Venerable Thích Đức Thiện, Vice President cum General Secretary of the VBS’s Executive Council, confirmed on Monday that the new method is being piloted at Phuc Khanh pagoda in Hanoi, Yen Tu pagoda in Quang Ninh province, Bai Dinh pagoda in Ninh Binh province, Tam Chuc pagoda in Ha Nam province, Phat Tich pagoda in Bac Ninh province, and Dai Tue pagoda in Nghe An province.
The trial began during the recent Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, which ended last week, at a time when the complicated pandemic has resulted in the temporary closure of pagodas and religious activities in several provinces and cities.
This approach will also help publicize the amount of money offered, a way to promote transparency in the receipt of offerings.
During the pilot period, the VBS will pool feedback from local residents before deciding whether to apply the electronic offerings to other pagodas nationwide.
According to Venerable Thích Đạo Hiển, Deputy Head of the executive board of the Buddhist Sangha in Quang Ninh province, the alternative is suitable at large-scale pagodas, while it is unnecessary to apply it at small establishments.
Related problems should also be taken into consideration as scammers may take advantage of this to trick local residents, Hiển advised.
This method may only be viable during serious pandemics such as COVID-19, he said, adding that making offerings the conventional way is still preferred.