We at DVA send Metta to all the Vietnamese people and animals. May you all be healthy and safe.
DVA Launches Vietnam Project
The Director of DVA’s Vietnam Project is the Venerable Thich Thanh Huan. (See profile below). On Sunday, September 23, 2018, DVA co-hosted with the Venerable, his Phap Van Pagoda, and VBS (Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha) which oversees Buddhism in the county, DVA’s Third Annual Asian Buddhist Animal Rights Conference, at the 1,000-year-old Phap Van Pagoda in Hanoi where the Venerable is the abbot.
Over 500 Vietnamese and the press attended our conference and were entertained by singers, dancers, and other musicians, followed by the Venerable Huan, Bob Isaacson, DVA’s President, medical doctors, nutritionists, and other monastics speaking about the benefits of a plant-based diet. A delicious plant-based lunch was served.
After the conference, Bob and the Venerable met the press to discuss our Vietnam Project.
DVA’s Vietnam Project Hits the Ground Running
DVA’s Vietnam Project connects with Pagodas (Vietnamese Buddhist temples) as our main operation. The Director of our Project, the Venerable Thich Thanh Huan, P.hD., has put together a team of volunteers to help spread the message for plant-based diets at the 15,000 Pagodas in Vietnam. Our DVA team is supporting individual Pagodas to hold regular events, which include offering a Dharma talk on the benefits of a compassionate diet, screening of our new film TỪNG BƯỚC CHÂN AN LẠC (Each Step of Peace and Bliss) with English subtitles, followed by a discussion, and the offering of a free plant-based lunch to all participants.
DVA’s Project team plans to show our film, TỪNG BƯỚC CHÂN AN LẠC, all over Vietnam, especially at the 15,000 Buddhist Pagodas in a country where all the monastics are vegan. Our message to the approximately 60 million lay Buddhists in Vietnam is to practice compassion and non-harming according to the Buddha. The Mahayana sutras (scriptures/texts) are 100% clear that the Buddha was a vegetarian and expected his followers to also be vegetarian! In addition to the Buddha’s message of compassion and non-harming towards ALL animals, DVA also emphasizes the health benefits of a vegan diet and that such a diet is the best way to support Vietnam’s fragile environment and reduce the devastating effects of global warming.
Our Vietnam Project has produced an original song about the amazing benefits of a compassionate diet, Ăn Chay An Lạc Chùa Pháp Vân.
Our Vietnam Project is reaching out to other religions in Vietnam. The Cao Dai religion encourages its followers in Vietnam to be vegetarian. There are many similarities between the Cao Dai religion and Buddhism. DVA President Bob Isaacson has on three of his visits met with Tam Nhu, a leader of Cao Dai, in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Venerable shared that he was inspired by DVA’s message of compassion for ALL beings, has been talking more to his followers about why they should eat a compassionate diet, and has started offering free lunches to large numbers of people at his temple. DVA looks forward to working closely with the Venerable to reach the approximately 2 1/2 million followers of Cao Dai.
Our Vietnam Project team is currently visiting as many Hanoi area Pagodas as possible, looking to deepen support for our Vietnam Project. We are planning to soon expand our Project to the southern and central regions of the country.
DVA’s Vietnam Project chef and teacher, Vũ Liên Hà, teaches cooking classes in Hanoi and in Hue, central Vietnam. Her students learn how to prepare delicious and nutritious plant-based meals for themselves and their families.
Hà, a vegan restaurant owner, also encourages her students to open such restaurants and mentors them in the business and food aspects of ownership. Hà also engages current owners of restaurants that serve animal flesh, encouraging them to convert to compassionate food. One of her recent successes was to convert a well-known dog meat restaurant to vegetarian.
Our volunteers assist our social media campaign, organize events, run errands, and may even help us by being advocates. If you are interested in volunteering to help DVA’s Vietnam Project contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Profile of our Esteemed Director, Ven. Thich Thanh Huan:
Venerable Thich Thanh Huan (his real name is Phan Nhật Huân) was born in 1967, in the North of Vietnam. He was born to a Buddhist monastic family with all but one of his six siblings becoming a monastic. After graduating from high school, he ordained in 1984 at Quán Sứ Pagoda, the headquarters of the Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha (VBS). In 1992, he earned his Bachelor of Buddhism degree. From 1994 to 2003, he studied in Taiwan, receiving his doctorate in Buddhism. During that time, he also successfully completed the doctoral program in Philosophy in Vietnam. The Venerable also studied in Làng Mai (Plum Tree Village) France, being taught by Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh, who gave him a high-ranking title as a Buddhist teacher in 2003.
Currently, the Venerable Thich Thanh Huan is the abbot of the 1,000-year-old Pháp Vân Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Venerable is a member of the Standing Committee of the Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha (VBS), which oversees Buddhism in Vietnam. He lectures at many Buddhist Academies, speaks Vietnamese and Chinese, and has started to learn English.
In addition to leading DVA’s Vietnam Project, the Venerable’s main activities include humanitarian work of helping people with life-changing diseases find jobs and places to live and protecting our environment and biodiversity. Often leading retreats for over 1,000 Buddhists at his Phap Van Pagoda, the Venerable uses every opportunity to encourage each person to adopt a plant-based compassionate diet.
Son Pham is DVA’s Vietnam Project Assistant Director. She is a devoted animal rights activist and a vegan. She has been part of our Vietnam Project team now for three years.
Before becoming our Assistant Director, Son Pham was DVA’s Vietnam Project Vietnamese-English translator/interpreter and Vietnam Project Coordinator. Son studied translating and interpreting at Vietnam National University in Hanoi. She also has a Master Degree in Language Studies in the same university. Son has experience working as a translator and interpreter for 14 years for different kinds of organizations such as 100% foreign-invested enterprises, non-governmental organizations and privately-owned companies. Son Pham has been a full-time lecturer at Thang Long University.
Vu Thi Lien Ha ( Vũ Liên Hà ) is DVA’s Vietnam Project chef and teacher.
Ha owns a vegetarian restaurant in the capital city of Hanoi, Chay Cồ Hồng – EZ VEGGIE restaurant, teaches large numbers of Vietnamese how to cook compassionate meals and mentors restaurant owners as DVA supports their transition to plant-based restaurants. She has succeeded in transitioning five restaurants into going vegan.
Vu Thi Lien Ha worked as a television reporter in Vietnam for 17 years before joining DVA. Ha actively practices Buddhism, working with a Master (teacher), and regularly participates in Buddhist retreats.