Stunning venue: The UN Vesak Day of Celebration series of conferences and workshops is scheduled to take place from May 12-14 at the Conference Centre in Tam Chúc, Hà Nam Province. VNA/VNS Photo Thành Đạt
By Venerable Thích Đức Thiện
Having gone through so many changes, Buddhism’s universal teachings have preserved their values in the civilization of mankind for more than 25 centuries. In the context of rapid changes and severe challenges, Buddhist ideologies continue to demonstrate their outstanding power. Our world faces serious problems such as wars, conflicts, terrorism, environmental pollution and inequality, of which the crisis of faith worsens human relationships. Thus, selfishness and irresponsibility stand out as the most alarming issues.
Within the seemingly dark and stagnant picture of the world, the brightness of Buddhism creates a unique approach to relieve pain and suffering in a sustainable manner. This is the main theme of the 2019 Vesak Celebration, hosted by the Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha and the Government of Việt Nam for the third time, at the Tam Chúc Buddhist Culture Centre, Hà Nam Province, Việt Nam.
Venerable Thích Đức Thiện.
The Day of Vesak this year illustrates a great example of the important position and the noble responsibility of Buddhism to resolve the urgent issues of our era. It also demonstrates a positive attitude and a strong faith in the power of Buddhism for its future contributions.
In general, common social issues are addressed through multi-faceted approaches of politics, economics and sociology. The Buddhist approach to global leadership and commonly shared responsibilities for sustainable societies comes from Buddhism’s wisdom and its practical ways of problem solving. This approach is deeply humane, coming from the core values of human beings and aiming at resolving their pain and suffering.
It heals people’s minds so they could live in happiness and, in turn, make the whole world a happy place to live. The spirit of mercy, selflessness, tolerance and altruism, harmony and peace via the Eight-Fold Path are the core and bright values of Buddhism and they are absolutely fit for solving the key challenges of our time. Our world would have seen fewer conflicts if both nations’ leaders and their people understood the two main pillars of Buddhism – Wisdom (righteous knowledge, fairness, acceptance of diversity and differences) and Compassion (love and unconditional mutual support).
As the results of rapid technology development of Industry 4.0, our world is being closely connected to a common network. This creates opportunities and hidden risks of conflicts, violence and extremism at the same time. The faith in the Buddha nature of each person, free from racism, gender and rich-and-poor discrimination, helps bring people from all corners of the world to live in harmony in line with Buddha’s teachings. Buddhism around the world can synergize its power and its global leadership role when they are united in selflessness, together with other political, cultural and social structures, to build a world of peace, prosperity, sustainable development in which every being is respected.
The Buddhist approach to global leadership that aims at solving problems of our time does not only initiate a practical leadership model with specific management tools but also calls for self-regulated and self-controlled efforts in individuals based on the core values of Buddhism. Some critical values include those that direct mankind to intellectual development and righteous thinking, enhance their love and sharing with others, and encourage them to render support to others unconditionally and consider other’s happiness as their own.
That is the purity of Buddhism. This year's 2019 Vesak celebration has the mission to find the standard of good seeds to sow into this world. In that spirit, the educating and spreading of Buddhist teachings will be the core to guide the process of self-regulation of each person to achieve a happier life for themselves and the community.
In order to build a sustainable society according to the UN Millennium Sustainable Development Goals, the "understanding to love" of Buddhism is able to guide individuals and communities, who are willing to help each other, together, to shoulder and share common and partial responsibilities towards eliminating personal selfishness. The preeminent properties proposed by Buddhist teachings are the practical approaches to help Buddhism realise the responsibilities of the Sangha, Buddhists and individuals for the community. The doctrine of Buddhism, when imparted and perceived, will help individuals and groups practice to limit selfishness, to expand love, to be willing to help people, to create and maintain a harmonious living environment, and therefore happiness on our shared home.
With more than two thousand years of Dharma birth in the country and immersed in the nation, Buddhism in Việt Nam with the spirit of enlightenment has always been a trusted member in the great unity of the people throughout history, building and defending the country, in the gallant cause of national liberation as well as the current renovation and construction. The suffering that many generations of Vietnamese people have experienced during many wars has shaped in them the capacity to be tolerant, forgiving, understandable to appreciate life and love.
One of the prominent symbols of Vietnamese Buddhist culture is the image of thousand-hand Guan Yin with the delicately expressed values of Buddhism. The eyes represent awareness, righteous thoughts, understanding, wisdom and also the window to the mind, while the hands in the image of Buddha symbolise pure, generous action and willingness to share, to help humanity.
Nevertheless, this realm of eyes - hands is also a way of expressing the value of a person with the ability to acknowledge and to act in synchronisation, properly to perfect himself and contribute for the world. The hand image of hundred-year-old Buddha statue inspired the United Nations Vesak celebration logo 2019 this time, when we see the outer ring of the logo, it is pink lotus petals like upturned hands, together in a circle of connection, covering and sharing.
From the inspiration of the Buddhist enlightenment on the land of Việt Nam, which is beautiful, rich in cultural identity, passing through many sacrifices and losses, the UN Vesak celebration 2019 is a forum for communities and World Buddhist organisations to discuss and seek Buddhist solutions for pursuing the UN’s goals, including aspects such as: leadership with righteous thoughts for sustainable peace, Buddhist approach to family harmony, healthcare and sustainable society, global moral education, Industry 4.0, and responsible consumption, for a sustainable environment.
The message from the United Nations Vesak celebration 2019 in Việt Nam calls for world Buddhist leaders to unite and engage in the act of enlightenment, sharing and implementation of therapeutic solutions to global social challenges in our time. The Vesak celebration is also an opportunity for all of us to contemplate and celebrate the lasting values in the humanistic thought of Buddhism, encouraging each individual and community to create and maintain calm and happiness not only by seeking material values and to attain peace of mind, thereby contributing to building a common, happy world. VNS