Vietnam's Sangha pledges humanitarian tradition

VNA, Aug 22, 2008

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam -- A top monk of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha has called on followers to further live with the religion’s humanitarian, kind-hearted and devoted spirit while contributing to the national unity and socialism.

Most Venerable Thich Tri Tinh, President of the Sangha’s Executive Council, made the statement at a working session on the religion’s affairs from now till the year-end held in Ho Chi Minh City on August 21.

He called on Buddhists nationwide to turn Buddhist theory into practice by building more homes for the poor and raising fund for charitable cataract operation programmes in remote areas as well as free medical examinations and treatments for poor patients in mountainous and ethnic minority groups’ communities.

The Sangha’s Social Charity Board reported that it had raised 87.2 billion VND and 15,000 kg of rice over the past eight months for national charitable activities.

Monks and nuns nationwide have also donated over 100 tonnes of rice and 17,000 USD in relief aid for flood victims in Myanmar and earthquakes-hit Chinese.

The Sangha confirmed of HIV/AIDS patients as the core target of its 2008 charitable programme.

Its medicare network with the current 58 drug stores and clinics using traditional medicines and therapies will further expand in Ho Chi Minh City.

The network has over the past eight months provided free medical check-ups and treatments for thousands of poor patients at a cost of hundreds of millions of Vietnamese dong.

The Sangha has also spent billions of Vietnamese dong on building charitable classrooms and humanitarian centres for disabled children and orphans nationwide, from Hanoi to the central provinces of Hue and Quang Nam, the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, Ho Chi Minh City and the southern provinces of Long An and Kien Giang.