The Australian Observance of The United Nations Day of Vesak 2023

After 3 years absence of, “The Australian Observance of The United Nations Day of Vesak” due to the pandemic, Saturday 6th May 2023 became an exciting day for many Buddhists as they saw more than 100 monks and nuns from across Sydney representing all Buddhist traditions. It was the first time, the UN VESAK celebrations were held at the well-known Vietnamese temple in Wetherill Park. It allowed many Buddhists from near and far to join in various merit making activities such as the offering of Alms, Mahasangha Dana Meditation and Candlelight Offering. The UN representative, Federal and state government representatives also participated in this national level official celebration.

The 2023 Australian Observance of the United Nations Day of Vesak, commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of The Lord Buddha was held on Saturday 6th of May 2023 at Phuoc Hue temple. The public celebration was held from 10am to 4:30 pm. The event was well attended by hundreds of enthusiastic and happy Buddhists and Non-Buddhists alike from all over Sydney and Australia.

The morning alms round was held between10am-11am. All lay Buddhist practitioners and non-Buddhists had the chance to accumulate merit by offering dried food to the sangha community of over 100 monks and nuns. From 11am-12pm the lunch offering to the sangha community and lunch for all in attendance was held. There were many delicious vegetarian food stalls provided by kind hearted sponsors for everyone to enjoy.

The formal proceedings of this most auspicious event began at 12:30 pm. The procession of the Sangha proceeded to the main hall where all distinguished guests, The UN representatives, Federal and state government representatives, and all attendees were waiting. They rose to greet the Sangha as they entered the hall. When all members of Sangha community and distinguished guests were seated, senior Venerable Thich Phuoc Tan delivered a warm welcoming speech from the Buddhist Federation of Australia(ฺBFA).

After the welcoming speech, all the distinguished guests, The UN representative, Federal and state government representatives were invited to deliver Vesak messages. The representatives were Dr. Patricia Jenkins-Acting president from UN Association of Australia who delivered the United Nations Secretary-General’s Vesak message. Mr Chris Bowen-Minister for climate change and energy delivered the Prime minister’s Vesak message. A Representative delivered the Honourable Peter Dutton Leader of the opposition Vesak message and Mr Vo Tri Dung-State member for Cabramatta delivered the Premier of NSW’s message.

After all distinguished guests had delivered their messages, Venerable monks from the three traditions lead the chanting starting from Theravada in Pali, Mahayana in Vietnamese and Vajrayana in Tibetan, participants in the main hall also participated in the chanting. Once the chanting had finished, Venerable Phra Ronrawee the Abbot of Wat Dhammakaya Melbourne and Vice president of BFA guided all in attendance for a short meditation practice. After meditation the candle lighting offering was made to the lord Buddha and Maha Sangha Dana offering was made to the Sangha by the congregation representatives on behalf of all the donors.

The Venerable Dhammakavesi the Abbot from Lankarama Buddhist Vihara gave the final blessing. Deputy Mayor of Ku-ring-Gai Council, Barbara Ward was then invited to give a short reflection on the day’s ceremony. Venerable Phra Satit, secretary-general of BFA then shared some words of thanks from the organising committee. Historic group photos were taken for all attendees as a memory of this auspicious, once a year grand merit making event. All in attendance had a wonderful time, with smiles all around. We look forward to next years celebrations. May all be well and happy.

Reporter : Chollanart Chollanart 

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