Thank you Excellency,
Mr. President, Excellencies, Most Venerable Monks,
I wish to thank Ambassador Vitavas Srivihok, Permanent Representative of Thailand, and Ambassador Mohan Pieris Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, for co-hosting this important commemoration.
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” The wise words of Buddha continue to resonate under these extraordinary circumstances.
Today, the Philippines is honored to join the community of nations in celebrating the 2021 International Day of Vesak to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Buddha.
Member States adopted the UN Resolution in 1999, recognizing this important and sacred event. Consistent with its national policy of fostering interfaith dialogue, the Philippine Government issued Proclamation No. 24, declaring the full moon day of May of every year as Vesak Day.
Introduced in the Philippines between the 7th and 13th Centuries, the Buddhist faith (the Mahayana Tradition) is practiced today by some 2% of the country’s 110 million population. We rank 20th in the world in terms of Buddhist population. For being comparatively small, the Buddhist community is among the most vibrant. It shows the easy inclusiveness of the Filipino society. For Filipinos, religious acceptance is at the core of our national character.
We celebrate Vesak with the “Bathing Buddha” to remind us to cleanse or purify ourselves through Three Acts of Goodness: “Think good thoughts, say good words, do good deeds.”
In line with the Culture of Peace agenda of the United Nations, the Philippines has partnered with Pakistan since 2004 in co-sponsoring an annual General Assembly resolution on the “Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding, cooperation for peace.” Its premise is self-evident: evil springs from ignorance; to know all is to forgive all.
As we continue to nourish peace inside and around us in the time of COVID-19, may the teachings of Buddha continue to change our world into one of compassion, cooperation and constancy; a world with balance, healing and benign purpose.
Together, we will heal as one United Nations.
Have a happy and blessed Vesak Day!
Thank you. END