Almost 550 students who competed their Buddhism studies at the Vietnam Buddhism University received their degrees in the presence of Buddhist dignitaries from several countries at a convocation ceremony held at Pho Quang Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City on September 8.

The visitors included His Holiness Dharmasen Mahathero, Buddhist Supreme Patriarch of Bangladesh, His Holiness Preah Tep Vong, Buddhist Supreme Patriarch Of Cambodia, Most Ven Phra Theppariyattivimol, rector of Thailand ’s Mahamakut Buddhist University , and Most Ven Dr Bhikshu Satyapala, head of the Department of Buddhist Studies at India ’s Delhi University .

They were welcomed by Thich Tu Nhon, standing vice president of the Executive Council of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) and other leaders of the VBS , members of the university executive council, students, their families, and Buddhist faithfuls.

Nhon conferred honorary doctorates on the visitors for their great contributions to peace, justice, improvement of people’s spiritual life, and on Buddhism education around the world before handing out the degrees to the graduates.

The graduates were from six faculities – Buddhism in Pali language and Southeast Asia , Buddhism in Sanskrit and Tibetan languages, Chinese-Japanese-Korean Buddhism, Vietnamese Buddhism, World Buddhism and Buddhist Philosophy.

The most Ven Prof Dr Thich Tri Quang, rector of the university, said the graduation rate varied from 85 to more than 90 percent depending on the faculty.

Founded in 1983, the university, which has a faculty of 70, mostly with master’s degrees and doctorates from abroad, trains students from all over the country from bachelor’s to doctoral levels.

During their four years in the university, students studied the wealth of Buddhist sutras or texts, history, literature, philosophy, and foreign and ancient languages, Quang said.

“Since our degrees are internationally recognised, the graduates can apply for higher studies in India , China , Japan and Thailand , as well as western universities,” he said, adding the university had tied up with institutions in India and Thailand./.