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, 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.
UPDATE: In September 2019, DVA President Bob Isaacson recently spent six days in Hanoi, Vietnam where our countrywide Project began one year ago. Bob spent much of the time with the Venerable Director of DVA’s Vietnam Project, Thich Thanh Huan, discussing our core strategy of holding day-long events at Pagodas (temples) which look like this: Dharma talk on compassionate diet, screening of our new documentary film in Vietnamese, Q & A, and a lunch feast.
DVA will be paying the cost of $1 per person per meal when the Pagodas cannot afford it. The plan is to run day long events four times in a year at each participating Pagoda, and to expand our program by training other qualified people so we can start penetrating the 15,000 Pagodas in Vietnam with DVA’s message. Since Bob’s trip, the number of participating Pagodas has expanded dramatically.
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, Ph D., 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 events every three months, 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. We are currently working with two major Pagodas: Tiên Tích Hà Nội and Linh Tiên – Hải Phòng.
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 vegetarian with most being 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 visited Tam Nhu, the head of Cao Dai in Vietnam, in September 2018 and again in April 2019. 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.
Our volunteers assist our social media campaign, organize events, run errands, and may even help us by being an advocate. 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 being Buddhist monks and nuns. 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 Thich Nhat Hanh, 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 compassionate diet.
Profile of our Vietnam Project Assistant Director, Vũ Liên Hà:
Vu Thi Lien Ha ( Vũ Liên Hà ) is the Assistant Director of DVA’s Vietnam Project. She directly assists the Venerable Director of DVA’s Vietnam Project, Thich Thanh Huan, a leader in the very important Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha (VBS) that oversees Buddhism in Vietnam, a country of approximately 60 million Buddhists.
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. 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.
Profile of our Vietnam Project Coordinator, Son Pham:
Son Pham is our Vietnam Project Coordinator. She studied Translating and Interpreting at Vietnam National University, 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 private-owned companies. Being a full-time lecturer at Thang Long University at the moment, Son also spends a lot of time on animals rights advocacy activities. Son Pham will act as the liaison between our team in Vietnam and DVA’s board of directors.