Hoa Hao Buddhists prepare for sectís founding anniversary

VNA, June 18, 2008

Hanoi, Vietnam -- As many as 276 places of worship of the Hoa Hao Buddhism sect in 14 central and southern provinces and cities will organise grand ceremonies to celebrate the sect’s 69th founding anniversary falling on the 18th day of the fifth lunar month (June 21).

The worship places have received assistance from local authorities to organise ceremonies solemnly and economically, said the sectís Executive Board.

At the Hoa Hao Holy Land in Phu Tan District, southern An Giang Province, the Executive Board has set up four places to supply free meals for pilgrims during two days of celebration (June 20 and 21).

The Hoa Hao Buddhist 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 2 million followers, including over 800,000 in An Giang Province alone.

Alongside with religious activities, Hoa Hao Buddhist followers have also joined in charity activities.

So far this year, they have contributed over 18 billion VND (more than 1 million USD) to build 1,170 houses for the poor, upgrade 75 bridges and 80 km of rural road. They have also made 1,000 tonnes of traditional medicine to give to the poor, supplied foods worth 8 billion VND for charitable canteens, and donated 2 billion VND for education promotion and surgeries for the poor.