A ceremony to commemorate the 705th anniversary of the attainment of Nirvana of King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong, the founder of Vietnam Zen Buddhism, was held at Yen Tu Mountain in northeastern Quang Ninh on December 3.

Prominent among the guests at the event, co-organised by the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) Central Committee and the Quang Ninh provincial People’s Committee, was Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan and Deputy Prime Ministers Vu Duc Dam and Pham Binh Minh.

On this occasion, a bronze statue of the King-Monk was placed on Yen Tu Mountain where his passage to Nirvana took place. The statue, weighing 138 tonnes and measuring 15 metres in height, was made by artisans from the northern provinces of Bac Ninh and Nam Dinh at a cost of 72 billion VND.

Addressing the event, Deputy PM Dam said the ceremony manifests people’s respect to King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong as well as the Party and State’s consistent policies of respecting religious and belief freedom, and approving religions to accompany the country’s development journey.

Tran Nhan Tong (1258-1308), the third king of the Tran dynasty, ascended the throne when he was just 21. He is famed for defeating Mongol invaders twice during his 15-year reign.

The King abdicated the throne when he was 35 and spent the rest of his life on Yen Tu Mountain practising and propagating Buddhism. He founded the Truc Lam School of Zen and worked to unify different Vietnamese Buddhism sects into Vietnamese Zen Buddhism.

The VBS Central Committee has long observed the day King Tran Nhan Tong attained Nirvana (the first day of the 11th lunar month) as the national anniversary of Vietnamese Buddhism.

The committee has also coordinated with ministries and branches to compile a dossier to be submitted to UNESCO for its recognition of the Monk-King as a World Cultural Celebrity and the historical and cultural site of the Tran dynasty in Dong Trieu district and the sacred Buddhist historical site of Yen Tu as part of the World Cultural Heritage.