Pure Land Buddhism recognised by Vietnamese government

VNS, Dec 27, 2007

Hanoi, Vietnam -- The Tinh do Cu si Phat hoi Viet Nam (Pure Land Buddhism of Viet Nam) has received official recognition as an independent and legal religious organisation.

The Government Committee for Religious Affairs yesterday issued a decision to recognise Pure Land Buddhism as an independent religious organisation which adheres to Vietnamese laws. The decision means the religious group is equal with other independent and legal organisations.

"This decision has satisfied more than 1.5 million followers in 24 provinces and cities where our organisation operates," said a Pure Land Buddhism leader, Nguyen Phuong Hieu.

Head of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, Nguyen The Doanh, said the decision was a sign of the Party and Stateís policy to respect belief and religious freedom.

He said he hoped the Pure Land Buddhism, along with other religious groups and the people, would strive to live as good citizens of Viet Nam.

Doanh said he appreciated the organisationís contributions to health care over the last few years.

The Pure Land Buddhism now has nearly 600 dignitaries, more than 900 physicians and 1.5 million followers in 206 branches from Nha Trang City to the southernmost province of Ca Mau. Among them, 201 branches have offices for Vietnamese traditional medicine which examine and treat diseases for residents free of charge.

These offices last year supplied more than 12.4 million of doses of traditional herbs, treated more than 1 million people, and collected VND1.4 billion to support flood-hit residents and poor children.