Revival or repression? Buddhism and politics in Vietnam today
Talk by Aike P. Rots, associate professor of Japan Studies, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo. Open for all.
As several scholars have pointed out, contemporary Vietnam is characterized by widespread religious revival. Buddhism in particular is undergoing significant transformations, as Buddhist pagodas and symbols are increasingly visible in the public sphere, and transnational Buddhist movements are attracting new groups of lay followers. Meanwhile, however, religious activities continue to be subject to state control, and human rights organisations still report regular repression and persecution of religious actors. In this presentation, I will analyse the ambivalent relationship between religion and politics in contemporary Vietnam, using two case studies: the revival of popular Buddhism in the city of Danang (central Vietnam), and the dramatic events following the return of Thich Nhat Hanh to Vietnam in 2005.