursday evenings at 7:00 for a group of especially devoted followers. Chua Quan Am also sponsors a branch of Gia Dinh Phat Tu, literally translated as the Buddhist Family, but usually just referred to in English as "Buddhist youth group." Gia Dinh Phat Tu is a world-wide Vietnamese Buddhist organization and many temples sponsor their activities. They meet every Sunday morning around 10:00, often in the park behind the temple. During their Sunday meetings, led by young adults, the young Buddhists learn about Buddhist doctrine and history as well as Vietnamese language and culture. They also put on regular cultural performances of singing, dancing, and skits, and organize and decorate for festivals and larger rituals. Such performances are the highlight of every temple celebration.


On a recent Tet eve (the night before the lunar year), despite some nervousness, Chua Quan Am opened its doors for a small number of people to gather and chant and receive a dharma lesson and a blessing. A few weeks later, the temple sponsored a pilgrimage, hanh huong, a Tet custom that appears to be mostly found in urban areas of Vietnam (at least in this form). It is considered to be auspicious to visit as many temples as possible over the Tet season (which lasts up to a month). One custom is to do so as a group, lead by a monk or nun. In the U.S., Vietnamese pilgrims buy tickets from the temple and go by motor coach. They generally travel out of there own area. In this case, the pilgrimage wound through part of Orange County to San Diego and back. They visited both Chinese and Vietnamese temples, both Thien and Pure Land. At each stop, the pilgrims were met by members of the local temple, usually offered food and drink, and given a dharma lesson or blessing. They also had the opportunity to pray, look around, take pictures, and chat with local Buddhists. One of the unspoken functions of hanh huong is that it is a way by which Buddhists claim a stake in the crazed California landscape. In this case, it allows a group of mostly female, mostly older worshipers to see the familiar across a stunningly diverse and strange region, and to see themselves throughout.


Chua Quan Am is typical of many temples in Orange County: it is situated in a small house, paid for by a core group of devoted followers, and centered on the teachings and leadership of a single person. Chua Quan Am also has one of the largest community of monks or nuns in the area, attracted by the master's reputation for propriety and orthodoxy. Its struggles with the city have been especially hard on the temple, depriving it of much-needed energy and income and the temple's fate in the short term seems to hang on their ability to raise sufficient funds to purchase a new venue for their work. But Thay Dao Quang's reputation and his ability to reach members of the community are considerable. He continues to believe that life in America does not change the Buddha's message or the way it should be communicated. Given the attractiveness of this message to many local Vietnamese--old and, sometimes, young--the prospects for Chua Quan Am seem strong.
Religious Leader and Title
Hoa Thuong Thich Dao Quang

Ethnic Composition
Vietnamese and Vietnamese American

Prepared by Student Researcher Brad Torre
Updated on November 7, 2003"

[Quelle: Brad Torre. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-07-07]


"On March 3 a Vietnamese Buddhist monk was stabbed to death by a homeless man whom he had taken into his temple in Philadelphia. Thich Hanh Man [1954 - 1995], 43, had served only three months as resident monk at Philadelphia's first Vietnamese Buddhist temple when the attack occurred. Though other members of the temple had warned him about Lan-Ngoc Nguyen, a Vietnamese homeless man whose past, they said, included arrests and a history7 of mental illness, Man felt that it was his duty as a monk to offer help.

Police said they saw evidence of a struggle in the temple kitchen. Members of the temple who knew Man, however, said that the turned-over tables and chairs were evidence not of a fight, but of a chase. Man, they said, who outweighed his attacker by twenty pounds, would have been trying to escape when he was stabbed nine times.

A memorial service was led by Thich Dong Chan, a Buddhist monk who had been Man's friend and mentor for thirty years in Vietnam. "He was so sweet and easy," Chan said, adding, "In Buddhism, [even] if somebody harms you, you cannot harm them." Man's longtime friend Thich Hanh Tuan, a Buddhist monk studying at Harvard Divinity School, said, "I don't feel sad. I'm proud of him because he carried on the legacy of compassion and wisdom and love for his fellow man."

In his eulogy, Tuan remembered the man who had been imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam for his activities promoting religious freedom, before escaping by boat in 1988. Addressing his departed friend, Tuan said, "The lesson I have learned from you is not in any sutra or text. I am sure you remember that we once learned that a bodhisattva vows not to become a buddha until after all sentient beings have attained buddha-hood. This notion confused me for years. However, now I do not need to spend years reading the Tripitaka to find the meaning of this notion. I see it now in your lovely face ... in your simple room and even on the faces of all people gathered here today. You are a living sutra.""

[Quelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. IV, No.4 (Summer 1995). -- S. 86.]


Abb.: United States Embassy, Hanoi, Vietnam

Die USA und Vietnam nehmen wieder volle diplomatische Beziehungen auf.


