Vice Chairman of the committee Duong Ngoc Tan (R) presents flowers to Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue at Vien Minh Pagoda, Phu Xuyen distrist of Hanoi, on August 13 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Representatives of the Government’s Religious Affairs Committee paid a visit to Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue, Supreme Patriarch of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS), on Vu lan (Ullambana) – a major Buddhist festival.

The Party and the State appreciate the VBS’s enormous contributions to educating people on how to lead a good social life, especially maintaining virtues, Vice Chairman of the committee Duong Ngoc Tan said during the August 13 visit.

He asserted that Buddhism has had great influence on Vietnamese people.

He asked the VBS to continue upholding fine traditions and accompanying the country during the development process.

The Party and the State support the VBS’s activities that help solidify the great national unity bloc and enhance social growth, he added.

Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue said Vu lan festival, which falls on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month (August 17 this year), is an occasion to express gratitude to parents, teachers, the nation and the Three Refuges.

It also marks the end of the three-month summer retreat, which lasts from the 15th of the fourth lunar month to the 15th of the seventh lunar month. On that day, monks and nuns who reside in one place and devote themselves to their practice during the retreat will become one year older in the Order, he noted.

The Supreme Patriarch said he will continue leading the VBS in its practice to bring about peace and happiness for people.

Vietnam is now home to more than 48,000 Buddhist monks and nuns who are practicing the religion in over 17,000 Buddhist worshipping sites with each receiving up to 1,000 followers annually.

According to the 2009 general census, Vietnam had more than 6.8 million Buddhist followers.-VNA