Message from The Honourable Ban Kin-moon, United Nations Secretary-General
U N I T E D N A T I O N S
N A T I O N S U N I E S
MESSAGE ON THE DAY OF VESAK
20 May 2016
At this time of mass population movements, violent conflicts, atrocious human rights abuses and hateful rhetoric aimed at dividing communities, the sacred commemoration of the Day of Vesak offers an invaluable opportunity to reflect on how the teachings of Buddhism can help the international community tackle pressing challenges.
The fundamental equality of all people, the imperative to seek justice, and the interdependence of life and the environment are more than abstract concepts for scholars to debate; they are living guidelines for Buddhists and others navigating the path to a better future.
One Sutra tells the story of Srimala, a woman who pledged to help all those suffering from injustice, illness, poverty or disaster. This spirit of solidarity can animate our global efforts to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, carry out the Paris Agreement on climate change, and promote human rights while advancing human dignity worldwide.
The actions of Srimala also illustrate the primary role that women can play in advocating for peace, justice and human rights. Gender equality and the empowerment of women remain urgent priorities that will drive progress across the international agenda.
In just a few weeks, the United Nations will convene the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, where leaders will join activists and other partners to address the needs of millions of vulnerable people in crisis. Buddhists and individuals of all faiths who are concerned about the future of humanity can help advance the Summit’s aims to uphold humanitarian law, protect civilians in conflict, and improve the global response to emergencies.
On this Day of Vesak, let us pledge to reach out to bridge differences, foster a sense of belonging, and show compassion on a global scale for the sake of our common future.
Message from The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia
Message from The Honourable Bill Shorten MP, Federal Opposition Leader
Message from The Honourable Mike Baird MP, Premier of NSW
Message from The Honorable John Ajaka MLC, Minister for Multiculturalism NSW
Message from The Honourable Luke Foley, MP, NSW Opposition Leader
Message from Councillor Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney City
Message from Councillor Robert Kok, Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney City
Message from Lal Wickrematunge, Consul-General, Consulate Gen-eral of Sri Lanka / Sydney
I write to congratulate the Buddhist Federation of Australia for recognizing and holding religious observance on the 15th May 2016. It is noteworthy that the United Nations recognized the Full Moon Day(Poya) in May as an International Day to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and passing (Nirvana) of Sakyamuni Buddha.
The Buddhist Federation of Australia has already held religious observances to commemorate this Day in New South Wales for nine years. 2016 would be the tenth year.
The diverse communities following Buddha’s teaching come from many cultural backgrounds. This year would give an opportunity to those in Sydney to participate at the United Nations Day of Vesak celebrations and collect their thoughts in meditation, for peace and wellbeing of all human kind.
Metta, Karuna, Muditha.
Consulate General of Sri Lanka / Sydney
Message from Nathapol Khantahiran, Consul-General of Thailand
For the Australian Observance of the United Nations Day of Vesak 2016
Vesak Puja or Vesak Day is one of the most meaningful days for all Buddhists. It marks the birth, enlightenment, and the passing into Nirvana of the Lord Buddha.The United Nations recognizes the Day of Vesak, not only because of the presence of Buddhists across the globe but also because of those teachings of the Lord Buddha about peace and compassion that are close to the principles enshrined in the UN Charter.
Buddhism has flourished in Australia for over decades. The first Thai Buddhist temple in Australia was founded in the late 70’s and increased in numbers in response to the growing Thai and Asian population in Australia.
On behalf of the Buddhist Thai communities in Sydney and New South Wales, I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Buddhist Federation of Australia for organizing the Australian Observance of the UN Day of Vesak 2016. I also wish every success for the Federation to further promote the Lord Buddha’s Dhamma of peace, compassion and love for all living beings to all mankind.
Consul-General of Thailand