Celebration of the International Day of Vesak 2024 at the United Nations Office at Vienna

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The International Day of Vesak was observed at the United Nations in Vienna at a ceremony co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka and Thailand to the UN and International Organisations in Vienna last week.

 The ceremony commenced with welcome remarks by the Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Thailand Cheevindh Nathalang. The message of the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres was read by the Deputy Director General of the United Nations Office in Vienna Dennis Thatchaichawalit following which the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka M R K Lenagala made his remarks.

 During his remarks, Ambassador Lenagala made reference to the background to the 1999 UN General Assembly Resolution on International Recognition of the Day of Vesak, the basis for observance of Vesak at the UN worldwide. He recalled how a lengthy consultative process based on one of the recommendations of the International Buddhist Conference held in Colombo in 1999 culminated in this historic Resolution, with a cross regional support of the Member States. He also recalled the pivotal role played by Sri Lanka during the entire process under the meticulous guidance of Sri Lanka’s illustrious former Foreign Minister late Lakshman Kadirgamar, who, in his speech to the 54th General Assembly suggested that “as the third millennium of human history opens, it would be fitting to recall the immense contribution to the understanding of the human condition that the teachings of the Buddha made two thousand five hundred years ago” and suggested further “that it would be appropriate to honour the Buddha by declaring that Vesak the sacred day for Buddhists the world over, be observed as a special day by the United Nations”. The Ambassador expressed Sri Lanka’s appreciation and gratitude to the sponsors of the Resolution, at the 25th anniversary of its adoption.

 Most Venerable Phra Brahmapracharayanamuni a British and Thai Buddhist monk in the Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah made a video presentation under the title “Middle Path to Sustainable World”. The video presentation was followed by remarks by the Chief incumbent of the Nyanaponika Dhamma Centre in Vienna Venerable Vijayarajapura Seelawansa Thero. Venerable Suhadagama Anurudhdha Thero conducted a practical meditation session for the participants.

 The event ended with a reception co-organised by the Sri Lanka and Thailand Missions for those attended including the Ambassadors and UN officials based in Vienna.

Embassy and Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and International Organisations Vienna

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