A series of activities to commemorate 60 years since the “disappearance” of Patriarch Minh Dang Quang, founder of the Tang Gia Khat Si (Mendicant Buddhist Sect), will take place in Ho Chi Minh City on February 25 – March 2.

Patriarch Quang, real name Nguyen Thanh Dat, was born in the southern province of Vinh Long in 1923 to a family of devout Buddhists. He followed in their footsteps, expounding Buddha’s teachings through 69 booklets and beginning the Tang Gia Khat Si train of thought. His guidelines for followers to study and follow were later compiled into a thick book entitled “Chon Ly” (the Truth), which is a combination of both Mahayana and Theravada ideals.

During his religious practices, Quang set up over 20 monasteries with hundreds of monks and nuns nationwide.

On one mission from Sa Dec to Can Tho, he reportedly died in a traffic accident. His followers, however, refuse to acknowledge his death and still mark his disappearance each year.

During the period, statues of the Patriarch and Buddha will be unveiled, plus a photo exhibition about his life. A ceremony to release flower-shaped lanterns and pray for peace and well-being will be held while over 1,200 monks and nuns will go on begging rounds.

On the occasion, 1,500 sets of gifts will be handed over to homeless and poor children.

A workshop titled “The Mendicant Buddhist Sect: Establishment, Development and Integration” will be hosted by the HCM City’s Vietnam Buddhist Research Institute, the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute for Religious Studies and the Vietnam Mendicant Buddhist Sect.

Quang’s group was among nine founding members of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha in 1981.-VNA