President U Win Myint and First Lady Daw Cho Cho, who were in Vie Nam, Hanoi attended the opening ceremony of the 16th United Nations Day of Vesak Celebration at Tam Chuc International Buddhist Convention Center in Ha Nam Province yesterday morning.
President U Win Myint and First Lady Daw Cho Cho arrived at the venue of the celebration at 8.30 am local time and poured water on Buddha Images.
Attendees at the opening ceremony then recited the Three Gems in Pali .
The message of the Supreme Patriarch Most Ven. Dr. Thich Tri Quang of National Vietnam Buddhist Sangha was read out, and President of the National Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha Most Ven. Dr. Thich Thien Nhon extended greetings.
Then, the video documentary message of UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres was shown.
Afterwards, Most Ven. Prof. Dr. Phra Brahmapundit and Prime Minister of Viet Nam Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc delivered addresses.
In his address, President U Win Myint said It is my honour and privilege to participate in this auspicious the United Nations Vesak Day celebration today. I wish to express my appreciation to the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the National Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha (NVBS) for inviting me to attend this great event in Ha Nam Province.
Our presence here at this auspicious occasion of the United Nations Vesak Day, demonstrates our firm commitment to exert our collective efforts in building peace, security and stability around the world through propagation of Metta (Loving- Kindness).
Buddhist devotees all over the world celebrate “Vesak”, on the Full Moon Day of our Lunar month of Kason, as it is the most Sacred Day commemorating the Birth, Enlightenment and Parinirvana of the Gauthama Buddha who attained Enlightenment 2600 years ago. We acknowledge with much appreciation the great efforts made by the then Sri Lanka Foreign Minister, Mr. Lakshman Kadigamar, to pave the way for the recognition of the United Nations on the Vesak Day by its General Assembly’s Resolution No. 54/ 115 of 1999.
The first Vesak Day was held by the United Nations in 2000 at its Headquarters in New York, and since then, we annually celebrate this holy Buddha Day. Taking this opportunity, I wish to express my profound appreciation to the respective governments and the people of Viet Nam, Thailand, and Sri Lanka for their active role in promoting the Buddha Sasana (Buddha teachings, knowledge and wisdom) by annually celebrating the United Nations Vesak Day.
At a time when the world we live in is full of violence and miseries, it has become even more relevant and necessary to hold annual celebration of Vesak Day devoted to the Buddha’s teaching of loving kindness and living in peace and harmony.
We believe that this annual event would contribute to our collective efforts in rekindling spirit of culture of peace and in promoting mutual understanding among the peoples of different cultures, religions and civilizations.
Most Venerables, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The historical records indicate that Buddhism has rooted in Myanmar since 2 A.D. of Pyu era. Between 4 A.D and 9 A.D, Buddhist Ceties, Stupas, and Pagodas have been apparently built in Myanmar. In 11 A.D of Bagan era, Theravada Buddhism has flourished in fullbloom in Myanmar together with its genuine teachings. Starting from Bagan era to Konbaung era (from 11 A.D.to 18 A.D), Theravada Buddhism has been maintained by members of Sangha together with the support of the Royalties and Myanmar people.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to apprise the meeting of Myanmar Government’s efforts for flourishing and propagating Buddha Sasana and Buddha’s noble teachings. Myanmar government has established three Buddhist Universities, namely the State Pariyatti Sasana University in Yangon, the State Pariyatti Sasana University in Mandalay and International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University under the supervision of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture. The main policies of these Universities are to contribute to raising the number of Sangha students with high moral standards, wide knowledge of the Canonical Texts of Theravada Pitaka, high proficiency in the Pali language, the grammar and the syntax of the language and good skill in written Myanmar. All the students attending these Universities will have a good opportunity to study Theravada Buddhist Scriptural Canons in the respective courses under the B.A, M.A and Ph.D degree programmes.
Furthermore, those who are willing to study the Theravada Buddhism in both ways of theory and practice, irrespective of their religious faiths, can enroll in the International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University. The Myanmar government shall provide free board and lodging, and educational expenses for foreign students as our donation for fulfillment of their pursuit of Wisdom. I am delighted to inform that 13 Vietnamese monks, 45 nuns and 3 female lay persons have been attending the courses at the above-mentioned University during the 2018-2019 academic year. A total of 63 monks, nuns, male and female laymen from 14 countries including Viet Nam, will be attending the International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University in the Buddha Dhamma Diploma Courses during the 2019-2020 academic year. As part of our efforts to promote peace and national reconciliation, Myanmar has organized Advisory Forums on National Reconciliation and Peace for twice in cooperation with Religions for Peace Group(RfP). The first forum was held in November 2018 and the second forum was held recently from 7 to 8 May 2019.
Most Venerables, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Religion plays a vital role in maintaining peace and stability of the world. The great religious teachers taught us the moral principles and values such as self respect, respect to others, reduction and ultimate eradication of greed and hatred. If we follow the teachings of our respective religion, we would be able to build a harmonious societies, ultimately peaceful and prosperous world. The universal spirit of loving-kindness, boundless compassion and great tolerance is a common platform for attaining the common goals of peace and prosperity for the entire world.
The celebration of Vesak Day reminds us to reiterate our dedication to follow the Buddha’s teachings and doctrine. I wish to conclude by calling for everyone to exert efforts to promote loving kindness as widely as possible firstly within our own families and then among the social, political, civil and religious institutions in this highly diverse world.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Afterwards, Prime Minister of Nepal Mr. KP Sharma Oli, Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu, and Chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Mr. Tran Thanh Man delivered addresses.
After the opening ceremony, President U Win Myint and the First Lady, the Vietnamese Prime Minister, heads of state, Sayadaws, members of the Sangha and religious leaders attending the ceremony posed for documentary photo.
The United Nations General Assembly in 1999 made the resolution No 54/115 designating the full moon day of May, the day on which three important events — the birth, full awakening, and the passing away of the Buddha – occurred, as the United Nations Day of Vesak Celebration. The first Vesak Day was held in the UN (New York) in 2000. Later Thailand, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam held the Vesak Day celebration in turn. Viet Nam hosted the Vesak Day celebration in 2009 and 2014. It is the third time the country is hosting the Vesak Day celebration. The 16th Vesak Day celebration is being jointly held by National Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha and International Vesak Day Organizing Committee from 12 to 14 May under the support of Vietnamese government. Over 1600 Buddhist representatives of 113 countries around the world and over 20,000 Vietnamese Buddhist are taking part in the Vesak Day celebration.
In the afternoon, President U Win Myint and the First Lady attended the luncheon hosted by Vesak Day Celebration Organizing Committee at the Tam Chuc International Buddhist Convention Center. The President and the First Lady paid homage and offered incense and lights to Buddha images at Tam Chu Pagoda. They also donated a 20-inch tall Buddha image to the pagoda Board of Trustees for public obeisance together with Buddha images donated by other Buddhist countries.
The President and the First Lady paid homage and offered incense and lights to Buddha images at Bai Dinh Ancient Pagoda in Ninh Binh Province and presented cash donations to Sayadaws.
The President and the First Lady paid homage and donated incense, lights and offertories to Bao Thap Stupa at Bai Dinh religious area. In the evening, the delegation led by the President and the First Lady enjoyed the Vietnamese cultural performances. — MNA/ Translated by TMT