Vesak 2008: Viet Nam’s Biggest Religious Event Ever

This year’s United Nations Day of Vesak will be Viet Nam’s biggest Buddhist celebration ever, said Most Venerable Thich Thanh Tu, Permanent Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha’s Executive Council. Buddhism has a 2,000-year history in Viet Nam and this year the event will celebrated according to the Theravada tradition.

Most Venerable Thich Thanh Tu, Permanent Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Buddhist Church's Executive Council (Photo: SGGP)

Vesak is the most important Buddhist festival and is held annually on the full-moon day of fourth lunar month to commemorate Buddha’s three sacred events, namely his birth, his enlightenment, and his Great Passing Away.

The Mahayana tradition, followed by most Vietnamese Buddhists, celebrates only the birth of the Buddha on that day.

However, the UN’s version Vesak follows the Theravada tradition, Most Venerable Thich Thanh Tu said.

Prior to the event, the government created favorable conditions for the preparation work by forming a National Steering Committee for the United Nations Day of Vesak 2008. Its members include government officials, members of the Vietnam Buddhist Church and the International Organizing Committee.

On behalf the country and its people, Most Venerable Tu expressed happiness that Viet Nam could host such holy event and hoped that the celebrations would connect Vietnamese Buddhists with their peers in other parts of the world to bring peace, friendship and happiness to humanity.

Buddhist monks in Hue celebrate the U.N Day of Vesak on May 13 (Photo: SGGP)

The celebrations are also a chance to raise the international profile of Buddhism and to stress government efforts to support religious beliefs.

 

Since the Ordinance on Religion and Belief was issued four years ago, Buddhism has developed steadily. More shrines and pagodas have been built or restored to encourage more Buddhists to practice traditional rituals.

Many Buddhists act in accordance with their spiritual and moral values to bring more good things to life and contribute to the country’s social and economic development, said Most Venerable Tu.

Related article:
U.N. Day of Vesak Starts in Ha Noi
 

By Phuc Hau – Translated by Khanh Hong

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