The Secretary-General of the United Nations 2014

HE. Ban Ki-moon

    U N I T E D   N A T I O N S    N A T I O N S   U N I E S




It is a great pleasure to greet all those who have come together to celebrate Vesak Day, which marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha. On this day millions of people, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, take time to reflect on the life and teachings of the Buddha, and to receive guidance from them.

I particularly welcome the theme of your celebrations in Vietnam and your desire to explore the Buddhist perspective towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, While the Buddha’s teachings are eternal, the Buddhist perspective is also valuable now as we accelerate our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and steer the world onto a more sustainable and equitable path of development. 

This year’s observance of Vesak falls at a time of continuing pain for those still affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded and which devastated parts of Southeast Asia. I saw for myself some of the impacts and would like to use this occasion to express the continued solidarity of the United Nations in helping the people of the region recover.

In the shadow of these enormous tragedies, the Buddha’s message of peace, compassion and love for all living beings resonates strongly. It tells us to open our hearts and embrace our fellow human beings, especially those in need. At a time of increased tensions in parts of Asia and elsewhere, these timeless teachings can help guide governments and the international community. They can inspire our efforts to address many of the broader challenges confronting our world – from conflict to inequality to climate change. In each of these areas, we have to rise above narrow self-interest, and think and act as members of one global community.

On this Day of Vesak, let us pledge to work together for the common good, and for the betterment of all humankind. I thank you for your commitment to these ideals, and wish you a memorable and joyous Vesak Day.

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