After three years of virtual celebrations, the Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka and Thailand to the United Nations in New York co-hosted an in-person commemoration of the International Day of Vesak on Thursday, 18 May 2023, at the Trusteeship Councilof the United Nations Head Quarters in New York.
Sponsored by Sri Lanka and Thailand, in 1999, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 54/115, which internationally recognized the Day of Vesak at the United Nations.
The Commemoration commenced with the opening remarks by the co-hosts. Ambassador Suriya Chindawongse of Thailand emphasized the significance of the Vesak Day and the ways in which the teachings of the Lord Buddha can enrich the common ethos to tackle the multiple crisis the world is currently undergoing.
Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi, the President of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, delivered the opening statement at the event. The UN Secretary General António Guterres, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand Don. Pramudwinai and, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka Ali Sabry addressed the celebration through virtual messages. All dignitaries referred to the relevance of Buddhism to meet contemporary challenges and the ways the teaching can be applied to usher peace and sustainable living to the world.
Ven. Phramaha Thawin Puhkao, Ven. Pharama Kamsun Kangmun and Ven. Phra Gasana Kochaphatn of Thailand invoked blessings.Ven. Heenbunne Kondanna thero, Chief Incumbent of the Staten Island Buddhist Vihara conducted the sermon representing the Theravada Tradition. The Chief Incumbent, delivering his sermon, mentioned that the principles of the Buddhist teachings of universal loving kindness were at the crux of the UN Charter.
Buddhist clergy from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam and the Republic of Korea participated at the event.
The Permanent Representatives of India, Nepal, China, Japan, Pakistan, Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Mongolia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Bangladesh and the Deputy Permanent Representatives from Singapore, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea and Malaysia also delivered statements at this event. While underlining the necessity of adhering to the teachings of Lord Buddha at turbulent times like the present, they congratulated both Sri Lanka and Thailand for co-organizing the UN Vesak Day.
Ambassador Mohan Pieris, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, delivered the closing remarks and thanked all the venerable clergy and the other dignitaries for their participation at the event.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
22 May 2023