On Sunday, May 15, 2011, the Second Office of the UBCV celebrated Vesak Buddhist Calendar Year 2555 at Dieu Ngu Temple in the city of Westminster, California. Dieu Ngu Temple is headquarter of the overseas UBCV.
Three days prior to Sunday, a special Dharma retreat was organized for hundreds of participants from all corners of the US.
On Sunday, more than 5000 Buddhists came to Dieu Ngu Temple to celebrate Vesak with hundreds of Monks and Nuns from Vietnam and other Asian countries. Among the guests were representatives from various religions, political parties, and organizations. The Mayor of Westminster, Margie Rice; The United States Representatives Loretta Sanchez and Ed Royce were among invited guests, and Senator Marco Perduca of the Italian Parliament and Scott Flipse, Deputy Director of Policy and Research from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom were among speakers at the celebration.
In his opening speech, the Most Venerable Thich Vien Ly reminded the audience of the UBCV’s goals as well as commitment of the UBCV’s leaders. “The Constitution of the UBCV, a traditional inherited Buddhist Church in Vietnam, declares: “The UBCV does not base its existence on any individual power state; its existence is based on the existence of mankind of the nation.” Based on that generously selfless principle, the Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do, Acting President of the Institute of the Sangha and President of the Institute for the Dissemination of Dharma, has been fearlessly and steadfastly practicing Bhodhicitta throughout the last 3 decades, even though he has been imprisoned and placed under house arrest.”
Deputy Supreme Patriarch Thich Ho Giac recalled the repression against the UBCV in Vietnam. He said
“The UBCV continues to exist despite oppression from the communist regime in Vietnam. Those adversities are natural consequences. However, we should not give up because of those adversities…
.. When and only when communism ceases to exist will we truly have freedom.”
While giving a speech on human rights and religions, UBCV spokesperson Vo Van Ai told the audience about the repression situation at Giac Minh Temple in Danang during Vesak 2555
“Yesterday, we received a report from The Most Senior Venerable Thich Thanh Quang from Giac Minh Temple in Danang.
We know that in 2 more days, Giac Minh temple will be oppressed. Especially, the temple is not allowed to read Announcement and Message from the Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do. How can a religious organization not be allowed to read Message from its Supreme Patriarch during the Buddha’s birthday? This is a clear evidence that the communist government is suppressing not only Giac Minh Temple but also all 20 member Temples of the UBCV in Central and Southern Vietnam.”
The religious ceremony included services in Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhist traditions, and Vesak celebration was concluded with an award ceremony for outstanding student articles about the Buddha.