The 16th UN Day of Vesak 2019 solemnly opened at Tam Chuc Pagoda in Kim Bang district of northern Ha Nam province on May 12 with more than 1,650 international delegates from 112 countries and territories across the globe and over 20,000 Vietnamese Buddhist dignitaries, monks, nuns and followers in attendance
Upon addressing the event, Most Venerable Thich Tri Quang, First Deputy Supreme Patriarch of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) extended the message of Supreme Patriarch of the VBS Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue on the occasion of Lord Buddha’s birthday.
Most Venerable Thich Tri Quang, First Deputy Supreme Patriarch of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS)
In his message, VBS Supreme Patriarch Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue highlighted the UN Day of Vesak 2019, as a good chance for all people to build up their religious faith and uphold the Lord Buddha’s legacy and spiritual values.
The VBS has preserved and upheld the essence of Vietnamese Buddhism by making positive and responsible contributions to the national development. Hosting the 16th UN Day of Vesak indicated the VBS’s contributions while affirming its role and status in international integration, Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue wrote.
The UN Day of Vesak 2019 is designed to contribute to carrying out the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, he wrote, voicing his hope that delegates will discuss and adopt measures to successfully realize the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In his speech, Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon, Chairman of the VBS Executive Council and head of the Vesak 2019 organising committee, highlighted the Buddhist philosophy for building an equal and peaceful society, without classes, wars and hatred.
“Lord Buddha has paid the path where the combination of compassion and knowledge makes up an effective solution to conflicts among people, nations, cultures, and religions,” he said, reiterated that the Buddhist philosophy continues today and sets the beacon for millions of people around the world.
Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon, Chairman of the VBS Executive Council and head of the Vesak 2019 organising committee
Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon underscored the need for upholding the core values of Buddhism in the current unsettled society, saying the Buddhist values help wake up tolerance, and forgiveness in people, inspire global peace and cooperation amid conflicts, terrorism, wars, inequality, environmental crises, and challenges imposed during the Fourth Industrial Revolution worldwide.
He also called on the global Buddhism to unite and embark on global issues, thus inspiring peace and ease pains for all people worldwide.
Meanwhile, Most Venerable Phra Brahmapundit, President of the International Council for Day of Vesak, expressed his impression on Vietnam’s sustained efforts and dedication towards successful celebrations of the UN Day of Vesak.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc
In his speech, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc welcomed the presence of international delegates, dignitaries, monks and nuns to the event, saying the UN Day of Vesak means beyond a religious and cultural festival to send the long-lasting message of the Lord Buddha on peace, harmony, tolerance and kindness to all people.
He expressed his belief that the Buddhist philosophy laid a solid foundation for establishing peace, friendship, cooperation among nations, peoples, religions, while serving as materials to build civilization, ensure peace, prosperity and sustainable development.
The government leader also showed his appreciation for the theme of the UN Day of Vesak 2019, saying it demonstrated the responsibility of Buddhism for the presence and future of the society.
“The agenda of the celebration reflects the goals of the UN’s Agenda 2030 for sustainability, prosperity, ensuring that no one will be left behind, which the Vietnamese Government has pledged to undertake,” PM Phuc said.
“Hosting the 16th UN Day of Vesak 2019 reaffirmed Vietnam’s focus and respect for cultural, ethics values of religions, including Buddhism, while illustrating its policy on international cooperation and integration,” he emphasized.
This is the third time Vietnam has hosted the UN Vesak celebrations as a contribution to enhancing Vietnamese Buddhism’s role in international integration as well as the country’s standing and responsibility for UN activities in a multitude of fields.
Indian Vice President M. Vekaiah Naidu
Indian Vice President M. Vekaiah Naidu expressed his honor to attend the great event and gave a presentation on“Buddhism's Approach to Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Sustainable Societies” which is also the main theme of this year's UN Day of Vesak celebration.