Vietnamese Abroad Celebrate the Buddha’s 2566th Birthday

Vietnamese Buddhists abroad celebrate Vesak Day 2022, a holy day in Buddhist culture.
May 19, 2022 | 08:19

Since 1999, the United Nations recognized Lord Buddha’s birthday as a global cultural festival. For Vietnamese buddhist followers, Lord Buddha’s birthday is an important ceremony with an ancient history.

Vietnamese Abroad Celebrate the Buddha’s 2566th Birthday
Ven. Thich Tam Huy performing ablution of statuette of the Buddha enroute. Photo: VNA

Vietnamese abroad on May 15 have gathered to celebrate Vesak – the day of the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha – the most auspicious Buddhist day and a significant event in the annual calendar of the Parisian Vietnamese.

A ceremony was held at a Vietnamese pagoda in Villebon-sur-Yvette, France, on May 15 to mark the Buddha’s 2566th birthday, with the participation of Vietnamese Ambassador to France Dinh Toan Thang and his spouse; Ambassador Le Thi Hong Van, head of the Vietnamese Permanent Delegation to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), hundreds of Buddhist monks, nuns, and followers from the Vietnamese community in the country.

Vesak, or the Day of the Full Moon in the month of May, is the year’s most sacred day to the millions of Buddhists around the world. It was on the Day of Vesak two and a half millennia ago that the Buddha was born.

It was also on the Day of Vesak that the Buddha attained enlightenment, and it was on the Day of Vesak that the Buddha passed away.

Vietnamese Abroad Celebrate the Buddha’s 2566th Birthday
Many representatives from Buddhist congregations across France were present. Photo: VNA
Vietnamese Abroad Celebrate the Buddha’s 2566th Birthday
The venue was abuzz with congregation of monks and multitude of Vietnamese in an air of religious solemnity and festive ambience. Photo: VNA

The ceremony was overseen by Ven. Thich Tam Huy, the Master of the pagoda.

In his remarks, he exhorted everyone to imbibe the teachings of the Buddha – love, compassion, tolerance – in their personal, community and national – lives, and be devoted to the fatherland.

The ceremony featured incense offerings, Buddha bathing, and a peace prayer recited by the monks.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Islamabad on May 17 also attended an exhibition on the occasion of Vesak Day 2022 organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan in collaboration with a number of embassies in Islamabad.

The Embassy of Vietnam has spotlighted the career of and honored the merit of Emperor-Monk Tran Nhan Tong, a wise king of Tran Dynasty (1225 – 1400) with many glorious feats, who led the people twice to defeat 80,000 Mongolian invaders, protect and assert sovereignty inviolable while maintaining peace and relations for the development of the country.

This guideline for national defense and construction that another great king Nguyen Trai summed up: "Use great justice to win the brutality. Use compassion to replace tyranny" in Binh Ngo Dai Cao (Great Proclamation upon the Pacification of the Wu), one of the country’s first declarations of independence.

Vietnamese Abroad Celebrate the Buddha’s 2566th Birthday
Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Tien Phong introduces about King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong to the guests.

Ambassador Nguyen Tien Phong emphasized the ideology of Tran Nhan Tong. The king abdicated and passed on the throne to his son when the country was peaceful, starting spent the rest of his life on Yen Tu Mountain, located in where is now Quang Ninh province, to practice and propagate Buddhism.

He founded the Zen Buddhist sect of Truc Lam there. During that time, the King-Monk worked to unify different sects of Vietnamese Buddhism into Vietnamese Zen Buddhism. The Truc Lam Buddhist sect – the first indigenous to Vietnam – has become a unique spiritual symbol of the country.

Tran Nhan Tong, whose real name was Tran Kham, was born in 1258 and died in 1308. He was the third emperor of the Tran dynasty.

Ascending to the throne at the age of 21, the King is famed for defeating Yuan-Mongol invaders twice during his 15-year reign.

Yet before engaging in battle, he faced a quandary. He understood that Buddhism prohibits clergymen from taking the life of any living being.

To keep his adherence to Buddha's precepts and encourage unity among his people, he rallied the public at the Dien Hong conference to gather their opinions as to whether to fight. Because all of them wanted to combat the enemy, the King acted on his people's wishes and drove off the barbarous Yuan army.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Trai was a great contributor to the establishment of the Hau Le (Latter Le) Dynasty (1428 – 1789) following the triumph over the Ming invaders. He was also a most famous poets and writers in the country’s history.

Previous, on May 13, a celebration, which was held virtually to observe the International Day of Vesak by Permanent Delegation of Vietnam to the United Nations (UN), according to VNA.

The Vietnamese diplomat stressed that in the context that the world is facing unprecedented challenges and crises like today, the Lord Buddha's philosophy on peace, compassion and harmony, is more meaningful than ever and has become a "guideline" to help people end suffering and bring peace to humanity.

Representatives of countries and the UN all agreed that the Lord Buddha’s noble teachings and the Buddhist philosophy on love, harmony, empathy, sharing, tolerance, respect and mutual understanding are the fulcrum and source of spiritual strength for the international community to overcome challenges of hatred, war, conflict, pandemic, and climate change.

They underlined the need for countries to honor and popularize these overarching values, thus promoting their commitments and efforts to realize goals and principles of the UN Charter, towards building a better world for the mankind.

The event is held annually at the UN since 1999 when the General Assembly approved Resolution 54/115 on the celebration of the International Day of Vesak in recognition of the contributions of Buddhism - one of the oldest religions in the world - to humankind’s spiritual life, as well as to the efforts of the international community for peace, cooperation, harmony and development.

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