|Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (second left) releases pigeons to pray for peace and prosperity on the occasion of the 2,557th birthday of Lord Buddha in Hoan Kiem District's Quan Su Pagoda yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Dan
HA NOI (VNS)— The Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) held a grand ceremony at the Ha Noi-based Quan Su Pagoda yesterday to celebrate Lord Buddha's 2557th birthday.
Prominent guests included Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, leaders of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front, the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, ministry representatives, the diplomatic corps and international organisations in Viet Nam.
President Truong Tan Sang and other Party and State leaders sent bouquets to the event.
This is one of the most important celebrations in the Buddhist calendar, not only in Viet Nam but around the world, through which people commemorate and honour Buddha and the living philosophy of Buddhism.
Following religious rituals, Most Venerable Thich Thanh Nhieu, Permanent Vice President of the VBS Executive Council, delivered a message from the VBS Patriarch to Vietnamese monks, nuns and followers at home and abroad.
The Patriarch called on followers to fulfil both their religious and civil duties, which he said were an offering from the heart to Lord Buddha.
Addressing the event, Phuc praised the Sangha's efforts to fulfill its role and position in the nation.
Buddhism had accompanied the Vietnamese nation for over 2,000 years and made great contributions to national construction and defence, the Deputy PM said.
He called on party committees and authorities from central to grassroots levels to pay more attention to the spiritual and religious lives of religious groups, including Buddhist followers.
He also urged Buddhist dignitaries, monks, nuns and followers to uphold the tradition of unity within the religion as well as with other religions and non-religious people.
Celebrations in HCMC
The immense contributions made to the cause of religious freedom and national liberation by Vietnamese Buddhists were remembered yesterday in HCM City.
The city's Buddhist Sangha held a solemn ceremony to celebrate the 2,557th birthday of Lord Buddha in Tan Binh District's Pho Quang Pagoda.
Present at the event were members of the Buddhist Sangha Patronage Council and the Dhama Executive Council of the Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha (VBS), including the Most Venerable Thich Duc Nghiep, Most Venerable Thich Hien Tu and Most Venerable Thich Tri Quang.
The celebration of Lord Buddha's birthday this year was taking place at a time when Buddhists nationwide marked the 50th anniversary of the self-immolation of Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc for the cause of national independence and protection of Buddhist traditions and Vietnamese culture.
"The Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha has continued the tradition of the Vietnamese Buddhism over the last 2,000 years and received support from the State and people.
"Thanks to these, the Sangha has recorded notable achievements in many areas, developing strongly with more than 45 million Buddhists, 45,000 monks and nuns and nearly 16,000 pagodas nationwide," Thich Bao Nghiem from the VBS said.
He called on Buddhist monks, nuns and believers within and outside the country to remember the merit of ancestors and heroic martyrs who had sacrificed their lives for protecting the independence and peace of the country.
The Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, Hua Ngoc Thuan, praised the outstanding contributions and services of Buddhist dignitaries and followers to the national construction and defence. — VNS