PARIS, 26 September 2006 (IBIB) – The International Buddhist information Bureau is informed that the Supreme Patriarch of the outlawed Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) Thich Huyen Quang is in hospital. The Patriarch, 86, has been very tired and suffered from breathing difficulties since Friday (22nd September), and asked to be taken to hopital. However, the hospital simply sent a local doctor who gave him medicine. The UBCV Patriarch’s condition deteriorated, and he was taken into the Binh Dinh Hospital at 4.00 pm on Monday 25th September.
Mr. Vo Van Ai, IBIB Director and UBCV International spokesman, who is currently attending the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, spoke to the Patriarch by telephone this morning. Thich Huyen Quang said he is feeling a little better, but is still very tired. He is suffering from heart problems and a lung infection. He is currently undergoing blood tests, and no decision has been taken on whether or not he will undergo surgery.
The UBCV Patriarch also told Vo Van Ai that two days before his illness, the Vice-Minister of Public Security Nguyen Khanh Toan came from Hanoi to visit him at the Nguyen Thieu Monastery in Binh Dinh. The visit lasted 30 minutes. Although the official Vietnamese press reported this as a courtesy visit, Thich Huyen Quang said that the Vice-Minister sought to persuade him to step down from the leadership of the UBCV. Nguyen Khanh Toan told the UBCV Patriarch that he was now old and in poor health, and that it was time to leave his place to a younger monk. He also “advised” Thich Huyen Quang that if the UBCV’s second-ranking dignitary Thich Quang Do were to visit him in Binh Dinh, the two men should not talk about UBCV affairs.
After thanking Mr Nguyen Khanh Toan for his visit, the UBCV Patriarch replied : “I have devoted my life to serving my people, my faith, and the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam. I will continue to do so until my very last breath. Nobody can stop Thich Quang Do and I discussing the affairs of Buddhism and the UBCV”.