THE NINTH UBCV CONFERENCE’S OPENING SPEECH
by The Most Venerable Thich Vien Dinh,
President of the UBCV Institute for the Dissemination of Dharma
Namo Sakyamuni Buddha
Homage to the UBCV’s late Fourth Patriarch
Dear the Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do, the Fifth Patriarch of the UBCV
Dear the Most Senior Venerable Thich Ho Giac, Deputy Patriarch of the UBCV
Dear monastic officials, Most Venerables, Venerables, Monks, and Nuns.
Dear elected officials, dignitaries, guests, delegations, and press corps.
Dear fellow Buddhists and countryment.
Vietnam has been experiencing national and Dharma tragedies, and the UBCV is unable to organize a conference inside Vietnam. Therefore the Fifth Patriarch has delegated the task of organizing the Ninth UBCV Conference in the United States of America to the 2nd Office of the Institute for the Dissemination of Dharma. This is an extremely important historical event. On behalf of members of the Bi-Institutional Council, I would like to respectfully convey our congratulations and and regards to all monastic officials, monks, nuns, elected officials, guests, news agencies, and all Buddhist and fellow countrymen in presence.
Ladies and gentlemen,
For more than six decades, under the rules of the atheistic authoritarian Communists, people in our country have lost all freedom and human rights. The country’s situation has become more urgent and worse off. Externally, foreign invaders have been violating our land and sea territories. In our ocean, fishermen have been killed and captured, their possessions robbed, their boats taken hostage for ransom. In the mountains, highlands were dug up, causing environmental pollution, cultural destruction, and dangers to national security. Our country’s borders were left open, foreigners can freely and uncontrollably infringe upon our territories. Internally, due to totalitarianism, a single-party system, and unfairness, corruptions and bribery are epidemic. People are living in a pitch dark society amid countless of indescribable injustice, fear, and distress.
Generally, from economy, culture, education, national defense, healthcare, society, laws..and so on, to ancient traditional national culture, all have been in crises, altered, and degraded by the stranglehold and failure to develop people’s mental reserve and combined strength.
Throughout the progress of founding, protecting, and building the country, Buddhism has been always shared the ups and downs with the nation. Whenever there is a national tragedy, Buddhism also experiences a Dharma tragedy. Vietnamese Buddhism has always been connected with the nation’ fate as per the spirit of the Six Paramitas Sultra has clearly stated “The Boddhisatva witnesses people crying, thus he jumps into the fire to salvage the victims from the tragedy.” The Fourth Patriarch also taught that “Dharma can not blossom in an enslaved country, people can not find happiness in suppression and poverty.”
In the great dharma tragedy in 1981, the UBCV was gravely damaged, all Dharma activities were deteriorated to almost destruction. Facing that extremely pressing adversity, with his noble vow to live for others and to benefit sentient beings, the Fourth Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang and the Fifth Patriarch Thich Quang Do gave all their mind and energy to steer the UBCV ship; and thanks to the two Venerables’ efforts, the UBCV was temporarily protected from the angry waves. However, with the Communist government’s Decree 36, once again, the UBCV which was newly re-activated, has been disunited in Vietnam and abroad, as we all have witnessed.
Today, the UBCV continues to be sabotaged. Monks and lay Buddhists who join the UBCV have always been terrorized, imprisoned, and placed under administrative house arrests, etc. In the tragic and difficult situation amid shortage of physical assets and personnel, monks and lay Buddhists remain afraid and harassed, the UBCV continues to maintain and strive to stay true to the 2000-year position of protecting the country and developing the culture by the Patriarchs whose goals include serving the nation and mankind with proper dharma.
Although there are some changes in and boosting of personnel in this Ninth UBCV Open Conference, under the supreme leadership of the Fifth Patriarch, The Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do, and the Bi-Institutional Council, the UBCV’s stance and goals remain unchanged.
