A grand meeting was held in Hanoi on Nov. 7 to celebrate the 30 th founding anniversary of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS).

A message of the VBS leader presented by Most Venerable Thich Chon Thien, Vice Chairman of the VBS Executive Council, said the foundation of the VBS on Nov. 7, 1981 was an important event for the Vietnamese Buddhism.

The VBS is a sole organisation that has a mission to maintain the 2,000 year history of the Vietnamese Buddhism. It is an active member in the great national unity bloc, defending the country and reassuring the people, it said.

The message called upon the Sangha at all levels, Buddhist dignitaries and followers in and outside the country to make efforts to fulfil all Buddhist tasks and overcome shortcomings to further develop the VBS.

In his opening speech, Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon, Vice Chairman and General Secretary of the VBS Executive Council said that Buddhism has made great contributions to the national culture, especially in literature, philosophy, education, aesthetics, architecture and arts.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan stressed that Buddhism helps monks, nuns and followers in and outside the country understand more about the guidelines and policies of the Party and State in the cause of national construction and defence.

With the spirit of mercy, freedom and peace loving, the VBS is taking the lead in promoting the great national unity and religious solidarity and building a new life for a strong nation with rich people and a democratic, fair and civilised society.

At the meeting, Vice State President Nguyen Thi Doan conferred the Ho Chi Minh Order on the VBS in recognition of its great contributions to the nation’s revolutionary cause.

Deputy PM Nhan presented the Independence Order, first class, second class and third class, to Buddhist monks and nuns who have made outstanding contributions to national construction and defence.

On the occasion, the State President decided to present the Great National Unity Order to Buddhists with excellent achievements in building great national unity. The Prime Minister also offered certificates of merit to the VBS’s affiliates.

According to Venerable Thich Gia Quang, VBS Executive Council Deputy General Secretary, the VBS now has over 14,700 pagodas and worship places with nearly 46,500 Buddhist monks and nuns; four Buddhist institutes and 30 Buddhist schools./.