The United Nations (UN) Day of Vesak kicked off this week in Vietnam with the participation of 1,650 international delegates from over 100 countries. The opening ceremony in Ha Nam province also brought together 20,000 Vietnamese Buddhist dignitaries, monks, nuns and followers.
Phra Ajahn Brahmapundit from Thailand, President of the International Council for Day of Vesak, said the three-day event was not only a chance for Buddhists worldwide to celebrate the Enlightenment of the Buddha, but it also aims to serve all people by advocating sustainable development, and addressing global challenges such as environmental pollution, climate change and education.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the UN Day of Vesak is not just a religious and cultural festival, but an important gathering to send the great message of Lord Buddha on peace, harmony, tolerance and kindness to all people worldwide.
With the theme of “Buddhist Approach to Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Sustainable Societies”, the Vesak 2019 celebration aims to contribute to realizing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Its program includes five workshops on issues such as responsible leadership for sustainable peace, Buddhist approaches to family, healthcare, education, morality, responsible consumption, and the relationship between Buddhism and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The results of workshop discussions will be included in the “Ha Nam Declaration”. This is the third time the UN commemoration of Vesak is held in Vietnam. Previously, it took place in Hanoi in 2008, and Ninh Binh province in 2014.