Hon Dinesh Gunawardena, Sri Lanka Minister of Water Suppy and Drainage

From Hon Dinesh Gunawardena, Sri Lanka

It is with great respect & honour that I send this message of kind thoughts & well wishes to National Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (NBVS) and Maha Chulalongkornrajavidyalaya University (MCU) for organizing the United Nations Day of Vesak (UNDV) in Vietnam on the Thrice Sacred Day of Vesak Poya (full moon) day of 2558 (common era 2014) as we celebrate a further milestone in our journey together.
Vietnam Buddhist Sangha is always remembered with high respect and so much emotions around the world for the selfless sacrifice made by Venerable Thich Quang Duc against hegemonial warmongers of the west for forcefully & meaninglessly destructing peace, sovereignty, prosperity and right to life in other nations.
Let us take a moment to remember that today we celebrate this great day for Buddhists world over because of a resolution moved on behalf of the Maha Sangha and followers of the Buddha world over by an exemplary son of Sri Lanka Late Honourable Laxman Kadiragamar, an international diplomat of par excellence, who was later assassinated by ruthless terrorists.
Last year we were gathered for the 10th anniversary of United Nations Day of Vesak. It was an important milestone in our journey as Buddhists gathered from all parts of the globe in fostering & propagating the teachings of the Enlightened One, as almost one-fifth of population of today’s world regards the Buddha as their supreme teacher.
Prince Siddharta Gauthma destined to be the greatest religious teacher of the world was born on a Vesak full moon day. Though, brought up in lap of luxury, he clearly understood sorrow of humanity, and after a super human struggle of years, unaided and unguided, but with his own efforts and wisdom eradicated all defilements the process of grasping, realizing pain as true they are on his own knowledge on the full moon day of Vesak, and he became Buddha- the enlightened one. He was not born “a Buddha”, but He became “the Buddha”. (Narada Maha Thero)
For forty-five years the Buddha taught and worked for good and happiness of all beings- human and other, and passed away on the full moon day of Vesak. Leaving to disciples the doctrine and discipline as their “only teacher”. The teaching compliments & emphasises the importance on integration of human activity in madhayama pattipaja (moderate or middle path) and “parattham patipajjath” (to engage in the service of other), which, collectively protects and serves all collective ecology.
It is a delight to observe that yet again UN Day of Vesak has shown a glowing example to the United Nations with deep understanding of global dynamics having selected rightly fitting themes to enlighten the discussion of mindful citizens of today’s world; “Buddhist Response to Sustainable Development and Social Change”, “Buddhist Response to Global Warming and Environmental Protection”, “Buddhist Contribution to Healthy Living”, “Peace-Building and Post-Conflict Recovery”, and “Buddhist Education and University Level Curriculum”.
History speaks how ancient network of Buddhist educational institutions played a pivotal role in nurturing the “humane” aspect in civilization. Asoka is considered one of the Greatest Rulers in history of mankind only because of his profound approach in transiting from ending inhumane destructive warfare to spreading the practice of peace to conquer hearts & minds around the world. Wisdom words ‘health is the greatest wealth’ was taught 2500 years ago to the world by none other than the Enlightened One.
With lifelong engagements a deep thoughtful establishment of practices towards caring for the environment -human, animal, & plants- was founded only by the Enlightened One. The importance of being content is only echoed in Buddhist teachings underlining responsible & moderate use of time & resources for sustainable human progress. And it was Siddhartha Guathama the Buddha who began the greatest revolution in history of mankind by challenging & revolutionizing the then established social structure towards responsible upliftment of the individual and there by collectively society’s sustainability.
Importantly let us take this discussion to the Dhamma Schools world over, where the FUTURE, young & youth, of Buddhists are nurtured in the most wholesome education with a clear emphasis on “humane” aspect in global scale for future of civilization.
Relations between Vietnam and Sri Lanka are over centuries, as we exchanged teachings of Gauthama the Buddha to establish and revive the Buddhasasana over & over again. Many centuries ago it was Sri Lankan Sangha that introduced the use of Pali Canon & Pali literature to Vietnam, lingua franca of the time. This great work was furthered by Most Ven Narada Maha thero with the introduction and propagation of Sri Lankan Buddhism to Vietnam, half a century ago.
His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a state visit to Vietnam in 2009. This visit further strengthened relations between Vietnam and Sri Lanka with a greater participation by the Government & People of Sri Lanka with Vietnamese Government & People, and importantly with the long Theravadha Buddhist traditions of the two nations.
In conclusion I wish to express my sincere gratitude and pay my humble veneration to Most Venerable Thich Thanh Nhieu and Most Venerable Prof Phra Brahmapundit for untiring efforts & commitment shown towards achieving great success in organizing this assembly of world Buddhist brotherhood for the 11th memorable occasion and all success to the conference.


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