First patriarch of Vietnam Buddhism commemorated

VOVNews, March 20, 2011

Hanoi, Vietnam -- The Vietnam Buddhist Sangha Central Committee (VBSCC) hosted a solemn ceremony in Hanoi on March 17 to commemorate the 1,000th death anniversary of Imperial Councillor Khuong Viet, the first supreme patriarch of Vietnamese Buddhism.

Present at the event were religious dignitaries, leaders of several ministries, agencies and Hanoi, and a large number of Buddhist monks and followers, who devoted a minute in remembrance of the deceased in the recent powerful earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan.

Most Venerable Thich Thanh Tu, Permanent Vice President of the VBSCC’s Executive Council, said the ceremony was an occasion to recall the history and tradition of defensing the nation and guarding the people of Vietnamese Buddhism.

The dignitary expressed deep gratefulness for the care of the Party, State and Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) and the sympathy sharing of the people, which he said are great encouragement to the Buddhist Sangha on the path of serving Buddhist dharma and the nation.

Over the past 2,000 years, Buddhist monks, nuns and followers throughout the country have always joined efforts with other members of the great national unity bloc to contribute to building a strong and prosperous country.

Addressing the ceremony, Vice President of the VFF Central Committee Ha Van Nui said the event was of profound significance and a chance for everybody to express respect and gratefulness to the Imperial Councillor’s great contributions to the nation as well as the development of Vietnamese Buddhism.

Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon, Vice President and Secretary General of the VBSCC’s Executive Council, said Imperial Councillor Khuong Viet, real name Ngo Chan Luu, was born in 930 and once managed the Khai Quoc (now Tran Quoc) pagoda.

When he was 40 years old, Khuong Viet was invited to the royal palace by King Dinh Tien Hoang to discuss Buddhist and national affairs. He was appointed by the King as the supreme patriarch (the top position) of Vietnamese Buddhism and the Great Tutor a year later. Khuong Viet was then promoted to the rank of Imperial Councillor by King Le Dai Hanh.

The ceremony was followed with an incense offering ritual to pray for peace of the nation and people, and a requiem for the dead during the quake and its consequent tsunami in Japan.

Most Venerable Thich Thanh Tu also extended the sympathy and deep condolences to the Royal Family, Government and people of Japan over huge losses of humans and property during the recent quake and tsunami.

The participants and the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha also raised VND50 million to support the disaster-affected Japanese people.