|President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc (far right) attends a ceremony marking the 40th founding anniversary of the Việt Nam Buddhist Sangha in Hà Nội on Sunday. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất|
HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam Buddhist Sangha celebrated its 40th founding anniversary on Sunday.
The ceremony was held in Hà Nội and online with 63 cities and provinces across the country.
In attendance were President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, Secretary of the Party Central Committee Đỗ Văn Chiến, head of the Central Mass Mobilisation Commission Bùi Thị Minh Hoài, other country’s leaders, and venerable monks representing the Sangha.
On behalf of the Party and State leaders, President Phúc presented a First-class Independence Medal to the Sangha.
Speaking at the event, the President praised the dedication of Buddhist disciples to the country throughout the religion’s 2,000-year history in Việt Nam.
Whether in wartime or peacetime, the Sangha has had many shining examples of individuals who helped to gather people and build national solidarity, he said.
“Thousands of Buddhist monks, nuns and disciples became patriotic soldiers who fought alongside people against the enemy. Many temples became revolutionary bases. Many monks fought and died for the country’s freedom,” President Phúc said.
In modern times, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Sangha has strictly complied with prevention regulations and stopped all religious activities to ensure safety for the monks, nuns, followers, and society, he added.
“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,” he said.
Many monks, nuns and disciples volunteered to work in hospitals and field hospitals in the pandemic hotspots such as HCM City and other southern provinces. A lot of temples and places of worship were turned into care centres for COVID-19 patients, or places to keep cremated ashes of patients that died from the pandemic.
The President stressed that it’s in the Party’s and State’s interest to always respect and ensure the people's right to freedom of belief and religion, right to freedom of non-belief and religion, and to ensure religious activities in accordance with the law.
He expressed his hope that the Sangha, monks, nuns, and Buddhists across the country will continue to demonstrate their role and credibility in building great national unity, developing the nation, connecting Buddhist followers in and out of the country and with other religions.
The State leader asked the Central Committees, ministries, Party committees, local authorities and the Việt Nam Fatherland Front to always pay attention to promote and implement the State’s policies on religion.
This means having actions such as guiding, helping, and creating favourable conditions for religions, Buddhism included, to operate in compliance with the law, which will help to create a stable and healthy environment for religious and belief activities throughout the country, he said.
Venerable Thích Trí Quảng, head of the Executive Board of the Việt Nam Buddhist Sangha in HCM City, delivered a message from the Patronage Council of the Sangha, which called on all the monks, nuns, disciples, and people to continue upholding the incarnation tradition of Vietnamese Buddhism, train themselves, and cultivate dignified spirituality.
They should also further promote the tradition of protecting the nation and the people, accompanying the nation of Vietnamese Buddhism, as well as consolidating national solidarity and international religious connections, the message reads.
The Sangha should also take care of the overseas Vietnamese Buddhist community, and through them, introduce the Vietnamese history, culture and people to international friends to help the country maintain peace, stability and protect Việt Nam’s sovereignty. — VNS