Her Excellency Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand

From Her Excellency Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of  Thailand

It is my great pleasure to extend my congratulations to the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the National Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha for taking the initiative of hosting the 11th United Nations Day of Vesak celebrations and its conference at the Bai Dinh Temple, Ninh Binh Province, on 7-11 May 2014. These activities are also being jointly organised with the International Council Day of Vesak.
Buddhists believe that the Day of Vesak is the day upon which the Lord Buddha was bom, attained enlightenment, and achieved “Parinibbana”, his final passing away. The Day of Vesak is thus integral to Thai tradition and has been celebrated in Thailand for over 800 years as well as in other countries and by Buddhist communities around the world. It is not only an important day for Buddhists but is also recognized by the international community, especially following the adoption by the United Nations of its General Assembly resolution 54/115 in 1999, which Thailand was honoured to co-sponsor.
The principles of peace and non-violence, harmony and compassion, amongst others, have been advocated by the Lord Buddha for over two thousand five hundred years. These principles are relevant today as they were in the Lord Buddha’s time. They serve as part of the foundation for harmonious relations between peoples and nations. Indeed, they also reinforce respect for diversity and tolerance which are so important to the continued advancement of the ASEAN Community, with its rich and diverse cultural heritage.
I hope that this Conference will meet with much success and help contribute to peace in our region and beyond, harmony between Buddhist communities and those of other faiths, and serenity for all participants.

(Yingluck Shinawatra)
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand

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