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Vietnam Today

Vesak Day 2019 underway

Released at: 15:52, 13/05/2019

Vesak Day 2019 underway

Photo: Nguyen Dan

16th United Nations Day of Vesak Celebration opens in northern Ha Nam province on May 12.

by Jessica Nguyen

The 16th United Nations Day of Vesak Celebration - Vesak Day 2019 - was officially opened on the morning of the May 12 at the main hall of Tam Chuc Pagoda’s Buddhist Cultural Center in Kim Bang district, northern Ha Nam province.

With the theme “Buddhist Approach to Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Sustainable Societies”, Vesak 2019 has attracted around 3,000 official delegates, including 1,650 international delegates from 112 countries and territories.

Attending the opening ceremony were Prime Minister and Politburo member Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Politburo member, Secretary of the Party Central Committee, and Head of the Central Commission for Public Relations Truong Thi Mai, as well as Head of States such as the Myanmar President, the Nepalese Prime Minister, the President of the Indian Senate, the President of the Senate of Bhutan, the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), and over 20 ambassadors and international organizations in Vietnam.

At the opening ceremony, Deputy Dharma Master Thich Tri Quang of the National Vietnam Buddhist Sangha read a message to the ceremony, emphasizing that Vesak day is “a sacred event associated with the life of Buddha and it is a rare event for all humanity.”

Vesak is the most sacred day for millions of Buddhists around the world, as the day the Buddha was born. The UN General Assembly recognized the Day of Vesak on December 15, 1999 and Buddhist communities in different countries hold activities to celebrate the day every year.

Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue, Head of the National Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, said that “Vesak is a precious opportunity for us to grow our faith in the truth of liberation, to bring into full play the values that the Blessed One has left for mankind in the priceless doctrine of thought wisdom, compassion, philosophy of selflessness, non-violence, peaceful values, and sustainable development.”

He expects that delegates at Vesak 2019 will jointly discuss “bringing the most basic solutions stemming from the human heart to successfully implement global sustainable development goals the UN is aiming at.”

According to Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon, Chairman of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha’s Executive Council, the world is facing many conflicts, terrorism, war, inequality, and environmental crisis. Moreover, with the rapid development of science and technology changing every aspect of social life and traditional structures, the more it is necessary to promote the core values of Buddhism. It is the spirit of tolerance, selflessness, harmony and peace.

“In order to solve problems, there must be global leadership. This leadership must ensure equality, reconcile the benefits and neutralize the conflict between beliefs, the economy, culture, social class, territorial nations, environmental balance, and ecosystems,” Venerable Thich Thien Nhon said.

Meanwhile, the message from Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesighe was: “Evil can be transformed by virtue. Injustice repelled by justice, resentment dispelled by love, and deception by sincerity. Social conquest and reconciliation will be developed through spiritual conquest conquered from an individual.”

“Meththa (Merciful), talking about unconditional love; Karuna (humane), about the compassion for sentient beings; Muditha (Happy), which stands for joyful behavior, and Upekha (discharges), or equality, are four states of immeasurable consciousness that should be practiced to achieve a noble life. It is the way to solve conflicts and the widespread destruction in the world.”

UN Secretary General António Guterres remarked: “In a time of increasing inequality, the Buddha’s message of non-violence and serving others becomes more adaptive than ever.” He also called on Vesak 2019 to renew its commitment to building a truly peaceful and valuable world for everyone on the planet.

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