Buddhism developing across the country

VNA, Nov 6, 2004

Ha Noi, Vietnam -- "Vietnamese Buddhism is developing strongly," Most Venerable Thich Tri Quang, Vice Chairman of the Viet Nam Buddhism Sangha (VBS) asserted, while talking with a Viet Nam News Agency reporter at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Viet Nam Buddhist Institute in Ha Noi's outlying district of Soc Son on Saturday.

Most Venerable Thich Tri Quang, who is also Head of VBS Central Committee's Dharma Dissemination Department, said Viet Nam currently has 40,000 monks and nuns, around 10 million Buddhist followers, and 14,500 worshipping places. Every year, hundreds of pagodas and worshipping places are built or repaired with the donations of followers at home and abroad.

The monk said that the VBS intends to increasingly promote Buddhism in mountainous areas, aiming for even development throughout the country.

Speaking about the teaching of Buddhism, the Most Venerable said, pagodas often hold sessions on Buddhist teachings for followers while the VBS's newspaper Giac Ngo (Enlightenment) carried articles on basic Buddhist teachings. He highlighted the eagerness with which followers in the southern region are pursuing studies.

Viet Nam has thus far established three Buddhist institutes in Ha Noi, the central city of Hue and Ho Chi Minh City, with the enrolment of 1,000 monks and nuns, he noted

In addition to these institutes, there are five colleges and 30 junior colleges teaching Buddhism, which presently train nearly 4,000 monks and nuns, along with hundreds of classes organised by the VBS's chapters at localities.

Hundreds of monks and nuns are taking courses at Buddhist institutes in 10 countries and territories, including India with some 200 Vietnamese students. These graduates, with many holding M.A and Ph.D degrees, are holding important posts at the VBS and also lecture at Buddhist schools.

Monk Thich Tri Qung added that the VBS is working on a project to open a school to train monks and nuns for Therevada Khmer Buddhism.