Ein Gönner spendet dem Orden von Thich Nhat Hanh 120 acre (49 Hektar) in Woodstock, Vermont. Darauf wird Maple Forest Monastery errichtet.


Derselbe Gönner, der das Land für Maple Forest Monastery gestiftet hatte, stiftet dem Orden von Thich Nhat Hanh in Hartland-Four-Corners,Vermont 120 acre (49 Hektar) zur Errichtung Green Mountain Dharma Center´, eines Nonnenklosters.

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-04



The Vietnamese community in Denver became divided over weeks of continuous public protest this winter. Rev. Cuong Kim Le, a monk at a Vietnamese Buddhist temple in southwest Denver, was accused of sexually molesting at least two young female members of the temple. The allegations are under police investigation.

Charges against the monk became known when an alleged victim, Thu Ho, a 24-year-old college student, went public. She claimed that the monk had abused her four years ago and that she had said nothing, out of embarrassment. When she learned of other possible victims, including a friend, she decided to speak out. "My culture is that females cannot say anything," she told the Denver Rocky Mountain News. ''To me this is America. If I don't say anything, then someone else will get hurt."

[Quelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. VIII, No. 3 (Spring 1999). -- S. 15.]


Gründung des Deer Park Monastery in der Tradition von Thich Nhat Hanh in Escondido, California. Das Grundstück hat eine Fläche von 400 acre (= 1,6 km²)

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-09

2000-09-01 bis 04

In Seattle treffen sich vietnamesische Buddhisten aus aller Welt zum zweiten Jahrestreffen der Unified Buddhist Congregation (Giáo hội Phật giáo Việt Nam Thống nhất )


Infolge eines Schismas in der Richmond Buddhist Association gründet Thich Tue Chieu den Vien Giac Temple in Richmond, Virginia

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-08


Vien Giac is the result of a schism within the Richmond Buddhist Association. Thich Tue Chieu served that organization for a year and a half, but over time many became dissatisfied with his approach to Buddhism, which emphasizes astrology, esotericism, and magic. He left at the beginning of 2003 to found Vien Giac, taking some loyal members with him.

Activities and Schedule

The temple has regular services on Sunday mornings, followed by lunch. Like most Southeast Asian Buddhist temples, members can come by at any time to worship privately or speak with the head monk. Thich Tue Chieu performs an evening chanting service every day. He is also called upon by laypeople to visit their homes and conduct services.


Vien Giac is a Vietnamese temple serving the Vietnamese-American population in and around Richmond. As the temple is new and resulted from breaking away from its parent temple, the number of members is not presently known.


Vien Giac is a small brick building located on a long, narrow strech of grassy land. To one side is an apartment complex, while on the other is a school.

Inside, a long hallway cuts the house in half, and leads to the main shrine room. Rooms off of the hall provide living quarters for the monk, another shrine room, and guest rooms. There is also a kitchen.

Contact Name and Title
Thich Tue Chieu

Prepared by Student Researcher Jeff Wilson
Updated on September 30, 2004"

[Quelle: Jeff Wilson. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-07-08]



Das U.S. House of Representatives verabschiedet eine Resolution zur Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam

"The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution November 19 urging the Government of Vietnam to restore freedom to all Vietnamese citizens imprisoned or under house arrest for practicing their faith or for advocating freedom of religion, with special attention paid to persecuted members of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV).

The measure, H. Res. 427, also urges the Government of Vietnam to respect the right of all independent religious organizations to meet, worship, operate, and practice their faith.

Such religious freedom, the resolution notes, is in accordance with Vietnam's own constitution as well as international covenants to which Vietnam is a signatory.

In addition, the House measure urges the United States Embassy in Vietnam to closely monitor cases of abuse of religious belief and practice, routinely visit detained clergy members -- especially those in need of medical care -- and report to the Congress on specific measures taken to protect and promote religious freedom in Vietnam.

Following is the text of H. Res. 427 from the Congressional Record:

H. Res. 427
In the House of Representatives, U.S.,
November 19, 2003.

Whereas Buddhism has a 2,000-year tradition in Vietnam and the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) is an heir to this tradition;

Whereas the Government of Vietnam in 1981 declared the UBCV, one of the largest religious denominations in the country, illegal, confiscated its temples, and persecuted its clergy for refusing to join the state-sponsored Buddhist organizations;

Whereas the Government of Vietnam has often imprisoned UBCV clergy and subjected them to other forms of persecution; the Patriarch of the UBCV, the 85-year-old Most Venerable Thich Huyen Quang, has been detained and restrained for more than 2 decades in isolated areas of Vietnam;

Whereas the Vietnamese Government has held the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, the Executive President of the UBCV and his deputy, the Venerable Thich Tue Sy, in various forms of detention since 1977;

