Thich Nhat Hanh says he wants to do more for homeland

VNS, April 25, 2007

HA NOI, Vietnam -- Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh said he feels a sense of great responsibility as a Vietnamese citizen to return to Viet Nam and contribute to the country’s national development.

Hanh made the comment in a meeting with officials from the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese on Monday.

He said Viet Nam had undergone dramatic changes since his first return visit to the country in late 2005.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Phu Binh, who is also chairman of the committee, took the opportunity to highlight the Government’s policies on overseas Vietnamese returning to their homeland.

Binh said in accordance with the Government’s national unity policy, overseas Vietnamese were offered incentives to return home.

Binh said overseas Vietnamese will be exempted from visas for up to 90 days and authorised agencies have been given orders to speed up the implementation of the new visa policy.

In a visit yesterday to the home of retired General Vo Nguyen Giap, the Master said he wished to make greater contributions to Buddhism in Viet Nam.

The world-renowned Buddhist teacher and his French-based entourage from the Zen-styled Mai Village extended their best wishes to General Giap and informed their host of the fruits of their visit to Viet Nam.

Master Hanh briefed Giap on the organisation of chanting ceremonies in Ha Noi, HCM City and Hue by the delegation in collaboration with the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha.

General Giap expressed his thanks to Hanh and his entourage for their visit. He praised the Zen Master for his contributions to his homeland and local Buddhists.

General Giap said he believed that the beautiful image of the land and people of Viet Nam would remain forever in the minds of each member of the delegation.

Master Hanh’s tour of the country, which began on February 20 and runs through to May 9, included meetings with monks from the Ha Noi Buddhist School yesterday. Today, he will hold Dharma talks at the Melia Hotel with expatriate foreigners living in Viet Nam.