The International Day of Vesak (Buddha Poornima) was celebrated in Manila with a two-day special commemorative event held on 05 and 06 May 2023 at the Official Residence and St. Giles Hotel Makati respectively, with the participation of the Sri Lankan community.
The first day of celebrations began with a parade led by Buddhist Monks followed by the invitees holding Buddhist flags and candles through the adjacent street to the Official Residence. The programme commenced with observing pansil, hoisting of the Buddhist flag and lighting of the traditional oil lamp.
The welcome remarks was delivered by the Charge d’Affaires, a.i. of the Embassy highlighting the importance of living peacefully, to sympathize, help, forgive, love, and bring joy and happiness to others. The Vesak Day messages of President of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe; and, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Foreign Minister M.U.M. Ali Sabry, was also read during the event. Remarks were also delivered by Imam Yusoph Mama representing the Islam faith and Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Davao William T. Chen.Venerable Miao Jing, Head Abbess of the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay invoked blessings to the event. A book on Silk Route and Buddhism was also presented to the Charge d’ Affaires.
The guests were entertained with a Bhaktigeetha performance by the Embassy Staff Vesak, a song by Anuki Wickramage called “Uththama Muni Dalada”, and Chinese-English song "Buddha, where are you" performed by the members of the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple and Buddha Birthday Dance performed by the students of Guang Ming College. The program concluded with Buddha Bathing event conducted by the members of Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple and Buddha’s Light International Association Manila 2nd Chapter. This event was attended by all Buddhist communities and leaders of multi-religious faith, members of the diplomatic corps, Sri Lankan community in the Philippines, media and friends of Sri Lanka.
On the second day at St. Giles Hotel Makati, the Embassy celebrated Vesak giving priority to the Dhamma Sermon and screening Buddhist video documentaries received from Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. Welcome remarks delivered by the Charge d’Affaires, a.i., of the Embassy, highlighted the relevance of peace, social harmony and sustainability in the present context. Father Maximus Pushpakumara spoke on the importance of Vesak Day and the how Sri Lankans can practically apply the teachings of Buddhism to their personal lives. Director of the Waste Management Authority of Sri Lanka – Western Province Nalin Manaperuma, a member of the 21 delegates who were in Manila representing Sri Lanka at the PHINLA Global Waste Management Conference 2023 also made courtesy remarks
During the programme, the Most Reverend Archbishop Charles John Brown read the message for the Feast of Vesak 2023 addressed to all Buddhists titled “Buddhists and Christians: Healing Wounded Humanity and Earth through Karuna and Agape” published by the Dicastrey for Interreligious Dialogue of the Holy See. The Vesak message of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was also read by the Consular Officer of the Embassy.
At the request of the Embassy, a virtual Dhamma Sermon was conducted by Most Venerable Pothuhara Mahindasiri Thero on mindfulness which conveyed the timeless message for every individual to live happily and peacefully and the attendees were encouraged to practice mindfulness in their day to day lives.
A Vesak Bhaktigeetha was performed by the delegation from Waste Management of Sri Lanka and World Vision Sri Lanka. The programme ended with serving a light vegetarian lunch for the attendees. This event was attended by leaders of multi-religious faith, Dean of the diplomatic corps, Sri Lankan community in the Philippines and a 21-member delegation from Waste Management of Sri Lanka and World Vision Sri Lanka.
In a separate Vesak event organized by the Universal Wisdom Foundation Inc, the Embassy attended the Bodhi Pooja and the celebration of the 12th year anniversary of the Sacred Bodhi Tree (from the most sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka), on 6 May at the Wisdom Park in Quezon City. Members of the Diplomatic Corps in the Philippines namely, Ambassador of Thailand Tull Traisorat, Ambassador of Vietnam Hoang Huy Chung, Ambassador of Laos Sonexay Vannaxay; Ms., Charge d’Affaires, a.i. of the Embassy of Sri Lanka P.G.P. Kaushalya, Charge d’Affaires, a.i. of the Embassy of Mayanmar San Yu Kyawa and First Secretary of the Embassy of India Kannan C participated along with a large gathering of Buddhist devotees.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
10 May 2023