Soc Trang Province Supports and Protects Dignitaries and Believers

Recently, Soc Trang province has seen numerous improvements in its religious practices.

0
273

The Southern Pali Culture Supplement School has started the new school year for the monks, directing pagodas to open classes, and arranging Pali, Vini, and Khmer elementary exams. In addition, the school is offering culture lessons to monks and children of Buddhists. Moreover, Soc Trang is organizing religious festivals, activities, and practices at a grand scale.

Using Resources to Take Part in Charitable and Humanitarian Work

We visited Kh’Leang pagoda in Ton Duc Thang Street, cluster No. 5, ward No. 6, Soc Trang city in early June. The pagoda is situated in a tranquil area in the middle of the city, surrounded by a large area of mature trees.

We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Huynh Sa Oat (74 years old, from District 4, Soc Trang City) who was arranging tables and chairs and cleaning the reception room of the pagoda. He told us that he visits the pagoda four times a month on the 8th, 23rd, 15th, and 30th. His activities include cleaning, arranging furniture, and taking care of the trees. About 10 people from the surrounding area join him to perform good deeds and help out at the pagoda.

Soc Trang Province Secures and Supports Dignitaries and Believers
Mr. Huynh Sa Oat (left) cleans up at Kh’Leang Pagoda on the morning of June 7. (Photo: Thoi Dai)

Oat, a Buddhist, said, “I go to the pagoda to receive blessings and pray for the health and happiness of my family. People in the area come here to pray for blessings, to strengthen solidarity, and to help the community and their children understand the culture of the Khmer. I hope the pagoda will remain stable and credible so that the children can study well and live peacefully.”

Also located in Soc Trang city is a renowned pagoda with a giant lying Buddha statue, also known as the Botum Vong Sa Som Rong. This pagoda attracts thousands of tourists and locals with its unique Khmer architecture. Trieu Thi So Rum (57 years old, living in ward 5, Soc Trang city) has been visiting the Botum Vong Sa Som Rong pagoda since her childhood days.

According to Rum, the pagoda boasts many attractive landscapes, but its special highlight is the enormous 63m long and 22.5m high statue of Buddha entering nirvana, which can be seen from afar. This is considered one of the largest Buddha statues in lying pose in Vietnam.

Rum said, “In the past, the pagoda was much smaller than it is now; only one-tenth the size it is today. It was surrounded by fields and gardens. Now, the pagoda has a new tower, a flagpole, and a Buddha statue in a lying pose. It draws people from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and other northern provinces. On weekends and holidays, hundreds or even thousands of people come here to worship.”

Soc Trang Province Secures and Supports Dignitaries and Believers
The pagoda has a giant reclining Buddha (Bôtum Vong Sa Som Rong) which attracts thousands of tourists and locals by its unique Khmer architecture. (Photo: Thoi Dai)

According to a report of the People’s Committee of Soc Trang province, in recent years, the activities and practices of religions in the locality have witnessed positive changes. Religious festivals are held on a larger and more solemn scale, attracting the participation of many followers. These activities have encouraged religious organizations and individuals to utilize their resources to participate in charity, humanitarian, social, health care and educational activities, contributing to the socio-economic development of the province.

Soc Trang is a province located in the Mekong Delta region with a total area of ​​3,223 km2 and a population of 1.2 million. In the province, there are nine legally recognized religions with more than 635,297 dignitaries and followers and 734 worship establishments. Most Khmer ethnic people have traditionally followed Theravada Buddhism. The province now has a total of 92 pagodas and more than 350,000 Buddhists.

Enhancing the Quality of Life for Religious Followers

Religious organizations are focusing their efforts on strengthening their organization, holding catechism classes, delivering lectures, obtaining land use right certificates, constructing and repairing worship places… Many dignitaries and believers have expressed their excitement at the accomplishments of the country and province in addressing socio-economic development, eliminating hunger and poverty, providing charitable activities, and enriching the cultural life of residential areas… which has greatly contributed to the successful implementation of socio-economic development programs in the locality.

The lives of most religious people, both materially and spiritually, have been improved; political security, social order, and safety in religious areas have been enhanced; and the trust of religious leaders and their followers has been strengthened.

Soc Trang Province Secures and Supports Dignitaries and Believers
Primary Pali class in Soc Trang. (Photo: Thoi Dai)

In Soc Trang Province, the Association for Patriotic Monks Solidarity is performing its duties successfully, guiding religious activities and adhering to regulations. The Association is also coordinating with functional branches to encourage dignitaries and Buddhists to participate in social movements in the locality. It is ensuring that the guidelines of the Party, policies and laws of the State are respected.

In recent years, the Association has worked with the Department of Education and Training and the Board of Directors of the Buddhist Intermediate School to launch the new school year for the monks at the Southern Pali Culture Supplement School. They have also provided guidance for the pagodas to open classes and organize Pali, Vini, and Khmer elementary exams, as well as supplementing the culture for monks and children of the Buddhist faith.

According to Pham Minh Man, Deputy Director of the Department of Home Affairs of Soc Trang, the Department is working with relevant units to advise the Provincial People’s Committee on the proper implementation of religious policies.

“Man said that the province also creates favorable conditions for the construction and repair of religious worship facilities to comply with the law and meet the needs of religious and belief activities, bringing peace of mind and excitement among dignitaries, civil servants and fellow Buddhists.”

Tracy Dao