Buddhist committee calls for a year of nation-wide growth

Vietnam News, Jan 5, 2006

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam -- The Central Committee of the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha has resolved to enhance the workings of its local executive councils and representative boards this year.

The decision ? part of an effort to continue the strengthening and improvement of Buddhist facilities ? was made at the committee?s fourth meeting at the Quang Duc Buddhist Monastery in HCM City on Tuesday.

The meeting, which reviewed the Sangha?s work for 2005 and charted its course for 2006, was attended by the First Deputy Chairman of the Sangha Council and President of its Executive Council, the Most Venerable Thich Tri Tinh.

The director of the Viet Nam Government?s Committee for Religious Affairs, Ngo Yen Thi, and HCM City officials also attended.

The meeting was told the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) would organise more charitable activities and mobilise all Buddhists, including monks and nuns, to work together with others in constructing and defending the fatherland this year.

Prominent among last year?s achievements were the establishment of executive councils in newly-established provinces and the enhanced operational efficiency of Buddhist executive councils and Buddhist representative boards from the centre to the grassroots.

The VBS had also paid more attention to upgrading Buddhist facilities such as completing the construction of the Quang Duc Buddhist Monastery and restoring and repairing more than 350 pagodas nation-wide.

In addition, it has organised Buddhist services throughout the country and officially ordained 2,800 monks and nuns, helped 21,200 senior monks and nuns organise their faith services, and appointed 260 others as heads of pagodas.

Periodical publications such as the Giac Ngo (Enlightenment) newspaper and the Van Hoa Phat Giao (Buddhist Culture) review, and about 20 books titles about Buddhism and Buddhist Studies, have been printed and distributed widely among both Buddhist followers and the community.

Last year, Buddhist schools and monasteries organised hundreds of training courses for monks and nuns and 511 monks and nuns were honoured with B.A degrees in Buddhism.

In social affairs, the VBS drew monks, nuns and followers into social movements, such as buying State bonds and raising funds to help those who have rendered great service to the country as well as victims of natural calamities inside and outside the country.

A total of VND123 billion was raised in 2005 for these charitable activities, the Central Committee said.