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Develop and Prosper in Peace - Vietnam Buddhist Sangha in Africa

On May 29, 2019, in the capital city of Maputo, Mozambique Vietnam Buddhist Association in collaboration with the Vietnamese Embassy in Mozambique organized the Buddha's Birthday Ceremony 2019. The Day of Vesak this year celebrates the Buddhist calendar year of 2563.

Photo: Birds set free as a prayer for peace and development of Mozambique and Vietnam and of the world.

In a first for Africa the Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha (VBS) will establish the Vietnamese Buddhist Centre in Maputo. The centre will cater for the needs of the Vietnamese community in Mozambique while building and consolidating the friendship between Mozambique and Vietnam.  The centre will bring the Mozambicans and Vietnamese together to learn about each other’s cultures, get to know each other’s historical and modern traditions and customs.

Peace and love will be central to interactions of the Vietnamese Buddhist Association in Mozambique, through the many envisaged activities of the Centre in Maputo.

Buddhism is a way of life attributed to humility and the real and conscious sense of one’s self. It is a belief system that encompasses the constant, vast and unexplainable energy of the universe. Its teachings are practical for the day to day existence and the fine balance between the spiritual and the material world, not unlike Africa and the link between the ancestors and the countless vibrant customs of song and dance and food offerings.

Photo: Venerable Thich Dong Hue and a Mozambican friend at the Buddha's Birthday ceremony in Maputo

The occasion of Vesak Day in Maputo had all the makings of a joyous celebration as more than 300 guests graced the event.  The Minister for Education and Human Development for Mozambique Conceita Sortane and other government officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Social Welfare, Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs amongst others participated in candle lighting and prayers for peace and development, as doves were set free as a symbolic gesture of the strengthening relations between the two nations.

On December 15, 1999 at the General Assembly of the United Nations, declared that Vesak, which falls on the Full Moon Day in the month of May, will be internationally recognised and observed at the United Nations Headquarters and it’s Regional Offices as Thrice Sacred Day in Buddhist traditions. It serves to foster mutual understanding and cooperation based on Buddha's teachings of wisdom and compassion.
VBS together with the Vietnamese community in Mozambique delivered some 20 tonnes of food to the victims of tropical storm Idai, which devastated the African country’s central region in mid-March.

During the handover Superior Monk Thich Dong Hue, member of the Executive Council of the VBS expressed hope that local authorities and people will soon overcome the consequences of the storm.

Casimiro Abreu, Acting Director of Mozambique’s National Institute of Natural Disaster Management, praised Vietnamese Buddhists for their solidarity and thanked the government and people of Vietnam for their valuable spiritual and material support.

UN Day of Vesak 2019 on May 12  was commemorated with an International Buddhist Conference in Ha Nam Province, Kim Bang district at the Tam Chuc Pagoda. More than 1,650 international delegates from 112 countries and territories across the world and over 20,000 Vietnamese Buddhist dignitaries, monks, nuns and followers attended the opening ceremony. Prominent among those at the event were Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Minister K P Sharma Oli, Chairman of the National Council (Upper House) of Bhutan Tashi Dorji, and United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana.

Although some 9.500 km separate Vietnam and Mozambique, they have close trading relations. Last January, Vietnam's Ambassador to Mozambique, Le Huy Hoang, said that the African country received about US$ 600 million from the Vietnamese government in the last ten years, especially in the transport and communications sectors.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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June/July 2019

 
 
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