July 24, 2021
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    Embassy of Sri Lanka in France and the Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO Virtually Commemorate International Day of Vesak  

    May 29, 2021

    Marking the Birth, Enlightenment and the Parinibbana (passing away) of Lord Buddha, the International Day of Vesak commemoration organised by the Sri Lanka Embassy in France and Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO in Paris was successfully held on a virtual platform on 26 May 2021.

    The UN General Assembly resolution 54/115 of 1999 recognized the day of Vesak as an international day of observance given its significance for Buddhists all over the world. The Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO, has been celebrating the International Vesak Day at UNESCO as an annual event.

    This year’s event was centered on Lord Buddha’s Dhamma Pada verse 204, “Arōgyā paramā lābhā Santuṭṭhiparamaṃ dhanaṃ”: “Health is the ultimate profit and Happiness is the ultimate Wealth”.

    The Opening Ceremony was comprised of religious blessings by the Maha Sangha led by Chief Priest of the International Buddhist Centre the Most Venerable Parawahera Chandarathana Thero and messages of peace were delivered by Hindu, Muslim and Christian religious dignitaries.


    Delivering the welcome speech, Ambassador to France and the Permanent Delegate to UNESCO Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama, highlighted the importance of the Vesak season as “an opportune time to reflect on the virtues of living-protect others by being protected as individuals during this pandemic period” stressing that if a person protects him or herself as an individual, the entire society would be protected, leading to defeating of the covid-19 pandemic.


    Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena in his special video message stated that “We are facing unprecedented times that are stressful for us all - a time that challenges our relationships and we have witnessed globally, situations of anger and hostility. We must reject hate and ensure that there is no room for it in our responses”.


    Director General Ms. Audre Azoulay in her message stated that UNESCO is committed to preserving the diversity of cultural traditions and reaffirm all that Buddhist heritage brings to religious and cultural dialogue, and the fight against hatred. Further, she pointed out the importance of Buddhist values “In these times of crises, this message of solidarity and benevolence towards others as well as towards the environment, is particularly significant. These are the values which UNESCO aims to breathe life through the diversity of its mandate”.


    The virtual celebration of Vesak was hosted on Webex platform and was live streamed on YouTube and the event was attended and watched by over 500 viewers including members of the Buddhist clergy, other religious dignitaries, Members of the Diplomatic corps, Permanent Delegates accredited to UNESCO, staff of the UNESCO Secretariat, media, academia and the Sri Lankan community in France.


    With the collaborations of the Permanent Delegates to UNESCO of the Asia Pacific group the event showcased videos depicting how Buddhists all around the globe are celebrating Vesak in their own traditions, symbolizing various aspects of Buddha’s life and Buddha’s teachings.


    The Permanent Delegates from Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam made celebratory remarks highlighting the event as a high contribution for dialogue, mutual understanding and collaboration among nations.

    The event also included a special dhamma session by the Most Venerable Murungasyaye Gnanissara Thero and was concluded with a meditation session by the Most Venerable Parawahera Chandrarathna Thero of the International Buddhist Centre in Paris.

    Last modified on Friday, 28 May 2021 21:06

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