The 2018 Australian Observance of the United Nations Day of Vesak, commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of The Lord Buddha was held at Paul Keating Park in Bankstown, New South Wales on Saturday May 5, and was well attended by hundreds of enthusiastic and happy Buddhists and Non-Buddhists from around Sydney, and from around Australia.
The formal proceedings of this most auspicious event began at 10am with a warm welcome from the MC’s and traditional Buddhist chanting in the Pali, Vietnamese, Tibetan and English languages, by representatives from the monastic communities of the three major Buddhist traditions of Theravada (School of the Elders), Mahayana (Great Vehicle) and Vajrayana (Diamond Vehicle).
Prior to the chanting, Most Venerable Suddhamo, the president of the Buddhist Federation of Australia, gave a brief and insightful explanation on the significance and purpose of the chanting.
The chanting was followed by meaningful speeches delivered by a representative of the United Nations, as well as representatives of the federal, state and local governments.
The key-note speech on the events theme, ‘The Spirit Of Generosity’ was eloquently delivered by the Most Venerable Dhammagavesi Thero, the abbot of Lankarama Buddhist Temple, who pointed out the importance of generosity in every aspect of our lives, both individually and collectively.
The formal proceedings were rounded out with a Bathing of the Baby Buddha Ceremony and food offerings to the monastic community.
Throughout the day, attendees enjoyed delicious food from the many food stalls, as well as visiting the various other informative and educational information stalls.
The children and youth were also well catered for with fun activities provided, such as face painting, a jumping castle, fairy floss and other yummy delights on offer. They were also treated with an enjoyable and educational trivia quiz about the Buddha’s life and teachings. A children’s Buddhist art competition was also held, with all of the entrants receiving a prize. All winners and no losers.
Continuing with the festive atmosphere, the afternoon featured on stage performances of song and dance from the many cultures in attendance. It was as if we were all travelling the world without leaving Sydney. The event concluded at 3pm with all of the performers on stage performing a fun rendition of ‘Wonderful World’. All in attendance had a wonderful time, with smiles all around.
We look forward to next year celebration. May we all be well and happy.
Vesak Remark from His Excellency Mr António Guterres, The United Nations Secretary General
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear guests and friends,
I am pleased to join you in celebrating Vesak, a day that is sacred for millions of Buddhists around the world.
As the President of the General Assembly just mentioned, we mark the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha. And on this occasion, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike can reflect on his life and draw inspiration from his teachings.
Born a prince, he rose above self-interest and went into the world to help overcome human suffering. His teachings are based on the principle that compassion is central to enlightenment. And as such, his message of service to others is more relevant than ever.
The world faces numerous challenges, from conflict to climate change, from prejudice to growing inequality.
We see people turning inwards.
And we see a crisis of solidarity.
The Buddha’s teachings can inspire us to become global citizens. And the focus in Buddhism on the inherent dignity of life finds resonance today in our 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Buddhist world view teaches us to see ourselves as a part of this world and not as its masters. And Buddhism’s emphasis on non-violence stands as a powerful call for peace.
From peace, to climate change, to human rights, we see how much the teachings of the Buddha are so relevant in the work of the United Nations today.
Now more than ever, Buddhist communities and all of us must give every day meaning to the Buddha’s message of tolerance, empathy and humanism.
We must resist those who seek to twist a call for love into a cry for hate.
And on this Day of Vesak, let us renew our commitment to bridge differences, care for the most vulnerable and truly leave no one behind as we navigate the path to a better future for all.
Vesak Message from the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull MP, The Prime Minister of Australia
Vesak Message from The Opposition Leader
the Honourable Bill Shorten MP
Vesak Message from The Premier of New South Wales
The Honourable Gladys MP
Vesak message from The Honourable Sophie Cotsis MP, Shadow Minister for Women, Shadow Minister for Ageing, Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism, Shadow Minister for Disability Services, Member of the Australian Labor Party
Vesak Message from Councillor Khal Asfour – Mayor of The City of Canterbury Bankstown
UN Vesak Day 2018 Painting Competition
Theme: The Spirit of Generosity
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UN Vesak Day 2017 Celebration in pictures
The UN Vesak Day 2017 Celebration was blessed with beautiful sunny day in Mid-Autumn. The celebration was blended with Colourful Religious Rituals, Buddhist Chants, and Musics and Dances performed by different cultural groups