2019 AUSTRALIAN OBSERVANCE OF THE UNITED NATIONS DAY OF VESAK
The 2019 Australian Observance of the United Nations Day of Vesak, commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of The Lord Buddha was held over two days, Friday May 3 and Saturday May 4, at Parliament House and Belmore Park, Sydney, respectively.
Marking the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Day Of Vesak, an intimate gathering consisting of both ordained and lay Buddhist practitioners, along with members of state and local governments, and representatives from the United Nations, was held on Friday May 3 at Parliament House.
The History of Vesak Day
Dr Jeff Wilson
The term ‘Vesak’ comes from the name of the second month of the Hindu calendar; vesākho in Pali and vaisākha in Sanskrit. Small festivals were probably held on the full-moon day of this month in ancient times when one’s sins could be cleansed by bathing in the Ganges and one celebrated the spiritual power of the moon. However, this day soon became known as Buddha Jayanti day to celebrate the birth of the Buddha.
VESAK MESSAGE FROM THE PRIME MINISTER
Vesak is a day of the greatest significance for all who adhere to the Buddhist faith.
It is also an opportunity for communities around the world to acknowledge the significance of this day and its message of peace, goodwill and compassion.
Buddhism has a strong history in Australia, and the contribution of Buddhist thought to our culture and society is greatly valued.
In a time of increasing global uncertainty and unrest, the Buddha’s teachings of equality, respect and understanding have growing relevance to all who wish to build a more caring and peaceful world.
As Australians, we are fortunate to live in a land of acceptance and encouragement, where respect for different cultural and religious traditions is part of our national story. The shared commitment of all our citizens to friendship is what lies at the heart of our success.
Vesak is a fitting moment to reaffirm these aspirations as you honour the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Buddha Gautama.
There is much to celebrate today, and I know you will do so with passion and purpose.
The Hon Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister of Australia
26 March 2019
MESSAGE FROM THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
It gives me great pleasure to send my best wishes to the Buddhist Federation of Australia and all its members on the festive occasion of Vesak.
Vesak commemorates the birth of Gautama Buddha, and his Enlightenment and final passage into Nirvana.
Over 500,000 Buddhists call Australia home, making a strong and long-lasting contribution to our diverse and vibrant multicultural nation.
As our Buddhist community unites in veneration of Buddha and his teachings during Vesak, may we all be inspired to pursue happiness, peace and equality for all people.
On behalf of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, I wish the Australian Buddhist community a joyous Vesak celebration with your family and loved ones.
Leader of the Opposition
VESAK MESSAGE FROM THE HON. DAVID COLEMAN MP,
Minister for Immigration
Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs
United Nations Vesak Day
I extend my warmest greetings and best wishes for the celebration of the United Nations Vesak Day.
Almost 20 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly recognised Vesak to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha.
The day holds a special place in the hearts of all followers and reminds us to aspire to be a positive force in life. It’s associated with messages of peace, compassion, goodwill and service to humanity.
Freedom of religion is a fundamental aspect of Australian society and democracy, not just in observance but also in the support that many religious organisations provide in the community to those less fortunate.
I commend the Buddhist Federation of Australia for organising the 2019 UN Vesak celebration and wish all those attending a happy and peaceful Vesak Day.
(signed) The Hon. David Coleman MP
VESAK MESSAGE FROM THE HON. GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN MP
Premier of NSW
VESAK MESSAGE 2019 FROM DR PATRICIA JENKINGS, PRESIDENT UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA (NSW)
UNAA NATIONAL BOARD DIRECTOR
On behalf of the United Nations Association of Australia, it gives me great pleasure to extend our warmest best wishes for the 2019 observing of Vesak, to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha GUATAMA.
We are proud to be associated with this most significant Day, which this year marks the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Day of Vesak. The United Nations General Assembly by its Resolution 54/115 of 1999, recognised internationally the Day of Vesak to acknowledge the contribution that Buddhism has made for over two and a half millennia and continues to make for the betterment of humanity.
In 2007, the Buddhist Federation of Australia in collaboration with the UN Information Centre, United Nations Association of Australia and other Government and community organisations, introduced national celebration under the title, “Australian Observance of the UN Day of Vesak”. This year’s theme, “Sustainable Development in Peace”, motivates all Australians to lead productive lives and contribute to building a more prosperous and peaceful nation.
VESAK MESSAGE FROM MR VICTOR DOMINELLO, MINISTER FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE
Saturday, 4 May 2019
It gives me great pleasure to contribute a message on this special occasion.
Today Buddhists across the world commemorate the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha Gautama, whose teachings of wisdom, compassion and harmony, continue to inspire communities.
This year marks 20 years since the UN General Assembly recognised VESAK as an international day of observance for Buddha Gautama. This event is not only a celebration of the Buddhist faith, but also an opportunity to unite communities and promote peace and harmony.
Australia is home to a large and growing Buddhist community. There are nearly half a million Buddhists living in the country, who contribute to our society and way of life.
Multiculturalism is one of our country’s greatest assets and events like this play an integral role in fostering social harmony and celebrating diversity.
Thank you again for including me in this wonderful occasion. I hope everyone enjoys the event.
The Hon. Victor Dominello MP
Minister for Customer Service