On the Day of Vesak, which acknowledges the contribution of Buddhism to the spirituality of humanity, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is paying special tribute to the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal over a month ago.
“I extend special greetings to the victims of the earthquake in Nepal, a country that was instrumental in leading the United Nations General Assembly to designate this observance. I hope that the Nepalese people observing this holiday amid the rubble are able to take some measure of comfort from its message of human solidarity”, Mr. Ban said.
The General Assembly, in 1999, recognized internationally the Day of Vesak, which marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha, and is celebrated by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.
The spirit of Vesak can help to animate a global response to the challenges of our day, noted the Secretary-General. “As the United Nations works for the adoption this year of a set of new sustainable development goals and a meaningful new agreement on climate change”, he added, “the Lord Buddha’s observation that all peoples are interconnected reminds us of the importance of uniting as one human family resolved to address our shared struggles based on common values.”
That is why the head of the Organization asked members and leaders of all faith communities to join the UN in responding to the recent dangerous and destabilizing rise of violent extremism. “Toward that end, we recently welcomed eminent figures from the world’s major religions to two days of meetings at the United Nations on promoting tolerance and reconciliation”, he said, referring to a thematic debate of the General Assembly that took place on 21 and 22 April.