The closing ceremony of the the eighth congress of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (Source: VNA)

 Hanoi (VNA) – The eighth congress of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) concluded in Hanoi on November 22, with Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue re-honoured as Supreme Patriarch of the VBS.

The closing ceremony was attended by 1,250 Buddhist dignitaries, monks, nuns and followers both at home and abroad.

The congress also elected 96 members of the Patronage Council with Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue as the Patriarch of the council’s standing board, along with 225 official members and 45 alternate members of the Executive Council headed by Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon for the 2017-2022 tenure.

The participants reviewed the operation of the Sangha from 2012-2017 and set out an operational programme for the next five years.

Accordingly, the VBS will maintain and promote values of Vietnamese Buddhism with a combination of tradition and modernity, expand multilateral foreign relations and intensify communications work.

The VBS has chapters in all 63 cities and provinces, and Associations of Vietnamese Buddhists in 11 countries worldwide. There are four Buddhism universities, eight college-level training programmes and 34 primary Buddhism schools.

Dr. Bui Huu Duoc, head of the Buddhism Department of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, said Buddhism has been growing fast, with the number of Buddhist followers rising to nearly 40 million people, making up more than 40 percent of the nation’s population.-VNA