Question: Can you please tell us about the military and political apparatuses within your organisation?
Answer: I can’t tell you about the apparatuses in great details. However, in general, I can say that, about six months ago, the fighters under my command, when they heard me still alive, formed themselves into resistance squadrons across the Western provinces. Though I could not directly report to the Central Government, they took the name of National Guard Squadrons to demonstrate that they always fight under the Government’s direction. From now on, these squadrons directly relate to the commandants of their respective combat zones to network into the regular national army of Vietnam. Administratively, we do not have any separate organisation. We only have village-based organisations to support the resistance. Currently we have issued a directive for them to consider the Government’s common programs for organisations to integrate with its official structure.
Q: We heard that Hau Giang seems to have had some troubles caused by your followers. Is it correct?
A: From the past to now, I’ve heard many criticisms from a few compatriots on the insensible acts of a number of my followers. Today I have the chance to meet you, I’d like to clarify and rectify these rumours. I strongly ascertain with you: All the followers who are educated and knowledgeable about the veracious tenets of Buddhism have, in the past, faithfully observed Buddha’s teachings and compassionately treat rancors even though, under such circumstances, they have to suffer a lot. As for the recent skirmishes, they were caused by a few militia men whom I had recruited for the Security Guard contingents, because the Buddhist school is always open to any sentient being who wants to return to Tao and whom I find necessary for the resistance movement for national liberation.
At the present, if what you said is true, some troubles have arisen from muggers who exist for any period of turmoil. The latter, in the name of Mr. Tran Van Soai, alias Nam Lua, extorted genuine people. To the contrary, it is Mr. Nam Lua who was exerting himself to eliminate them while dealing with reactionaries among French troops, after 30 October, who continue terrorising us and people in certain areas. For example, sixteen of our people have been gunned down or beaten to death in Lap Vo at night. Otherwise, our people have abided by the armistice under the Treaty of 14 September.
Q: So what happens to your followers in Hau Giang after you participated in politics?
A: Over one year, I’ve lost contact with them in the first six months. From February, when I had a few indirect contacts, fierce skirmishes clearly ceased. Despite this, minor skirmishes were unavoidable between the two sides. They were personal rather than organisational as before. It is because I and the superiors of the Viet Minh have not met up, therefore one side’s instructions on severe punishment couldn’t be entirely effective. In recent reports, after my political participation, my people began to have confidence in our bilateral collaboration and my participation puts an end to the pre-existing toxic, slanderous propaganda. These have been a shame on the whole of our organisation.
Q: Do you stand as the representative of a political party when you participate in politics?
A: In the past, my activities originated from within the Buddhist domain and my followers amounted to more than a million. In response to the call for national unity, I represent this mass to participate in politics from a spiritual perspective. But, in the political process of national reconstruction, I shall be the representive of any political party in pursuit of social democrat objectives.
Q: Thus, can you please tell us about whether your political ideals relate to Buddhist principles?
A: According to my understanding of the Dharma by Lord Sakyiamuni Buddha, based on its core values as compassion and cosmpolitanism toward all sentient beings, I recognize Him as a radical revolutionary in thought; it is because of the sentences “The sentient beings all have Buddhahood” and “ Buddha and all sentient beings are equal in substance”. Whereas both the parties have already possessed this equality in substance, the sentient beings are yet inferior to Buddha. It is because they do not have the same degree of enlightenment, rather than the latter beibg unsble to reach the same stage of evolution as Buddha. If, on this planet, there are still the more advanced sentient beings suppressing the less advanced ones, this act is contrary to that veracious principle. That this tenet could not be realistically applied by Lord Sakyamuni Buddha during His era is its inappropriateness in the then social condition of India. Therefore, He could only promote that spirit. Today, when mankind has reached a rather good level and, with scientific progresses, we can implement a fairer and more humane society. In this sense, with loving kindness and magnanimity which I have absorbed, I will reconcile these with the new principles of social organisation, in order to realistically serve my compatriots and humanity.
Q: Thus, before saying goodbye, can you please tell us if your life in the guerrila base has affected your practice of Tao?
A: Under whatever circumstance I can live on with my method of Tao practice. The practice, in an authentic sense, is to manifest one’s noble qualities and to realise the wellbeing of all sentient beings by any possible measure, that is a satisfaction in my Tao-practicing life. Material comfort means nothing to me.
(Excerpt from the “NAM-KY” on the 29th of November 1945)
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