The Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) Central Committee held a ceremony in Hanoi on December 13 to commemorate the 704 th anniversary of the death of King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong, the founder of Vietnam Zen Buddhism.

Most Venerable Thich Bao Nghiem, Vice Chairman of the VBS Executive Committee, highly valued the King’s contributions to national defence and Vietnamese Buddhism.

His merit and religious career are part of the nation’s history. His cause to defend the country and ensure peace for the people unites society and promotes Buddhism in the modern era and the future, Nghiem said.

Tran Nhan Tong (1258-1308), the third king of the Tran dynasty, ascended the throne when he was just 21. He is famed for defeating Mongol invaders twice during his 15-year reign.

The King abdicated the throne when he was 35 and spent the rest of his life on the Yen Tu Mountain practising and propagating Buddhism. He founded the Truc Lam School of Zen and worked to unify different Vietnamese Buddhism sects into Vietnamese Zen Buddhism.

The VBS Central Committee has long observed the day King Tran Nhan Tong attained Nirvana (the first day of the 11th lunar month) as the national anniversary of Vietnamese Buddhism.

The same day, the VBS commemorated the first anniversary of the death of Most Venerable Thich Thanh Tu, former Vice President of the VBS Executive Council.-VNA