The UBCV continues to function according to her Constitution, By-Laws, and Internal Regulations. The UBCV also follow The Bi-Institutional Council’s previous Decrees, Declarations, Circulations, and Guildances. Most importantly, the UBCV remains loyal to the Fourth Patriarch’s determination not to join or be part of the authoritarian regime. Additionally, the UBCV will never, for its own gains, compromise or collaborate with the Communist regime, as the Fifth Patriarch Thich Quang Do said in an interview with an international radio program:
“We can not use the freedom, democracy, and human rights of 85 million people to trade for our Church’s freedom and reactivation. Therefore, we will continue to call on the regime to practice the most basics so that we people can live sufficiently, happily, and can get ahead just like all other people in the world currently.”
The UBCV continues steadfastly with the sovereignty preservation movement and actively campaign for people’s freedom, democracy, human rights, and liberation from the backward dictatorship as guided by the UBCV’s 8-point Strategy to Save the Country that the Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do detailed in 2011.
To preserve the Patriarch’s tradition of more than 2000 years, the UBCV will continue to develop her mission to disseminate dharma and salvage sentient beings, strive to reinforce and develop the Church at all levels, wholeheartedly train the next generations, perform social charity works, demand the Church’s properties and Temples that were forcefully appropriated by the government, maintain and spread the ideals of Bhodicitta, stand side by side with the people in the pursuit to preserve the culture, developing the country, determined to follow the Fourth Patriarch’s footsteps to devote our lives to serve dharma, the nation, and mankind.
The UBCV always sincerely invite monks, nuns, and lay Buddhists to join and support the UBCV in her mission to resolve national and dharma tragedies for sake of national and dharma survival.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Previously, the Fifth Patriarch, The Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do, took on the role of Acting Chief of The Institute of the Sangha and President of the Institute for the Dissemination of Dharma. Presently, as the Most Senior Venerable’s health has declined due to old age, at the conclusion of his term, he summoned the Bi-Institutional Council to discuss and find a successor to assume his responsibilities in order to maintain the UBCV’s aspiration and principles. This is the UBCV’s normal activity, just like any organizational structure.
During this meeting, the Bi-Institutional Council and Representative Bodies from areas, provinces, city, districts in the country, through a presentation and discussion of the Most Venerable Thich Thien Hanh, General Secretary of the Institute of the Sangha, along with The Nomination Letter by the Most Senior Venerable Thich Ho Giac, Deputy Patriarch, on behalf of the Venerables from the Second Office of the Institute for the Dissemination of Dharma, all members of the Bi-Institutional Council and the Representative Bodies unanimously nominated the Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do to the role of Patriarch so that followers of all kinds have a central figure to turn to for directions to devotedly serve dharma, the nation, and mandkind.
Amid the situation of declining dharma and powerful demons, the public’s minds are distracted, and lack of personnel that does leave us with many options, the Fifth Patriarch, members of the Bi-Institutional Council, and the Representative Bodies has placed their trust in my service. I am aware that my ability is deficient and my health is limited, but confronted by the UBCV’s urgent needs and survival, I could not disobey the appointment even though I can foresee multiple challenges and dangers. For the UBCV’s future, I vow to give my very best in this current challenging assignment.
While the UBCV has been isolated on many fronts, Dharma activities are countless, and personnel are limited, the UBCV needs the support of association, organizations, news agencies, fellow countrymen, and Buddhists in Vietnam and abroad, especially the International Buddhist Information Bureau in Paris.
It is sincerely hoped that monastic officials, The Most Venerables, The Venerables, Monks, Nuns, associations, organizations, intellectuals of all disciplines, and all fellow countrymen and lay Buddhists fully support so that the UBCV’s dharma functions can be accomplished soon, and the nation and the people of Vietnam can soon be freed from from calamities and sorrows.
Let us pray that the Triple Jewels, Vietnamese patriarchs throughout the history, Eight kinds of celestial dragons, spirits of national heroes and heroines, and our nation’s sacred spirits be our witnesses and help us achieve our mutual wish as we have prayed for. I sincerely wish that the Conference will be a complete success.
Respectfully thank you and goodbye.
Namo Bhodisattva of Permanent Delight,
Bhikkhu Thich Vien Dinh