Dissident monk elected Buddhist church leader

From AFP

Dissident monk Thich Quang Do became the new leader of the banned Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) yesterday, pledging to keep up the peaceful struggle for religious and political freedom. Do, the former deputy leader, was named supreme patriarch at a ceremony held in Houston, Texas marking 49 days since the death of his predecessor Thich Huyen Quang, the organisation said.

“We pledge to realise Patriarch (Quang’s) wishes-to promote human rights for the living, sacred rights for the dead and democracy for society,” Do said in a recorded message, the UBCV said. The 79-year-old Do, whom Quang named as his successor in his will, pledged that the leadership would “do its utmost to re-establish the legal status of the UBCV and maintain its historic tradition of independence.”

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Official suspended after booze-fueled pagoda tomfoolery

From Thanh Nien – A Gia Lai Province land officer in the Central Highlands was suspended Saturday for getting drunk and bullying monks at a local pagoda.

The incident in Chu H’Drong Commune occurred February 25 when land officer Pham Thanh Tung and his buddy Ta Xuan Binh, the commune’s vice chairman, got tanked and decided to stop by the Ngoc Phuc Buddhist monastery to “rest,” according to local authorities.

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Orphans seek shelter at pagoda

From VietNamNet Bridge – In the late afternoon, in the yard of Bo De pagoda in Gia Lam district, Hanoi, a group of children were playing. Some small babies wearing brown clothes were toddling. They are orphans seeking shelter.

These children live in an old house at the back of the pagoda. Inside, there is around 40sq.mand camp beds are arranged in a row, leaving a small path. The furniture in the room is very old. The room is littered with clothes and napkins.

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One young Vietnamese artist produces images of wisdom

From VietNamNet Bridge – Do you know what Buddha told his followers? Different people have different interpretations of what the Buddha said, and so the story comes in many variations. One faithful follower, a young Vietnamese artist, is telling his own version.

Viet’s work explores tradition, modern society and his own life. This Is What I Heard is the name of Le Quoc Viet’s exhibit, exploring through a highly personal lens tradition, modern society and his own life.
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Hoa Hao buddhists celebrate founder’s birthday

From Thanh Nien News – Thousands of Hoa Hao Buddhism followers gathered at An Hoa Tu Pagoda in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang on Thursday to celebrate the 88th birthday of the sect’s founder, Venerable Prophet Huynh Phu So.

The celebration was also a praying ceremony for prosperity and a peaceful life for the nation.

The Hoa Hao Buddhism sect was founded by Venerable Prophet Huynh in 1939 and has since expanded to 15 provinces and cities from central Phu Yen Province southwards.
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Girl feels déjà vu in new Buddhist flick

From VietNamNet Bridge – A new feature film which draws liberally from the teachings of the Buddha moved nearly 500 viewers to tears at its premiere in HCM City last weekend.

Duyen Tran Thoat Tuc (Leave Love of Dust), made at a cost of US$250,000 by Sena, a private studio based in the city, with financial support from Buddhists at home and abroad, narrates the life and love of Le Quyen, a young girl who discovers about a previous life of hers during a visit to India.
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Vietnamese Monk Gives Rare Interview to Al-Jazeera

Vietnam Review – Speaking from house arrest at the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery in Saigon, a prominent dissident and church leader discussed the situation in Vietnam with Al Jazeera. This is the first time deputy leader of the outlawed Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, 80, has been filmed for TV in over 25 years spent under detention in Vietnam.
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