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Vietnam: Monks, nuns come home for Vesak

VNA, May 13, 2008

Hanoi, Vietnam -- A senior government official reiterated Vietnam’s policy on freedom of religious beliefs, saying that Buddhism and other religions enjoy equality in development in Vietnam and they have markedly contributed to national development.

Acting Chairman of the Committee for Oversea Vietnamese Affairs Nguyen Thanh Son made the remarks at a meeting with a delegation of overseas Buddhist monks, nuns and followers to visit Vietnam for the celebrations of the UN Day of Vesak in Hanoi on May 12.

Son expressed his hope that the overseas monks and nuns would enjoy the celebrations of Buddha’s birthday in the home country, and that they would later introduce friends over the world about the Vietnamese land and people.

Venerable Thich Gia Quang, Vice Chairman of the commission for international relations of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) Central Committee, said that favourable conditions created for the VBS to celebrate the UN Day of Vesak prove the Party and State’s policy on freedom of religious beliefs. The event is an honour to the Vietnamese Buddhism and Vietnamese Buddhist followers, the Venerable said.

Superior Bronze Thich Thanh Phong, a representative of Buddhist followers from the Czech Republic, expressed his pleasure to attend Vesak 2008 and said he hoped that the Vietnamese State would support for the construction of Vietnamese people’s cultural centres for Vietnamese communities in foreign countries.

Prof. Do Dinh Chieu, a Vietnamese Buddhist follower living in France, said he was delighted that UN Day of Vesak is organised for the first time in Vietnam, saying that the event would help improve Vietnam’s position in the international arena.

Tran Thi Bao, head of the delegation of Buddhist monks, nuns and followers from Poland, said that Buddhist followers in Poland had built Thien Viet pagoda replicating the famous One-Pillar Pagoda. Many Vietnamese and Polish Buddhist followers have visited Thien Viet Pagoda, she said.

During celebrations of Vesak, the delegation of about 200 overseas Vietnamese Buddhist monks, nuns and believers also plan to take part in charitable activities in some localities.


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