Quang Ninh takes pride in Buddhist roots

Voice of Vietnam, Mar 9, 2005

Hanoi, Vietnam -- The first Buddhism Congress of the northern province of Quang Ninh has been a success and a new executive boardhas been selected. The Quang Ninh Buddhist Shangha will serve as a spiritual mainstay for Buddhist functionaries in the province in line with the motto "For Dharma, the nation and socialism".

After fulfilling the duties to protect the country and his people, King Tran Nhan Tong abdicated the throne to become a monk. He went to Yen Tu Mountain in the northern province of Quang Ninh to practice Buddhism. There he founded Truc Lam, or the Bamboo Forest Meditation School, the first Vietnamese Zen tradition that attracted thousands of followers at the time. Tran Nhan Tong spent most of his time going to the country, and preaching to people. He organised many Buddhist conferences, wrote many books about Buddhism and became a famous name in Vietnamese history as well as Buddhist history.

Quang Ninh province is proud to be the place where Vietnamese Buddhism took root. The province has more than 100 pagodas, 21 of which have been recognised by the State as historic and cultural relic sites. The inception of the first provincial Buddhist Shangha in Quang Ninh since the creation of the Vietnam Buddhist Shangha in 1981, has created more favorable conditions for local Buddhists to lead a commendable religious and secular life.

Mai Hoa, head of the provincial Buddhist group, said: "We all want and encourage Buddhists to make good deeds and contribute to poverty reduction, so as to build a civilised society and a happy life for people."

The Most Venerable Thich Thanh Quyet has recently been selected as deputy head of the Executive Board of the provincial Buddhist Shangha.

"We will establish relations with Buddhist organizations in a number of countries, including Japan, the Republic of Korea and Thailand," Mr Quyet said. "This will facilitate bilateral exchanges in a number of ways, such as personnel training. We will send Vietnamese Buddhist functionaries abroad to study and invite foreign Buddhist dignitaries to Vietnam to give lectures."

Bui Viet Thin, vice president of the Quang Ninh Fatherland Front, said that local authorities at different levels will improve conditions for the provincial Buddhist Shangha to ensure freedom of religion and belief.

"Local authorities pay special attention to religious activities in the province," Mr Thin said. "Resolutions on national unity and religious issues, particularly the recent State Ordinance on Beliefs and Religions, serve as a firm basis for the development of religious activities."