Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha rejects restoration of united church

VNA, Nov 17, 2005

Ha Noi, Vietnam -- The Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha has condemned calls for restoring the United Buddhist Church (UBC) by some former members of this dissolved organisation.

In a notice sent to its clerics, monks, nuns and Buddhists both at home and abroad, the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) Executive Council said "the VBS and people across the country are upholding the motto 'Living the gospel amidst the nation' and building a society of justice, democracy and civilisation.

But some ex-members of the former UBC have separated themselves from the Sangha and the entire nation in persisting in their conservative prejudice with assistance from hostile foreign forces. They have abused their former leading positions in the former UBC by calling for its restoration."

The action has not only violated the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha charter and laws of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam but also harmed the unity among clerics and followers and the entire nation, which has thrived for thousands of years of Vietnamese history, said the notice.

The VBS Executive Council called on clerics, monks and nuns and Buddhists both at home and abroad to make joint efforts for the development of Buddhism in the interests of followers and the nation in line with the VBS programme of action.

The VBS has always respected the history of the United Buddhist Church, but will not accept some individuals' wrongful use of the UBC name in attempting to restore the organisation, which was one of the founders of the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha in November 1981.

Buddhism is a benevolent and selfless religion, while Vietnamese traditions are kind and friendly to all people. The VBS has therefore always wished to foster national unity and create opportunities for all to join the common organisation of Buddha to serve the religion and the nation as a whole, the Sangha Executive Council concluded.