Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Bangladesh Mission and the people of Bangladesh, I feel honored to participate in this auspicious occasion of “Vesak Day”, a day to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and passing away or parinirvana of Gautama Buddha. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Norachit Sinhaseni, Permanent Representative of Thailand, and also his colleagues at the Thai Mission for coordinating this year’s celebration.
2. Lord Buddha’s teachings have crossed continents, has traversed time, and motivated millions across nations. Celebrating Vesak Day inspires us to make special efforts to bring happiness especially to the marginalized, the poor, the aged, the handicapped and the sick. The message of compassion, peace and goodwill taught by Sidhartha is as relevant today as it was millennia before. His guidance to lead honest lives, to be kind to every creature, and to bring peace and harmony to humanity is a beacon to all societies.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
3. Historical records show that Buddhism, which spread from the Indian sub-continent, was established in the present day Bangladesh, as early as in third century B.C. Over the centuries, Buddhism has indeed made deep impression on our social, cultural, spiritual and intellectual lives. We are humbled by the fact that the largest Buddhist Monastery or ‘Bihara’ on the south of the Himalayas was located on the northern part of Bangladesh, in Paharpur.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
4. Bangladesh is a nation that consists of diverse religious groups that have co-existed in complete harmony and peace for generations. The tolerance and even appreciation for the neighbor’s religion makes us one of the most moderate and liberal people in our area. The people from different religious background share a relationship of mutual respect and are free to practice their own religion and culture. Our Buddhist community practice their religion with full rights as equal citizens of Bangladesh. The Government has created separate welfare trusts for the Buddhists community, and special care is taken in relation to their holy places.
5. The Buddha Purnima or Baishakhi Purnima, as Vesak Day is known in my country for centuries, is celebrated every year nationally. It is a national holiday, and special programs are organized all over the country to commemorate this day. Our Bangladesh Permanent Mission here in New York is on holiday today.
6. For us, the negotiators at the United Nations, the Vesak Day, has a special significance. This day reminds us of our duty to humanity, our duty to poor, the sick, the vulnerable, and the marginalized throughout the world. This day again reignite us to work united for a pro-people, pro-planet inclusive and peaceful sustainable world. Lord Buddha taught us to love people, and also God's creations and we must not forget his message-- his message of compassion and devotion to human welfare. Today let us renew our vows to end hunger and poverty, to end discrimination and injustice, and to end deprivation and sufferings for all peoples across the globe. Lord Buddha was a human being, he was born as a human being, he lived and died as a human being. He is a testimony that human being can achieve 'Nirvana' provided you work for it. Let his spirit inspire and guide us. May peace be upon all of us. I thank you.