Kathmandu, May 18
The International Day of Vesak or Buddha Purnima was celebrated at the United Nations Headquarters in New York today by organising a special commemorative event.
The President of the General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés; Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti and representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam highlighted the relevance of the Buddhist philosophy for peace, social harmony and sustainability in the present context.
The speakers shared confidence that the Buddhist ideals would be useful towards addressing the pressing problems and issues facing humanity today, from conflict to terrorism and from climate change to sustainable development, according to a press release issued by the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations.
According to Amrit Bahadur Rai Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nepal to the UN, the celebration of Buddha Purnima was important to promote peace, non-violence, compassion, universal brotherhood, and welfare not only of humanity but also of all sentient beings on earth. He also highlighted the importance of reviving the International Committee for the Development of Lumbini, which has remained dormant for several years, to spread the message of Buddha. Revival of the international body was also important for conserving and developing the sacred place, said Rai.
The event began with an observance of the five precepts in Theravada tradition and invocation of blessings as per Mahayana tradition.
The event contained sermons by monks and musical interludes.
The celebrations commenced in the morning today with a daan or offering of food ceremony, which was attended by Buddhist monks from various countries.
Nepal offered Nepali delicacies to the monks.
Following recognition of the Day of Vesak by the UN General Assembly resolution in 2000, the event is organised at the UN Headquarters every year, with Nepal among the principal organisers.
A version of this article appears in print on May 19, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.