PARIS, 5 July 2008 (IBIB) – The International Buddhist Information Bureau is deeply grieved to announce that Most Venerable Thich Huyen Quang, 4th Supreme Patriarch of the outlawed Unified Buddhist Church (UBCV) passed away today at the Nguyen Thieu Monastery in Binh Dinh. His death was announced in a Communiquee issued by the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, Deputy leader of the UBCV. A funeral ceremony will be held at the Nguyen Thieu Monastery in Binh Dinh at 7.00am on 11th July 2008.
The UBCV Patriarch died peacefully, surrounded by Venerable Thich Quang Do, several senior UBCV monks and his closest disciples. Yesterday, at his own request, Thich Huyen Quang went home to the Nguyen Thieu Monastery, which he founded himself, to spend his last hours in peace, listening to Buddhist Sutras. He has spent over a month in intensive care for heart, lung and kidney problems at the Quy Nhon General Hospital. Thich Quang Do led a prayer ceremony at the Monastery at 8.00am. Thich Huyen Quang died at 1.00 pm.
Supreme Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang, born 19 September 1920 in Binh Dinh, secular name Le Dinh Nhan, was one of Vietnam’s most loved and respected spiritual leaders, and also a determined opponent of tyranny in all its forms. For his uncompromising determination to stand firm, he paid a high price, spending over half his life in prison, internal exile or under house arrest under a succession of political regimes. Together with the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, Thich Huyen Quang waged three decades of peaceful opposition to the Communist regime, becoming a symbol of the non-violent Buddhist movement for religious freedom and human rights. But he was also a great peacemaker and a man of dialogue, seeking every opportunity towards harmony and the healing of divisions in a Vietnam torn by war and conflicting ideologies. In April 2003, he was received in Hanoi by Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai to discuss the situation of Buddhism. This is the first time a political prisoner had ever been received by a top government official in Communist Vietnam
The International Buddhist Information Bureau will publish details of the Patriarch’s curriculum vitae shortly.