HCM CITY (VNS) — At a time of increased tensions in parts of Asia and elsewhere, Buddha's message of peace, compassion, and love can help guide governments and the international community, UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon has said in a message to the Vietnamese Government on Vesak Day.
Delivered on his behalf by Pratibha Mehta, UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, on the occasion of Lord Buddha's 2558th birthday, it said: "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.
"In the shadow of 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."
"The Buddha's teachings can inspire our efforts to address many of the broader challenges confronting our planet, 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."
Elsewhere, HCM City's Buddhist Sangha yesterday organised a solemn ceremony to celebrate Buddha's birthday at the Viet Nam Quoc Tu Pagoda in District 10.
The immense contributions made to the cause of religious freedom and national liberation by Vietnamese Buddhists were recalled at the ceremony, which was attended by members of the Buddhist Sangha Patronage Council and the Dhama Executive Council of the Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha and city leaders.
Thich Bao Nghiem of the VBS said the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha has continued the 2,000-year tradition of Vietnamese Buddhism and received support from the State and people.
He called on monks, nuns, and believers within and outside Viet Nam to remember the merits of ancestors and heroic martyrs who had sacrificed their lives for the nation's independence and peace.
Hua Ngoc Thuan, deputy chairman of the People's Committee, praised the outstanding contributions and services of Buddhist dignitaries and followers to the nation's construction and defense.
Yesterday, the Supreme Patriarch of the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha, (VBS) Thich Pho Tue, called on Buddhist monks and followers worldwide to raise their voices against China's illegal placement of a drilling rig in Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
Officiating a ceremony celebrating Lord Buddha's 2,558th birthday at the Quan Su Pagoda in Ha Noi, he sent a message of peace in the East Sea to Buddhist leaders and followers all over the world, including those in China.
Thich Pho Tue said China had seriously violated Viet Nam's sovereignty by placing its Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig and ships in Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. He said the action defied international law and expressed approval of the Ninh Binh Statement at the United Nations Vesak Day 2014 on May 10, which called on political leaders to resolve disputes through negotiations and other peaceful means, in line with international law.
At the same ceremony, Le Ba Trinh, Vice Chairman of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Central Committee, appealed to Buddhist followers nationwide and abroad to respond to the statement and the Patriarch's message.
He also urged Buddhist dignitaries, monks, nuns and followers to uphold the tradition of unity within the religion, with other religions and with non-religious people to denounce China's actions.
They should request the Chinese government to immediately stop violating Viet Nam's sovereignty and jurisdiction in the East Sea, respect international laws, especially the UNCLOS, to ensure peace and stability in the region as well as friendship between the two countries, Trinh said. — VNS