New Year Message from The Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do

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Thanh Minh Zen Monastery, 90 Tran Huy Lieu, 15th Ward, Phu Nhuan District, Saigon City


Buddhist Calendar 2554 Number 01/VTT/XLTV



by The Most Venerable Thich Quang Do

Namo Sakyamuni Buddha

Tet has arrived; on behalf of the Bi-Institutional Committee, I would like to send to all Elders, Most Senior Venerables, Most Venerables, Venerables, lay Buddhists at home and abroad a greeting of good health, wishes fulfillment, and accomplishment in dharma activities.

Spring is a cycle of heaven and earth. Spring also symbolizes a beginning; beginning for a new year and a resolution to achieve in the next 12 months. Therefore, one needs to establish a resolution, a persistently pure mind, strength and bravery in order to accomplish that resolution.

I count of monastics and lay Buddhists to shoulder the Church’s activities at a time where many impedimental conditions and conflicts still exist. Of great importance is the staunch protection the legitimacy of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), since the UBCV represents national Buddhism that features a process of creation and development across a history of 2000 years. In the previous century, there was innumerable contributions soaked in sweat, tears, and blood of so many monks, nuns, and lay Buddhists to protect Vietnamese Buddhism, of which the name of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam is a collection of desires to inherit ancestors’ resolutions.

If the legitimacy of the UBCV exists, Vietnamese Buddhism exists. If the legitimacy of the UBCB ceases to exist, moral will deteriorate, the culture will return to the era of dependence on foreign sovereign, and efforts to salvage and enlighten sentient beings will disappear into the darkness of ignorance.

1975 was the beginning of a tragedy and desperation for free Vietnamese in general and for Buddhist specifically. Step-by-step, at times violent and terrorizing, at times calculated adulating, the Communist government has failed in its ploy to eliminate the UBCV. That is because the legitimacy of the UBCV still exists, thanks to the determination to protect the UBCV’s legitimacy by monks, nuns and followers at home and abroad throughout the last 36 years.

Thus, on New Year’s resolution, I call on monks, nuns and lay Buddhists to firmly protect the legitimacy of the UBCV. This generation continues the previous generation’s efforts: protecting the legitimacy of the UBCV on legal aspects as well as on human analytic, people and historical aspects.

To those who bear responsibilities for the people and country, I call on you to ponder and act to bring bliss, freedom and happiness to each and every citizen, and pay special attention to the country’s sovereign that is being threatened and infringed upon.

Countries worldwide have been measuring their wealth by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. Theories are often distant from reality, especially in poor countries. GDP can increase, but will quality of life for people in the countries, villages, in remote areas increase accordingly? For instance, GDP in big cities can increase but 80 to 90 percent of farmers, workers are still hapless and poor. That does not take into account the fact that growth in our country has been calculated based on the government’s propagandizing numbers which fail to hide the gap between the rich and the poor that has been growing deeper and deeper. The exceedingly rich is only a minority, and the dirt-poor is the majority.

I plead to the intellects, those who shoulder concerns and responsibilities, to think of using Gross National Happiness (GNH) as a standard for the unfortunate and impoverished majority. GNH, an invention of the progressive King of Bhutan 39 years ago, has been a success, recognized, and applied by the United Nations and many advanced countries.

GNH is based on a social development viewpoint balancing between material and spiritual lives. The four actions that the GNH is based on include:

  1. Maintain growth
  2. Protect and develop cultural values
  3. Protect the ecosystem and nature; and
  4. Establish good governance.

May the New Year bring peace and prosperity to our country and people. May the New Year also bring courage to monks, nuns and lay Buddhists at home and abroad in spreading dharma to benefit mankind, to educate talented monastics and lay Buddhists to carry out Buddhist functions in the new conditions, and to preserve the destiny along with legitimacy of the UBCV.

Namo The Future Born Great Compassion Maitreya Buddha.

Thanh Minh Zen Institute, Year of the Cat 2011.

Executing President – The Institute of the Sangha

and President – The Institute for Dissemination of Dharma

The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam

(Signed and Sealed)

Sramana Thich Quang Do