Lord Buddha’s birthday celebration – expression of religious freedom

(VOVWORLD) -Vietnamese Buddhist followers have celebrated the 2,562nd birth anniversary of Lord Buddha in a solemn and joyful atmosphere. Monks, nuns, followers and others attended celebrations at pagodas nationwide, presenting a picture of religious freedom in Vietnam.
Lord Buddha’s birthday celebration – expression of religious freedom - ảnh 1A balloon release ritual at Quan Su pagoda in Hanoi on Lord Buddha's birthday.
Pagodas across Vietnam have been decorated to mark Lord Buddha’s birthday.

Illustration of Buddhism’s development in Vietnam

Millions of Buddhist followers attended ceremonies, incense offerings, balloon release, and Buddha bathing rituals, and engaged in charity activities.

73-year-old Buddhist Tran Ngoc Hang joined a ceremony at Quan Su pagoda in Hanoi. “This year we celebrate tsome good news: the success of the 8th National Congress of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha and Vietnam’s great blessing.”

86-year-old Le Thi Nga often prays at Quan Su pagoda. She said: “Lord Buddha’s celebration has changed a lot. In the past the pagoda was simply decorated. With the government’s investment and Buddhist followers’ contributions, the pagoda has been beautifully refurbished. We feel very happy.”

The success of the 8th National Congress of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha reflects the prosperity and development of Vietnamese Buddhism. The Sangha has branches in all 63 provinces and cities, border areas, islands, and even in other countries. There are Buddhism training centres, publishing houses, and hundreds of pagodas.

Manifestation of religious freedom

Lord Buddha’s birthday is important for the more than 10 million Vietnamese Buddhist followers, and is a major cultural event in Vietnam.

Thich Minh Khich from Quang Ninh province said: “Local authorities and social organizations have supported Buddhist followers celebrating Lord Buddha’s birthday. Buddhist delegations have met with each other and discussed the dharma.”

Monk Thich Duc Thien, Vice President and Secretary General of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, said: “Lord Buddha’s birthday has been celebrated in Vietnam for more than 2,000 years. Vietnam enjoys freedom of religion. Religious activities are unrestricted. People are free to follow their religious practices.”

Vietnam’s Law on Religion and Belief creates favourable conditions for Buddhism and other religions to develop. Vietnam has 13 religions and 36 religious organizations with a total of 24 million followers, 83 thousand religious dignitaries, 46 religious training centers, and 25 thousand places of worship.

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