Celebration of International Day of Vesak under the patronage of India Premier

Celebration of International Day of Vesak under the patronage of India Premier

“Determination of everybody on this celebration of International Day of Vesak should be building of a society with equivalence and justice, by through lighting a lamp of illumination to dispel darkness”, says Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Indian Premier was speaking at the main ceremony of the United Nations’ International Day of Vesak held today (May 12) at the BMICH. Premier Modi, who was the Chief Guest of this event and made the keynote address.

He stated that the Buddhism paved the way for the close and binding relationship between Sri Lanka and India. He said the Buddhism is an essential element of the government of India and Indian society. “It helps social enhancement”, he said.

Prime Minister Modi expressed his gratitude for President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the government of Sri Lanka for inviting him for this noble Vesak celebration.

Addressing the gathering the President Sirisena stated that through giving the message of Buddhist philosophy to the whole world will render a great service to create a better person to heal the society as well as it will pave a way to solve many issues in the world.

The President also said that the Theravada Buddhism comprise of many solutions for social, economic and political issues at a national or international level.

The President recalled the strong Indo-Sri Lanka relations which have been existing since ancient time and based on the Buddhist philosophy.

After lighting the traditional oil lamp by the dignitaries including President Maithripala Sirisena, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the International Vesak celebration commenced.

President Sirisena presented a special memento to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to mark his visit to Sri Lanka.

The Maha Sangha of the Tri-Nikaya including the Mahanayake Theros of the Malwathu and Asgiri Chapters, Foreign Bhiikus who visited Sri Lanka from other Buddhist countries, Other religious leaders, including His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Ministers and MPs including Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and many others participated in this ceremony.

Speech delivered by President Maithripala Sirisena at the UN Vesak Day inaugural ceremony at the BMICH on May 11, 2017

I am pleased to speak at this noble ceremony, held under the patronage of honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi to mark the commencement of the United Nations’ International Day of Vesak as part of the Vesak week celebrated in Sri Lanka.

We have no way of measuring Sri Lanka’s relationship with Buddhist philosophy and India (Maha Bharatha) for a long period of time in the history. The friendship between India and Sri Lanka which is based on Buddhist philosophy is existing since ancient times. As the leader of the Maha Bharatha the premier of India where the birth, enlightenment and mahanibbana of the Buddha occurred, visits us with rekindling the message of Vesak.

The Indian Prime Minister is refreshing the message of the Buddhist philosophy brought here by Arhath Mihinda Thero and Sanghamiththa Theri following the great Buddhist transformation initiated by Emperor Ashoka. I extend my special thanks to Prime Minister Modi for participating in this event by accepting our invitation. As Buddhists we know that the solutions for the social, economic, political and cultural issues arisen both nationally and internationally are in the Buddhist philosophy. “Dhammo Bhave Rakkhathi Dhamma Chari” One who lives with Dhamma is protected by the Dhamma. “Najachcha Vasalo Hothi – Najachcha Hothi Brahmano” Not by birth is one an outcast, not by birth is one a Brahmana. By deed is one an outcast, by deed is one a Brahmana”. The importance of this message given in the Buddhist philosophy to find solutions to most conflicts, to make the society calm and to make the humans meritorious is immeasurable.

One of the significance of the activities today on the UN Vesak Day celebration is the fact that the whole world wonders why the Indian Prime Minister visits Sri Lanka? Along with that the message of Vesak goes to the world. When then late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar during the period of Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike, suggested to declare Vesak Day as an International Day of Observance at the UN, the attention of the whole world was drawn towards the Vesak Day. Particularly the attention of the non-Buddhist communities has drawn in this regard. They wonder, what is this Day of Vesak? In that context they will tend to explore on Gautama Buddha’s teachings and the Theravada Buddhist Philosophy. Today, the western philosophers promote the Buddhist Philosophy to heal all the agitated minds, with a clear understanding of this philosophy. Holding an International Vesak Day in Sri Lanka is not only important to us. It is a great endeavor for the whole world, as well as it will not only important to the Buddhist community, but also for the non-Buddhist communities. We can learn lessons from the teaching of Buddhism to build a better society and to ensure the peace in the country while uniting us in a virtuous initiative like this. We have many things to study and to practice in Buddhism to build harmony among the communities as well as in creating a prosperous economy.

As a Buddhist country and as a centre for Theravada Buddhism, I wish strengthen and courage for all of us to be able to build a better society with better human hearts to heal our country as well as the world, through this noble effort. I want to extend my thanks to the Maha Sangha, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the foreign representatives attending this UN Vesak Day event.

Theruwan Saranai.

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