NA Chairman: balance secularity and religion
Update: Nov 27, 2008
Chairman of the National Assembly Nguyen Phu Trong called upon people from all walks of life to strike a balance between secular life and religion in order to contribute fully to the development of the country.

The NA leader made this appeal while attending a grand ceremony to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the death of King Tran Nhan Tong, the third emperor of the Tran Dynasty, held in Yen Tu Mountain, Uong Bi Township, in the northern province of Quang Ninh, on Nov. 27, 2008.

Chairman Trong appealed to monks, nuns and Buddhist followers to maintain and develop the nation’s traditions, implement policies regarding religion and the solidarity of the Party and State in the processes of national construction and development, and promote the traditions and tenets of Buddhism.

He described the ceremony as an opportunity for all people to express their gratitude to the nation’s precursors and to preserve and develop Vietnamese culture.

Celebrations marking the 700th anniversary of the death of the illustrious King Tran have been held since Nov. 25, 2008 with various activities taking place, including an incense offering ceremony, a requiem prayer for peace and prosperity in the world and a seminar on Tran Nhan Tong and his cultural and ideological heritage.

Yen Tu Mountain is significant in this context as this is where the King lived his life as a Buddhist monk following his abdication from the throne.

Tran Nhan Tong (1258-1308) reigned between 1278 and 1293.

Known far and wide for his compassion and peaceful nature, he utilized a system of national examinations to search for talented citizens who could advance and improve the welfare of the nation.

He was instrumental in the organization of two of the most unusual conferences in Vietnamese history – the Dien Hong conference of all of the country’s elders and the Binh Than conference, attended by every military commander in the country, which helped to strengthen the nation’s will against foreign threats.

In 1293, Tran Nhan Tong abdicated in favor of his son and devoted the rest of his life to the practice of Buddhism. In 1298 he became a monk and settled on Yen Tu Mountain. When he was not meditating at Yen Tu, he traveled barefoot around the country, giving lectures and hosting seminars on Buddhist dharma. He became the founder of the Truc Lam School of Zen (the Bamboo Forest School), the first school of Vietnamese-created Zen Buddhism.

One of the nation's most brilliant kings and philosophers, his influence has spanned seven centuries, and he remains an icon of traditional Vietnamese culture.