The Buddhist crises in Vietnam 1963-1966

2017-08-01T02:09:38Z (GMT) by Phạm Văn Lưu
The Buddhist Movement that broke out in 1963 as a struggle for regligious equality, gradually emerged into a political movement tht demanded a constituent Assembly, rights of self detrmination and the replacement of the Thieu-Ky government three years later.<br>When President Diem was overthrown, the Buddhists gained great prestige internationally and domestically. The Buddhist leaders took this opportunity to establish a National Congress to unite seven prominent Buddhist organizations, including Theravada and Mahayana, into a unique church, the United Buddhist Church (UBC). This was probably the greatest achievement to Buddhists in the Vietnamese history. Thereafter the Buddhist leaders tried to set up infrastructures, mass organizsations and improve domestic activities. They sought to plan a political policy to pursue their struggle for power in the political scene of South Vietnam.<br>When supporting the generals to overthrow Diem, perhaps the Americans thought that the military was the largest most united and disciplined organization which was most effective in leading Vietnam in its anti-Communist war. However, the generals were in control, due to the temptations of position and money, they competed against one another at the expense of the was against the Viet Cong. Therefore, bewteen 1964 and 1965, there were five coups. Before such an unstable situation, a number of politically minded bonzes, perhaps motivated by their patriotism an the thrust of historical circumstances, took part in politics to save the nation. However, unfortunately, due to their lack of political experiemnce and knowledge they did not achieve their objective, but instead created greater instability within the political scene in South Vietnam. Indeed, the Buddhist Movement contributed to the collapse of a number of government including those of Ngo Dinh Diem, Nguyen Khanh and Tran Van Huong governments.<br>Confronted by such critical circumstances, the US brought their troops into Vietnam in hope of saving the nation from the Communists. In order to maintain political stability and to conduct the war, the Americans supported Generals Thieu Ky to put a stop to the Buddhist Movement in 1966.<br>