The seventh Congress of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha got underway in Hanoi on November 23, drawing more than 1,000 monk, nun, and local and overseas dignitary delegates.

This year’s Congress was chaired by Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue, Patriarch of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha’s Patronage Council.

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Secretary of the Party Central Committee Ha Thi Khiet and President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Huynh Dam also attended the event.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Most Venerable Thich Chon Thien, permanent Vice Chairman of the Sangha’s executive council, said that the conference will review the 2007-12 operational period, adopt the 2012-17 working plan, pass the 5 th revision to the Sangha’s Charter, honour outstanding members of the Patronage Council and elect a new Executive Council for the seventh tenure.

Reviewing the work of the Sangha during the 2007-12 term, Thien said that the Sangha has established its chapters in 58 out of 63 cities and provinces nationwide, with eight new provincial ones. The Vietnamese Buddhist sects also appear in many countries, including the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Ukraine and Russia .

The Sangha has carried out many humanitarian activities, including organising classes for disadvantaged children, building homes for the elderly and other humanitarian services. It has raised thousands of billions in dong over the past five years.

Speaking at the event, Deputy PM Phuc said that the congress plays an important role in the spiritual life and beliefs of Buddhist followers at home and abroad.

With 2,000 years of tradition, the Buddhist Sangha has made great contributions to national construction and protection, he affirmed.

He expressed his hope that the Sangha will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people, and remain an important link for overseas Buddhist followers who want to contribute to building and developing the country.

On behalf of the Party and government, Phuc presented the Congress with a laudatory banner embroidered with the words "Vietnam Buddhism- protecting the nation- relieving the people".

The event is scheduled to end on the afternoon of November 24./.VNA