The event was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, former Chairman of the National Assembly Nguyen Van An, former President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Pham The Duyet, and his successor Tran Thanh Man, international religious delegates, among others.
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong, President Tran Dai Quang, and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc sent congratulatory flowers to the event.
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue and VFF President Tran Thanh Man presented flowers and congratulated Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue, Supreme Patriarch of the VBS on the occasion.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon, Chairman of the seventh tenure VBS Executive Council, highlighted that this congress upholds the goal of “wisdom, discipline, integration, and development”.
That shows all Buddhist monks, nuns, and followers are determined to stay united to develop a strong VBS under the motto “Religion – Nation – Socialism”, he affirmed.
The congress will look into nine targets set for the 2017-2022 tenure, continue revising the VBS Charter in accordance with the Law on Belief and Religion, and the development visions through 2030.
He underlined the achievement the VBS has gained over the past 36 years, saying that its chapters have been established in all 63 localities nationwide. It has hosted numerous important religious events and festivals, including the 50th anniversary of Quang Duc bodhisattva lighting himself on fire, and the revolution of the southern Vietnamese Buddhists (1963); the 705th anniversary of the attainment of Nirvana of King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong.
The VBS hosted successfully the UN International Day of Vesak 2014 under the theme “Buddhist Perspective towards Achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals'; inaugurated pagodas on Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago, in border areas in Cao Bang, Lang Son, and Quang Ninh provinces.
In the past tenure, numerous delegations were sent abroad to help overseas Vietnamese communities and the Associations of Vietnamese Buddhists were set up in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Angola and Mozambique, while those in Laos and Cambodia have been consolidated.
The VBS also raised billions of Dong for social, charity work during its past term, Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon said.
Addressing the event, Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue highlighted the Vietnamese Buddhism’s 2000-year journey of accompanying the nation and its significant contributions to the nation protection and building.
Over the course, Buddhism has mingled with the daily life and inspired Vietnamese people to follow its good values, Hue said, adding that the history has attested the contributions the Vietnamese Buddhists have made to the nation.
He attached significance to the eighth congress of the VBS, saying that it affirms the growth of the Vietnam Buddhism.
The Party and State have acknowledged the role of the Vietnam Buddhism and its contributions to the national liberation and the current Doi moi (renewal), Hue said, calling on all dignitaries, monks, and nuns to continue showing the values of the religion.
He expressed his hope that participants will select capable members for the next tenure of the VBS, while encouraging monks, nuns and all people continue observing policies of the Party, State, fulfilling their citizen obligations and responsibility, ensuring solidarity, peace and harmony among Buddhists, with other religions and all people.
The VBS will continue to serve as a bridge connecting with the Associations of Vietnamese Buddhists, Vietnamese expats, so they will turn to the home country and join their hands in the national protection, building and development, Hue said.
According to the Deputy PM, the State respects and ensures the freedom of religion and belief practice, acknowledges the contributors to the nation, facilitates religious people to practice and fulfill their citizen obligations.
For his part, VFF Chairman Tran Thanh Man hailed the achievements Vietnamese Buddhists at home and abroad have made to the national great unity and national protection and building in the past tenure, hoping that they will continue doing so in the next term.
He suggested that the VBS send more monks and nuns to assist the religion’s affairs in the northern mountainous provinces, the Central Highlands region, and the Khmer Theravada Buddhism in the Southwest and pay more attention to operations of the Associations of Vietnamese Buddhists overseas.
At the occasion, dozens of dignitaries, individuals, and units were honoured for their outstanding contributions to the religion, and the nation-building efforts.