Illustrative image. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Various ceremonial activities will take place in the northern province of Quang Ninh on December 6 and 7 to commemorate the 710th anniversary of the death of King–Monk Tran Nhan Tong, the founder of Vietnam Zen Buddhism.

According to Most Venerable Thich Gia Quang, Permanent Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) Executive Council, a ceremony will be held at Ngoa Van Pagoda in Dong Trieu district where King Tran Nhan Tong entered Nirvana to pay tribute to the King–Monk and pray for the repose of the souls of deceased people.

A grand ceremony to mark his 710th death anniversary will take place at Truc Lam Palace in Uong Bi city on December 7.

In addition, the VBS will partner with the Vietnam National University, Hanoi and the Quang Ninh People’s Committee to organise an international workshop on King Tran Nhan Tong and the Truc Lam Buddhist sect.

The workshop is expected to bring together more than 400 experts from Vietnam and 10 other countries and territories, including the US, France, India and Russia, to discuss values of the King’s ideological and cultural heritages from the past to present.

Some 300 free vegetarian meals will be given to visitors who come to pay homage to King Nhan Tong during the two-day event, said Venerable Thich Thanh Quyet, Vice Chairman of the VBS Executive Council.

Tran Nhan Tong, whose real name was Tran Kham, was born in 1258 and died in 1308. He was the third emperor of the Tran dynasty. Ascending to the throne at the age of 21, the King is famed for defeating Yuan-Mongol invaders twice during his 15-year reign.

Yet before engaging in battle, he faced a quandary. He understood that Buddhism prohibits clergymen from taking the life of any living being. To keep his adherence to Buddha's precepts and encourage unity among his people, he rallied the public at the Dien Hong conference to gather their opinions as to whether to fight. Because all of them wanted to combat the enemy, the King acted on his people's wishes and drove off the barbarous Yuan army.

After peace came to the country, the King was determined to lead a religious life. In 1293, he abdicated in favour of his son, Tran Anh Tong, and spent the rest of his life on the Yen Tu Holy Mountain in Quang Ninh practising and propagating Buddhism. He founded the Truc Lam School of Zen, or the Bamboo Forest School.

During that time, the King-Monk worked to unify different sects of Vietnamese Buddhism into Vietnamese Zen Buddhism.

The VBS Central Committee has long observed the day King Tran Nhan Tong attained Nirvana - the first day of the eleventh lunar month - as the national anniversary of Vietnamese Buddhism.–VNA