Launching DVA’s Vietnam Project (Countrywide Project #2)
(September of 2018) DVA President Bob Isaacson boarded a jumbo jet in San Diego and flew to Hanoi, Vietnam, the first leg of his trip. After a short stop in Tokyo, he was greeted at the Hanoi airport some 20 hours later by the Venerable Thich Thanh Huan, who would serve as the Director of DVA’s Vietnam Project. This kicked off a thirteen-day visit to launch DVA’s Vietnam Project, our second nationwide Project, in this Buddhist country of “tens of millions” of Buddhists.
After trying to sleep off jet lag in his hotel room, Bob again joined the Venerable the next day as they began their daily routine of traveling to Hanoi area Pagodas (Buddhist Temples). The Venerable and Bob, with the help of Oanh, a Vietnamese/English interpreter, spoke with the monastics at many of the Hanoi area Pagodas, encouraging them to promote vegetarianism/veganism in their Dharma talks and in other interactions between monastics and laypeople. The Venerable also offered to share the wonderful cooking staff at his own Phap Van Pagoda to help train the cooking staffs at the other Pagodas so they can prepare the highest quality of plant-based food.
Before leaving each day to visit the Pagodas, Bob enjoyed a breakfast which included a delightful variety of tropical fruits and juices. Each breakfast featured freshly home-grown dragon fruit, passion fruit, guava, pineapples, mangoes, papayas, coconuts, and watermelon. This along with traditional Vietnamese food ensured that each day got off to a good start.
At the Conference
The following weekend on Sunday, September 23, Bob and DVA co-hosted with the Venerable and VBS (Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha which oversees Buddhism in the county) the Third Annual Asian Buddhist Animal Rights conference, at the 1,000-year-old Phap Van Pagoda in Hanoi, where the Venerable is the abbot.
Hundreds of Vietnamese and the national press attended our conference at which the Venerable, Bob, medical doctors, nutritionists, and other monastics spoke about the benefits of a plant-based diet. DVA’s brochures in the Vietnamese language were given to all participants and a delicious plant-based lunch was served in the afternoon. After the conference ended, Bob and the Venerable met the press, including newspaper, online website, and television reporters.
The following week the Venerable and Bob again visited as many Hanoi area pagodas as possible, looking for even more support for our Vietnam project.
During this two-week visit, Bob and the Venerable consulted with a Vietnamese filmmaker who will be creating a 30-min documentary on why Buddhists in Vietnam should stop eating animals.
After Vietnam, Bob visited Sri Lanka to coordinate our huge project there and then visited Thailand.