The Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS), the largest Buddhist organization in Vietnam, celebrated its 40th anniversary on 7 November with national officials at the headquarters of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, an umbrella group of the communist government, in Hanoi. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the virtual celebration, titled “40 Years of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha: Integration and Development with the Country,” was streamed online.
According to Ven. Thich Thien Nhon, head of the VBS Executive Council, the sangha’s development and expansion over the past four decades had been driven by Vietnamese culture and by embracing national unity and socialism. The event marked the organization’s historical development in the spirit of entering the world according to the motto “Dharma, Nation, Socialism.”
“We are proud that Vietnamese Buddhism has never had a future like today in the country and in the world,” said Ven. Nhon. (UCA News)
The monk went on to say that the communist government had approved the VBS as the only official Buddhist organization representing some 55,000 monks and nuns, 18,000 pagodas and worship sites, and tens of millions of followers and supporter at home and abroad.
The VBS was founded at Quan Su Pagoda in Hanoi on 7 November 1981, bringing together nine Buddhist schools that supported the country’s communist government. Many Buddhist leaders are members of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and work for the party.
The sangha has established 10 Buddhist associations and provided guidance to Vietnamese monks, nuns, and followers in 35 countries and territories around the world.
Speaking at the event, Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc praised the Buddhist community for their devotion to the country during the course of the religion’s 2,000-year history in Vietnam. He noted that the sangha had many shining examples of individuals who had contributed to bringing people together and promoting national cohesion during times of war and of peace.
“Thousands of Buddhist monks, nuns, and disciples became patriotic soldiers who fought alongside people against the enemy,” said Phuc. “Many temples became revolutionary bases. Many monks fought and died for the country’s freedom.” (Viet Nam News)
Phuc further stated that the sangha had rigorously adopted preventative measures and suspended all religious activities in response the pandemic, to ensure the safety of monks, nuns, followers, and larger society.
“The sangha has also donated a major financial resource to the national COVID-19 vaccine fund and helped to purchase a large amount of medical equipment, food, and essential items for those in need,” Phuc said. (Viet Nam News)
Ven. Thich Tri Quang, head of the VBS Executive Board in Ho Chi Minh City, read a message from the Patronage Council of Sangha urging all monks, nuns, disciples, and people to continue upholding the embodied tradition of Vietnamese Buddhism, to train themselves, and to cultivate dignified spirituality.
Vietnam Buddhist Sangha celebrates 40th anniversary (UCA News)
President praises Buddhist Sangha’s dedication to country (Viet Nam News)
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