Local authorities from the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong on April 24 met with Buddhist dignitaries and followers to share their joy ahead of the 11th United Nations Day of Vesak which is slated for May in Vietnam.

The officials highlighted the socio-economic development in the year just gone and in the first quarter of 2014, which they said had substantially benefitted from contributions by Buddhist monks, nuns and followers.

Vice Chairwoman of the People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Ngoc Le said she hopes the provincial Buddhist Sangha will further promote internal solidarity and actively participate in social activities for fostering national unity.

On behalf of over 50,000 local Buddhist followers, Venerable Thich Quang Hien, deputy head of the Sangha, called on officials to facilitate the religious practices of Buddhists.

The province has handed over land for use by 70 religious organisations, and granted licenses for building and upgrades for another 60.

Local believers are also being encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities during the nation’s major upcoming holidays and religious festivals.

The same day, the Central Highlands Steering Committee visited and presented gifts to the provincial Buddhist Sangha.

The United Nations Day of Vesak (Buddha’s Birthday, Enlightenment and Passing Away) celebrations are going to be held in northern Ninh Binh province on May 7-12.

Buddhism has accompanied Vietnam for over 2,000 years. Vietnam has more than 12 million Buddhist followers, over 40,000 monks and nuns and almost 15,000 temples, monasteries and other Buddhist places of worship.-VNA