Abbot gets warning for 'Buddha hair sarira' exhibition

By Viet Tuan   January 21, 2024 | 11:38 pm PT
Abbot gets warning for 'Buddha hair sarira' exhibition
Thich Truc Thai Minh, head monk of the Ba Vang Pagoda in Quang Ninh Province in northern Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Tuan
Thich Truc Thai Minh, an abbot in northern Vietnam, received a warning from the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha for exhibiting what he claimed as the "Buddha hair," severely impacting the Buddhist faith.

Besides the warning, Minh must also repent before the standing management committee of the Sangha.

"Abbot Thich Truc Thai Minh must guarantee that if similar violations continue, which makes society lose faith in Buddhism and affects the reputation of the Sangha, he will be excommunicated and has his position as head monk revoked," the Sangha said.

Ba Vang Pagoda in Quang Ninh Province has been banned from organizing international exchange events for a year.

The Sangha said the pagoda had exhibited what it claimed as a "Buddha hair sarira", which was met with criticisms from the public and sparked controversial debates. The event had "severely impacted faith in Buddhism and the reputation of the Sangha."

Ba Vang Pagoda reported that during a visit to Buddhist relic sites in Myanmar in December 2023, Buddhists from the pagoda observed the "Buddhist hair sarira" at the Parami Monastery and the Parami International Buddhist Sarari Museum.

Monks at Ba Vang then invited U Wepulla, the head monk of the Parami monastery, along with other monks from Myanmar, to attend a Buddhist ceremony and bring the "Buddhist hair sarira" to Vietnam.

The object was reportedly brought to the pagoda on Dec. 22, before being returned to Myanmar on Dec. 27.

The fact that Minh traveled abroad for religious exchanges, and invited foreign monks to participate in events at Ba Vang without informing the Sangha is also considered a violation.

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