In accordance with the UN General Assembly resolution 54/115 recognizing the day of Vesak as an international day of observance given its significance for Buddhists all over the world, the Vesak Festival was celebrated successfully at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 24 May 2018 by the Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO in collaboration with Member States of the Asia Pacific Group.
The event, which was organized on the theme, ‘Promotion of Peace and Non-Violence: Buddha’s Way of Life’ was graced by Minister of Higher Education & Cultural Affairs, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe as the Chief Guest. The keynote speech on “Enhancing the Spiritual Harmony of Mankind with Buddhist Teachings” was delivered by Prof. Jun Hong Lu JP, Buddhist Master, Chairman of the World’s Parliament of Religions Foundation and the Australia Oriental Media Buddhist Charity Association.
The celebrations commenced with an opening ceremony, which comprised of religious blessings by the Maha Sangha led by the Most Venerable Parawahera Chandarathana Nayaka Thero, Chief Incumbent of the International Buddhist Centre, and cultural performances portraying the life of the Buddha as well as messages of peace delivered by representatives of other religious faiths. The representative of His Holiness Pope Francis, Msgr. Francesco Follo, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to UNESCO delivered the message on behalf of the Christian faith, while Permanent Delegate of Iran to UNESCO, Ahmad Jalali delivered a message representing Islam. Rabbi Lewin Moshe, Jewish religious leader and Swami Veetamohananda, Head of the Ramakrishna Vedantic Centre, delivered messages on behalf of Judaism and Hinduism respectively.
Addressing the opening ceremony on the topic ‘Buddhism as the path towards world’s peace’, Minister Rajapakshe traced the emergence of different religious ideologies, which all teach nonviolence, peace and compassion as core virtues. Minister Rajapakshe also highlighted with gratitude the role played by the Mahasangha in preserving Buddhism.
elivering the welcome speech, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to France Buddhi K. Athauda said “at a time when the world is segregated into different groups with much enmity and violence, the Vesak season is an opportune time to contemplate on the teachings of Buddha which reflects on the virtues of living in cohesion among the diversity of cultures and religions”. He also underpinned the significance of celebrating the Vesak ceremony at UNESCO, an organization created for building peace in the minds of men and women.
The Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs announced the appointment of Mr. Dehan Seneviratne as Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) with effect from yesterday (4th June).
Tourist arrivals increased by 24.1 per cent in March 2018 as a result of higher numbers of tourists arriving from India, the United Kingdom and Germany in comparison to March 2017.Total tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2018 which was 707,924 was a 17 per cent increase over the first quarter of 2017. Earnings from tourism in March 2018 are estimated at US$ 433 million, with cumulative earnings amounting to US$ 1,313 million during the first quarter of 2018. Workers’ remittances notably increased to US$ 678 million in March 2018, reversing the decline observed during February 2018. Accordingly, workers’ remittances increased by 3.5 per cent to US$ 1,979 million during the first quarter of 2018 in comparison to the corresponding period of 2017
The Sri Lanka Air Force judo players showed their prowess at the recently concluded National Novices Judo Championship 2018. The Air Force women's team emerged overall champions while the men's team won the Runners Up title.
Sri Lanka was showcased in all its splendour at the Shanghai World Travel Fair held at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre in China last week. This was the highlight of a series of promotional events and meetings that were conducted across major cities in China during the course of the past week.
The Jathika kala Nikethanaya (the National Art Centre) in Kundasale was vested in the public yesterday (02th) by President Maithripala Sirisena. This Center, constructed at a cost of Rs 465 million has capacity to accommodate 100 artistes at a time.
The National Art Centre comprises of an Open Air Theatre and two Rehearsal Halls and this has been established in five acres of land and it is the only national level theatre in Sri Lanka. The Department of Cultural Affairs has planned to use this Centre to conduct training courses for the young people and artistes.
President Sirisena after unveiling the plaque, made a note in the souvenir book for special guests. Minister Wijedasa Rajapakse, Central Province Governor P.B. Dissanayake, Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake, Director General of the Department of Cultural Affairs Mrs. Anusha Gokula and senior artistes were also present on this occasion.
The annual UNESCO spearheaded International Vesak celebrations - 2018, generally organized under the aegis of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Paris with the coordination of all Asia Pacific UNESCO members kicked off under the theme, ‘Promotion of Peace and Non-Violent Buddha's Way of Life' on Tuesday (24) on a grand scale at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France.
Rejuvenating the legacy of spiritual connectivity and cultural ethos that has existed between Sri Lanka and Malaysia for generations, a brightly - lit up ‘Vesak’ Pandol, erected by the Sri Lanka Army’s Corps of Engineer Services (CES), following an initiative of Sri Lanka's High Commission in Malaysia, was ceremonially opened for display on Saturday (26) evening at Brickfields Buddhist temple premises, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
To coincide with the commemoration of the international ‘Vesak Day’, Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and Parinibbana (passing away), this Vesak Pandol was completely put up by Army personnel of the CES on the directions of the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, following a request made to that effect by the Buddhist prelate, Brickfields Buddhist temple and High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Malaysia, His Excellency A. J. M. Muzammil.
The High Commission of Sri Lanka, together with the Buddhist Maha Vihara, one of the oldest temples with a rich history over 125 years has organized the International Vesak Celebrations at Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields in Malaysia from 26th May to 1st June 2018. The government of Sri Lanka celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations with Malaysia has presented this colourfully illuminated Vesak Pandol which depicts the life-story of ‘Kundalakeshi’ Jathaka story. It is 60 feet in height and 50 feet in width and illuminated with 35,000 bulbs.
Over 100,000 devotees are expected to participate at the International Vesak Day Celebrations at the Buddhist Maha Vihara during this period. Vesak Day was recognized as a Day of Observances in 1999 by the United Nations. Sri Lanka High Commission in Malaysia sponsored and supported the project by coordinating shipment of the required materials, equipment and iron structures, etc to Malaysia including air tickets for Army personnel.
Considered as the first ever project of this nature in Malaysia, the Pandol after its ceremonial opening on Saturday (26) will be on display until 1 June. Mr Mahinda Jayasooriya of Serendib Restaurant has magnanimously sponsored the travel of 17 member work team and the transportation of the Pandol from Sri Lanka and facilitated logistical arrangements in Malaysia.
A number of state sector agencies of the Malaysian government, including Buddhist monks have extended their support for this monumental gesture of veneration. During the Vesak celebration in Malaysia, members of the Army cultural troupes on the side lines of the main spectacle will present their cultural and artistic talents on all seven days. The Pandol was ceremonially opened on Saturday (26) by His Excellency A. J. M. Muzammil, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Malaysia. Major General Jagath Ratnayake, Colonel Commandant, CES and Director General Engineer Services of the Army and Brigadier Fariz Yusuf, Director, Directorate of Army Band and Drama Art Performance were also present at the occasion representing the Sri Lanka Army.aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa