PARIS, 2 October 2007 (IBIB) – The International Buddhist Information Bureau has received an “Announcement” from the Very Venerable Thich Quang Do, Deputy leader of the outlawed Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) calling on Vietnamese Buddhist clergy at home and abroad to organize prayers and vigils for the Buddhist monks and civilians killed, wounded and arrested in Burma in the recent demonstrations, and appealing to leaders of all different religions to join the UBCV in inter-faith prayers for peace. Thich Quang Do also called upon Vietnamese from all religious and political affiliations to stage peaceful protests outside Burmese Embassies in their countries to call on the Burma/Myanmar military junta to “stop the blood-shed and open a dialogue with the democratic opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi”.
Partial view of the prayer ceremony in Giac Hoa Pagoda, Saigon. On the front row, from left to right, Thich Khong Tanh, Thich Duc Chon, Thich Quang Do and Thich Vien Dinh – Photo IBIB
Venerable Thich Quang Do set the example by holding the first prayer service in Saigon: “Despite great hardships, house arrest, Police surveillance and controls, thirty UBCV monks from the Steering Committee of the UBCV’s Executive Institute (Vien Hoa Dao) and UBCV monks from Saigon and the southern and central provinces of Tien Giang, An Giang and Lam Dong, gathered in Giac Hoa Pagoda this Sunday morning [30th September] to pray for the Burmese monks and civilians who lost their lives in their quest for the human and civil rights of the Burmese people, and for the 58 Vietnamese who died tragically in the collapse of the Can Tho bridge. We also prayed for the UBCV Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang (detained under house arrest in Binh Dinh Province) and for all the Burmese people who are suffering imprisonment and violence”.
In his “Announcement”, Thich Quang Do launched an appeal to Buddhist clergy and Vietnamese worldwide to support the Burmese people: “On behalf of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, I call upon Vietnamese Buddhist monks and nuns at home and abroad to hold prayer services simultaneously, all over the world, for all those monks and civilians who are victims of violent repression in Burma. Let us pray together for all those who have lost their lives in their quest to save others. Let us pray together for all those who are prison, that they may soon be released and set free from all suffering and oppression. I call on the leaders of all other religious communities to join us in this inter-faith communion”.
“I earnestly appeal to Vietnamese Buddhists and all Vietnamese overseas to show their solidarity with the Burmese people by staging non-violent protests outside Burmese Embassies in their countries of residence, and urging the Burmese authorities to cease the blood-shed and open a dialogue with the democratic opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi, to safeguard the rights to life and welfare of the Burmese people and achieve national reconciliation in a spirit of harmony and solidarity”
“These demonstrations will not only help to strengthen bonds between the peoples of Burma and Vietnam. By bringing together Vietnamese from different religions, associations and political parties, they will open up a new era of unity and mutual support between Vietnamese, and strengthen our resolve to serve the cause of freedom, development and democracy for our people and our country”.
“For almost two hundred years, the people of Burma and Vietnam shared the same fate under colonial rule, with repression of our faith and the dismantling of our clergy. Over the past decades, we have both suffered oppression under military or totalitarian dictatorships. We come together in a common aspiration for the right to life and freedom. And today, we stand side by side in the peaceful struggle for democracy and human rights. For without democracy and human rights, human beings can never fully and freely exist”.