The Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) on May 24 held a grand ceremony at Hanoi-based Quan Su pagoda to celebrate Lord Buddha’s 2557th birthday.

Prominent among the guests were Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, leaders of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, representatives from ministries, the diplomatic corps and international organisations in Vietnam.

President Truong Tan Sang and other Party and State leaders sent bouquets to the event.

This is one of the most important celebrations of the Buddhist faith, not only in Vietnam but also around the world, through which people commemorate and honour Buddha and the living philosophy of Buddhism.

After religious rituals, Most Venerable Thich Thanh Nhieu, Permanent Vice President of the VBS Executive Council delivered a message of the VBS Patriarch to Vietnamese monks, nuns and followers at home and abroad.

The Patriarch called on followers to fulfill both their religious and civil duties, which he said is the offering from the heart to Lord Buddha.

On addressing the event, Phuc praised the Sangha’s efforts to fulfill its role and affirm its position in the nation.

Buddhism has accompanied the Vietnamese nation for over 2,000 years and made great contributions to national construction and defence, the Deputy PM said.

He called on party committees and authorities from central to grassroots levels to pay more attention to the spiritual and religious life of religious groups, including Buddhist followers.

He also urged Buddhist dignitaries, monks, nuns and Buddhist followers to uphold the tradition of unity within the religion as well as with other religions and with non-religious people.

A grand ceremony to mark the Lord Buddha’s 2557th birthday also took place in Ho Chi Minh City the same day.-VNA