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Vietnam's Buddhists sign deal to promote religion overseas

VietNamNet Bridge, July 17, 2009

Hanoi, Vietnam -- The Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) and the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese (COV) have agreed on a joint programme designed to meet the demands of Vietnamese expats who wish to practise religion.

The programme, the first of its kind between the VBS and a State agency, was signed by Most Venerable Thich Thanh Tu, deputy chairman of the VBS's executive council, and deputy minister and COV chairman Nguyen Thanh Son in Ha Noi yesterday, July 16.

"This move shows that the Party and the State have trust in the VBS's activities and respect the freedom of belief of the Vietnamese people both inside and outside of the country," Son said at the signing ceremony.

Son said the programme is expected to make it easier for more than four million overseas Vietnamese to practise religion.

According to him, COV and the VBS have made an active contribution to religious programmes in recent years, including those held in Viet Nam and overseas that were designed to promote dharma.

Noteworthy were a requiem for fallen soldiers held on Con Dao Island on national liberation day (April 30), and a prayer for peace and stability in the nation and the rest of the world held during the procession of a giant jade Buddha statue in Phat Tich pagoda, northern Bac Ninh province.

A grand requiem for fallen soldiers will be held in central Quang Tri province on War Invalids and Fallen Soldiers Day on July 27.

Viet Nam will also host a grand requiem for Vietnamese volunteers and Lao soldiers who sacrificed their lives in Laos.

Son said he hoped that the VBS would whole heartedly join in these upcoming events.

Underlining Buddhism's link with the nation. Most Venerable Tu pledged to work with COV on Buddhist activities, particularly those aimed at the overseas Vietnamese community.

He said that thanks to the support of the Party and the State, particularly with the holding of the 2008 UN Vesak Day, Buddhism had extended its influence.


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