Vietnamese Buddhists to promote dharma throughout Europe

VNA, August 14, 2008

HANOI, Vietnam -- A delegation from the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) Central Committee will make a trip to France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine and Russia to promote Buddhism in Europe from August 20 until September 10.

<< People make offerings at Ha Noi’s Quan Su Pagoda during a festival.— VNA/VNS Photo Nhat Anh

Vice President and General Secretary of the VBS Central Committee’s Executive Council, the Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon said the European tour is aimed at solidifying the belief of overseas Vietnamese about dharma and encouraging them to contribute to the homeland and keep their national culture and identity.

The Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon also described the trip as a chance for the VBS to expand its relationship with international Buddhist organisations.

The delegation will be headed by the Most Venerable Thich Chon Thien, who is Vice Standing President of the VBS’s Executive Council and Head of the VBS’s Monk and Nun Education Board.

The tour will include memorial services and prayers for peace on the occasion of the Buddhist Vu Lan ceremony, which is held annually on the 15th of the seventh month of the lunar calendar for Buddhists to express their gratefulness and appreciation to their ancestors.

The tour’s schedule includes a visit to the Truc Lam pagoda in Paris, a service to unveil a statue of the late President Ho Chi Minh in the Vietnamese Embassy in the Czech Republic, and the inauguration of the Vinh Nghiem Buddhist temple in Praha.

The VBS dignitaries will work with the Buddhist Centre and the Thien Viet Pagoda in Poland and the Buddhist College in Hungary and meet with Buddhist followers in Kiev and Kharkov in Ukraine.

The dignitaries will also hand over certificates of VBS membership to Buddhist associations in Polan, Hungary, Ukraine, give lectures and organise a ceremony to officially appoint the head of the Truc Lam pagoda in Kharkov.