Commentary: Monks going to remote areas to explore the inner-self to find the path of enlightenment is very common tradition in Buddhism. Some monks have volunteered to serve the temples in the islands of Truong Sa to provide spitiritual guidance to the local population and armed forces.
However, it seems that the Vietnamese government is using these monks to promote their political agenda of re-affirming Vietnamese sovereignty of Truong Sa. Communist interference in the religious affairs is just wrong. The promotion of buddhist monks should be based on their merits, knowledge, characters and on the established rule of the Sangha.
Early promotion of a monk due to a service given to the nation or on the order the communist reveals the regime’s oversight, control or even infiltration of the Buddhist Sangha. Only official Buddhist organization is sanctioned while other unofficial organizations are harassed.
Most Venerable Thich Giac Nghia
The abbot of a Buddhist temple on the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands has been exceptionally conferred with the Most Venerable title for his voluntary mission on one of Vietnam’s remotest territories.
Most Venerable Thich Giac Nghia, 43, who was ordained as a Buddhist monk 23 years ago, is so far the youngest monk to be awarded this title.
According to rules of the Vietnamese Buddhist Congregation, a Buddhist monk with the Venerable title is promoted to a higher rank when he is at least 45 years old and 25 years of ordination.
Most Venerable Thich Giac Nghia is one of the first Buddhist monks who volunteered to do religious affairs on the Truong Sa Islands.
Before arriving in Truong Sa in April last year, he had made significant contributions to Buddhism in Khanh Hoa by building Van Duc and Phuoc Tri Temples as places of retreat for local Buddhist followers.
Source Nhan Dan