Thank you very much Ambassador Chindawongse, Ambassador Pieris for spearheading this year’s International Day of Vesak.
Excellencies, Venerable Monks,
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” These wise words of the Buddha continue to resonate in a fast-evolving global environment.
Today, the Philippines is honored to join the community of nations in celebrating this auspicious occasion. Twenty-three years ago, Member States adopted UN Resolution 54/115, recognizing this important and sacred event. The Philippine Government, consistent with its national policy of fostering interfaith dialogue, issued Proclamation No. 24, declaring the full moon day of May of every year as Vesak Day.
The Buddhist faith of the Mahayana tradition was introduced between the 7th and 13th Centuries and is practiced today in the Philippines. We rank 20th in the world in terms of Buddhist population. For being comparatively small, the Buddhist community in the country is among the most vibrant. For one, it stems from the easy inclusiveness and religious acceptance in Filipino society.
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.”
And if I may add: Believe in the power of working together.
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 understand all is to forgive all.
And through our infinite capacity to do good and to take a leap of faith, we leave our comfort zones to enter into landmark agreements and partnerships, from climate action and migration, to peacekeeping and promoting the rule of law, among others.
As we continue to nourish peace inside and around us during this time of great adversity, may the teachings of the Buddha continue to transform our world into one of compassion, cooperation and constancy.
Let us continue to aspire for a world with balance, healing and benign purpose.
I thank you. END