As UN marks Buddhist holiday, Ban urges leaders to work for common good

Lumbini, a World Heritage site, is the birthplace of Buddha. Photo: UNESCO/Nipuna Shrestha

13 May 2014 – The Buddhist teachings of peace, compassion and love should help guide governments and the international community, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, urging international cooperation for the betterment of all humankind.

In his message for Vesak Day, Mr. Ban highlighted Buddha’s message of “peace, compassion and love for all living beings,” especially those in need.

These teachings “can inspire our efforts to address many of the broader challenges confronting our world,” Mr. Ban said, in reference to peace and security, development and the protection of the environment.

“In each of these areas, we have to rise above narrow self-interest, and think and act as members of one global community,” he urged world leaders.

The Day marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha, and is celebrated by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.

By its resolution 54/115 of 1999, the General Assembly recognized internationally the Day of Vesak to acknowledge the contribution that Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world, has made for over two and a half millennia and continues to make to the spirituality of humanity.

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