Hoa Hao buddhists celebrate founderís birthday

VNA, Jan 5, 2007

An Giang, Vietnam -- Thousands of Hoa Hao Buddhism followers gathered at An Hoa Tu Pagoda in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang on Thursday to celebrate the 88th birthday of the sect’s founder, Venerable Prophet Huynh Phu So.

The celebration was also a praying ceremony for prosperity and a peaceful life for the nation.

The Hoa Hao Buddhism sect was founded by Venerable Prophet Huynh in 1939 and has since expanded to 15 provinces and cities from central Phu Yen Province southwards.

The sect has more than two million followers, including over 800,000 in An Giang Province alone.

In recent years, Hoa Hao Buddhists have actively participated in social activities.

They have raised millions of Vietnamese dong to help disadvantaged people throughout the country.

In 2007 alone, Hoa Hao Buddhists contributed close to VND46 billion (US$2.9 million) to build and repair 1,270 houses for the poor, build and upgrade 152 bridges, and 105 km of roads.

On the occasion, the provincial authorities went to six worship places to visit with some dignitaries and followers of the sect.