Press Releases

    7 May 2002

    In Time of Global Uncertainty, Buddha's Vision of Peace More Relevant Than Ever, Says Secretary-General, in Message on Buddhism's Day of Vesak

    NEW YORK, 6 May (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Day of Vesak, observed on 7 May:

    It gives me great pleasure to send you my warmest greetings on this happy occasion, marking the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Guatama Buddha.

    The Buddha's lofty ethical and humanitarian ideals have given birth to a vibrant spiritual tradition that continues, more than 2500 years later, to ennoble the lives of millions of people. Today, all over the world, Buddhists celebrate joyously the message of compassion, understanding and mutual respect that the Buddha brought to mankind.

    In this time of global uncertainty, the Buddha's vision of peace and of humanity's highest potentials may be more relevant than ever before. Indeed, if we want to have a chance of overcoming the many challenges that face us today -- in the fields of peace and security, development, and the protection of our global environment -- we must think beyond our narrow, short-term self interests, and raise ourselves to a universal perspective from which the well-being of the broader human community appears as important as our own well-being. Each of us shares the hope of a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future. Our actions -- as individuals and as members of our communities -- must be guided by that common dream.

    On this Day of Vesak, let us remember that whatever our origin, our race, our culture or our belief, we are not essentially different. Above all, we share the same home, a shrinking planet on which we are bound to live together. So, let us work together towards the common good and the harmonious and peaceful coexistence of all the world's people.

    I wish you all happy Vesak.

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