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UN DAY OF VESAK 2019 SOLEMNLY OPENS IN HÀ NAM PROVINCE

13/05/2019 - 05:57 PM
More than 1,650 international delegates from 112 countries and territories and more than 20,000 Vietnamese Buddhist dignitaries, monks, nuns and followers attended the opening ceremony of the 16th UN Day of Vesak on Sunday at Tam Chúc Pagoda in Kim Bảng District, northern Hà Nam Province.
 
Prominent attendees included Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, Myanmar President Win Myint, Indian Vice President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) Venkaiah Naidu, Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Chairman of the National Council (Upper House) of Bhutan Tashi Dorji and United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana.
 
Addressing the opening ceremony, Most Venerable Thích Trí Quảng, First Deputy Supreme Patriarch of the Việt Nam Buddhist Sangha (VBS), conveyed a message from Supreme Patriarch of the VBS Most Venerable Thích Phổ Tuệ on the occasion of Lord Buddha’s birthday.
 
In his message, the VBS Supreme Patriarch welcomed the presence of all international and local delegates, religious leaders, Buddhist dignitaries, monks and nuns to the UN Day of Vesak 2019, saying the event was a chance for all people to build their religious faith and uphold the Lord Buddha’s legacy and spiritual values.
 
He recalled the more than 2,000-year history of Vietnamese Buddhism, saying that it had supported national liberation revolutions in the past and has laid the spiritual foundation for all aspects of politics, economics, culture and tradition, shaping the national identity and culture.
 
The VBS has preserved and upheld the essence of Vietnamese Buddhism by making proactive and responsible contributions to national development. Hosting the 16th UN Day of Vesak shows its contributions and affirms its role and status in international integration, Most Venerable Thích Phổ Tuệ wrote.
 
The UN Day of Vesak 2019 aims to contribute to realising the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he wrote, expressing his hope that delegates will reach measures to successfully implement the goals.
 
In his speech, Most Venerable Thích Thiện Nhơn, chairman of the VBS Executive Council and head of the Vesak 2019 organising committee, highlighted Buddhist philosophy's focus on building an equal and peaceful society without classes, wars or hatred.
 
“Lord Buddha has paved a path where the combination of compassion and knowledge makes for an effective solution to conflicts among people, nations, cultures and religions,” he said, noting that Buddhist philosophy continues today and is a beacon for millions of people around the world.
 
Most Venerable Thích Thiện Nhơn stressed the increasing need for upholding the core values of Buddhism in the current unsettled society, saying that Buddhist values encourage tolerance, selflessness and forgiveness while inspiring global peace and co-operation amid conflicts, terrorism, wars, inequality, environmental crises and challenges brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution worldwide.
 
“In order to solve current conflicts, global leadership is required to ensure equality, minimise conflicts among beliefs, economies, cultures, social classes, territories and the environment,” he said.

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