Buddhism has always played an important defining role in the formation and development of Vietnam’s long-standing traditions and culture since it was introduced into the country more than 2000 years ago.

The statement was made by Ambassador Le Luong Minh, Permanent Representative of Vietnam at the UN while addressing the UN General Assembly’s May 16 special session in New York marking the 2600 th anniversary of the Enlightenment of the Buddha and the Vesak Day.

Buddhism’s lofty values and fundamental principles embracing love, kindness, equanimity, compassion, non-violence, harmony and tolerance have been absorbed into and become an integral part of the Vietnamese people’s spiritual life, said Ambassador Minh, noting these have contributed positively to the nation’s process of building and development.

He affirmed that in multinational and multi-religion Vietnam, the teachings of Lord Buddha have been expressed in the Government’s consistent policy of national unity which ensures equality and fraternity among the people of many different ethnic groups and many different religions as well as between religious and non-religious people.

Vietnamese Buddhism today has more than 12 million followers, more than 40,000 monks and nuns, and about 15,000 places of worship and nearly 40 training institutions nationwide and activities in observance of Buddhist scriptures are facilitated and protected by the State.

Buddhist dignitaries and followers have actively participated in many cultural, social and humanitarian activities, contributing to the country’s development records.

With the support and assistance of the Vietnamese Government, Buddhist dignitaries and followers have also actively participated in international cooperation to propagate Lord Buddha’s lofty teachings for a world free from violence, hatred and animosity, for peace, harmony and tolerance among all sentient beings.

The Vesak Day is commemorated every year in Viet Nam.

At adebate session, Venerable Head Monk, Vice Rector of the Vietnam Buddhist Research Institute delivered a presentation discussing conflicts and illusions./.