The Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS)’s central executive committee and the VBS’s Hanoi executive board held a grand ceremony at Quan Su pagoda on June 1 (the 15 th day of the fourth lunar month) to mark Lord Buddha’s 2559 th birthday.

Politburo member and President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan extended congratulations to Buddhist monks, dignitaries, and followers and praised the VBS for encouraging Vietnamese Buddhists both at home and abroad to actively contribute to the national development, such as in expanding pre-school education, social welfare, vocational training, medical check-ups and treatment, and environmental preservation.

He recognised the VBS’s efforts in enhancing its relations with international Buddhist organisations through various activities like exchanges, workshops, and charitable work, which have helped promote the status of the VBS as well as Vietnam in general.

He said he expects the VBS will continue upholding identities of Vietnamese Buddhist sects while strengthening Buddhism’s solidarity with other religions in the country, and mobilising Buddhist expatriates’ contributions to the homeland.

In a message to all Vietnamese Buddhist monks and followers both at home and abroad, VBS Supreme Patriarch Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue called on all Vietnamese Buddhists to do their utmost in following Buddha’s teachings and enhancing national unity for the sake of the nation and people’s happiness.

As Lord Buddha’s birthday this year coincides with the International Children’s Day, he said he hopes the VBS chapters at all levels will pay more attention to caring for children.

He also asked Buddhist monks and followers to pray for and send aids to the Nepalese people who recently suffered from a devastating earthquake.

At the ceremony, participants performed the ritual of bathing the Buddha statue and released doves to pray for peace and happiness.-VNA