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25 MAY 2011
At UN commemoration of 2600 years of Buddhism:
IMPORTANCE OF INTERFAITH DIALOGUE INITIATIVE REAFFIRMED; PHL CONTRIBUTIONS RECOGNIZED
25 May 2011 United Nations, New York Diplomats and guests learn more about Buddhism at a week-long exhibit that is part of the commemoration of the International Day of Vesak celebrating 2,600 years of the enlightenment of The Buddha at the United Nations. The Philippines, last year’s coordinator for the event, joined Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Japan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Viet Nam in organizing this year’s events coordinated by Sri Lanka. END
25 May 2011 United Nations, New York One of the guests (left) takes time to view the photographs featuring Buddhism and its legacies in the Philippines. Undersecretary Nabil Tan (right) of the Office of the Executive Secretary reads the notes on Buddhism in the Philippines, including reference to the Buddhist Saka era corresponding to April 21, 900 as written in the Laguna Copperplate Inscription. END
25 May 2011 United Nations, New York The international commemoration of the Day of Vesak or the Buddha’s enlightenment here reaffirmed the importance of interfaith dialogue in bringing nations and peoples together in greater understanding, mutual respect and tolerance, and gave an occasion to recognize the Philippines’ contributions to a broader and comprehensive approach towards global peace.
At a special meeting last week at the General Assembly Hall attended by the Acting President of the General Assembly Ambassador Hasan Kleib of Indonesia, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, other dignitaries and an estimated 150 Buddhist monks, the commemoration of 2600 th year of the Buddha’s enlightenment at the United Nations stressed the Buddha’s messages of compassion, peace and goodwill that “continued to resonate with significance today.”
Speakers also underscored the importance of interfaith dialogue, which would be a concrete result of living the teachings of the Buddha.
In his statement, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan stressed, “The Buddha’s profound teachings have transformed the lives of millions for centuries with messages of purpose, balance, meditation, healing, spirituality, and compassion – all of which lead one to view a fellow human being with nothing but utmost respect and understanding. All of which will lead one to live a life of peace, within himself and with others.”
“It is fitting then that on this occasion, we – with peace in our hearts - are drawn together here at the United Nations, an organization committed fully to the promotion of global peace. Within these halls and beyond it, the United Nations and its member states have strived to further broaden peace throughout our world – building and strengthening peace, no matter the risk, no matter the pain, no matter the cost,” Ambassador Cabactulan explained, adding “Yet there is still so much to be done.”
Ambassador Cabactulan pointed out that “mistrust and hatred threaten to rend the ties that bind us all as one diverse human family” and cause tension and instability in many parts of the world.
Ambassador Cabactulan said the Philippines’ experience has taught the country the importance of bringing together people of diverse faiths, cultures and religion grounded on respecting the “value of the individual and his dignity as a person” which is a lesson it now shares with the rest of the world through interreligious and intercultural dialogue at the UN and beyond.
“While our peoples are predominantly Christian, we are a secular state, and we are respectful and tolerant of any religion. We have a significant Muslim population. We have those belonging to other Great Faiths. We have those who adhere to indigenous beliefs. And we are also home to many Buddhists,” said Ambassador Cabactulan, adding, “In democratic Philippines, no faith is too great as to sacrifice the value of plurality and no faith is too small to be ignored. In fact, since 2001 the Philippines – through Proclamation No. 24 - has officially observed Vesak Day on the full moon day of May every year.”
In building our country, the Philippines realizes that for our people to know, respect and understand each other, we need to dialogue with one another. For indeed, we can only grow together as one nation when we place at the This valuable lesson is what animates the Philippines’ interfaith dialogue initiative in our country, in our region and here in the United Nations. This is what we are committed to be our enduring – and continuing - legacy for the world’s posterity.
Since 2001, the Philippines has pursued interfaith dialogue in the wider international context. Beginning in 2004, the Philippines has worked on GA resolutions on interfaith cooperation and interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
In last year’s A/Res/65/138 the Philippines went a step further by asking Member States to consider, as appropriate and where applicable, interreligious and intercultural dialogue as an important tool in efforts aimed at achieving peace and the full realization of the Millennium Development Goals.
The Philippines has also diligently built on dialogue between the United Nations System, Governments and religious organizations through the Tripartite Forum on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace, established in 2005. END
Reference:Robert E.A. Borje
Philippine Mission to the United Nations
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