Buddhists throughout the world will celebrate the birth of Buddha tomorrow. In South Vietnam, recognition?
An Quang pagoda, Saigon; women praying; altar; nuns out of pagoda; nuns on scolter vans.
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Background: Buddhists throughout the world will celebrate the birth of Buddha tomorrow. In South Vietnam, recognition of this great Buddhist festival will be demonstrated by a 24-hour truce in the conflict, which will come into force at midnight. Independently, the North Vietnamese have said they will observe a 48-hour cease-fire to mark the occasion.
Buddhists in Saigon began making preparations for the occasion last week, while all Buddhist monks in South Vietnam began a three-day fast yesterday.
Nuns gathered at the An Quang pagoda last week to plan the celebrations. When approaching the altar in the pagoda, they each knelt before the three steps to the alter, symbolising truce, negotiation and peace.
The An Quang pagoda is the headquarters of the militant faction of South Vietnam's unified Buddhists. Under the leadership of Thich Tri Quang, the pagoda last year became a fortress when Buddhists clashed with police over government policies.