Whereas the Very Venerable Thich Thien Minh, Supreme Counselor of the UBCV, was tortured to death in a reeducation camp in 1978;

Whereas many other leading UBCV figures, including Thich Thien Hanh, Thich Phuoc An, Thich Dong Tho, Thich Vien Dinh, Thich Thai Hoa, Thich Nguyen Ly, Thich Thanh Huyen, Thich Khong Tanh, Thich Phuoc Vien, Thich Hai Tang, Thich Dong Tho, Thich Nguyen Vuong, Thich Chi Mau, Thich Chi Thang, and Thich Thanh Quang have been detained, harassed, and under tight surveillance;

Whereas several members of the UBCV have fled to Cambodia to escape religious repression and harassment;

Whereas Pham Van Tuong, formerly known as Thich Tri Luc, disappeared from Cambodia in July 2002 after being given refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and has since been discovered to be in custody in Vietnam, where he is reportedly charged with the vague crime of `fleeing abroad or defecting overseas with the intent to oppose the people's administration,' which carries a possible sentence of life imprisonment;

Whereas Vietnam has acceded to international covenants and treaties that prohibit the forced repatriation of UNHCR-recognized refugees;

Whereas Vietnam has acceded to international covenants and treaties that protect the right to faith, belief, and practice;

Whereas Vietnam's constitution protects the right of religious belief;

Whereas in a show of religious tolerance, the Vietnamese Government in April 2003 allowed the Most Venerable Thich Huyen Quang, the Fourth Supreme Patriarch of the UBCV, to receive urgent medical care in Hanoi;

Whereas at that time, Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai met with Venerable Thich Huyen Quang and assured him that his and Venerable Thich Quang Do's detention were mistakes by local officials and that he hoped they would extend Buddhist forgiveness toward past actions of the government;

Whereas in June 2003, the Vietnamese Government ended the detention order against Venerable Thich Quang Do, the Executive President of the UBCV;

Whereas in September and October 2003, the UBCV held a meeting in Nguyen Thieu Pagoda in Binh Dinh province to discuss church affairs, choose a new leadership which had been vacant for a decade, and verify Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai's promise of a new era of understanding and respect;

Whereas Vietnamese authorities attempted to disrupt these gatherings by restricting the travel of monks from other provinces and then intimidating those attending;

Whereas on October 8, 2003, Vietnamese authorities initiated a tense standoff following the meeting, where police stopped a vehicle carrying the UBCV's new leadership and subsequently detained the eleven passengers;

Whereas Venerables Thich Huyen Quang and Thich Quang Do were taken to their respective pagodas where they have been effectively isolated and detained; four senior monks, the Venerable Thich Tue Sy, Thich Thanh Huyen, Thich Nguyen Ly, and the UBCV Supreme Patriarch's personal assistant, Venerable Thich Dong Tho, were immediately sentenced to 24 months of administrative detainment by written orders of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, and three others, the Venerables Thich Thien Hanh, Thich Thai Hoa, and Thich Nguyen Vuong to 24 months administrative detainment by `oral' orders from various local authorities, in protest of which the Venerable Thich Thien Hanh initiated a hunger strike on October 19, 2003;

Whereas according to reports by the United States State Department, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and the European Union, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam systematically limits the right of religious organizations to choose their own clergy;

Whereas according to these same reports, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam uses house arrest and long prison sentences to punish individuals for practicing their faith, as evidenced also by the jail sentences handed down to Father Nguyen Van Ly, his three relatives, Montagnard and Hmong Protestants, Cao Dai, and Hoa Hao Buddhists;

Whereas during the 107th Congress the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2833, the Vietnam Human Rights Act, on September 6, 2001, which noted the persecutions faced by various members of the UBCV over the past 25 years; and

Whereas because of systematic, egregious, and ongoing abuses of religious freedom, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended that the President of the United States designate Vietnam as a `country of particular concern' under the provisions of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) congratulates the new leadership of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam;

(2) urges the Government of Vietnam to respect the right of all independent religious organizations to meet, worship, operate, and practice their faith in accordance with Vietnam's own constitution and international covenants to which Vietnam is a signatory;

(3) urges the Government of Vietnam to restore freedom to all Vietnamese citizens imprisoned or under house arrest for practicing their faith or for advocating freedom of religion, especially the Most Venerable Thich Huyen Quang and the Very Venerable Thich Quang Do;

(4) is committed to promoting religious freedom in Vietnam, and, in furtherance of this goal, urges the implementation of the recommendations of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom; and

(5) urges the United States Embassy in Vietnam to closely monitor cases of abuse of religious belief and practice, routinely visit detained clergy members, especially those in need of medical care, and report to the Congress on specific measures taken to protect and promote religious freedom in Vietnam."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-04]