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May 26, 2021 / 20:04

International Day of Vesak observed online due to Covid-19

A message conveyed by Vietnam’s monastics is that people should stay united to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.

Millions of Buddhist followers around the world, including those in Vietnam, celebrate the United Nations Day of Vesak 2021 (Buddha’s 2556 birthday) online due to Covid-19.

 The Vesak Day 2021 takes place with limited participants. Photo: Minh Duc/VNA

An online ceremony was held by the UN General Council in New York on May 26 and co-chaired by Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand and Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN. It conveyed a message that the Buddha’s teachings and message of living in harmony and peace have contributed to preventing extremism and conflicts.

Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN delivered a speech at the virtual meeting, stating that Buddha’s teachings and messages on living together in peace, harmony, compassion, non-violence, and tolerance have moved millions of people as these are not only important elements of religion but also the philosophy of life.

The event brought together UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, President of the UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir, representatives from UN member countries, and Buddhist monks and nuns.

These are key elements in finding commonalities and solutions in addressing common threats and challenges.

The ambassador stressed the need to promote the core values of Buddhism and strengthen friendship and cooperation between peoples and cultures, bringing the good values to life and building a world of peace and development.

Each person should be an envoy of the Buddha to contribute to driving back conflicts and plight, he said.

Celebrations by the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha

The fresh outbreak of coronavirus in Vietnam has put the Vesak Day celebrations online.

Since early morning Wednesday [May 26], a ceremony held by the National Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) marked the celebrations in the most honorable manner with the limited number of participants who are most venerable of VBS.

The VBS shared the view that it should encourage the interaction and peace between humans and creatures, living in harmony on the basis of love, compassion, joy and equanimity to bring a happy life without suffering.

The Vesak Day is the Day of the Full Moon in the month of May, the most sacred day to millions of Buddhists around the world as it was the day the Buddha was born two and a half millennia ago.

On December 19, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution recognizing the Vesak day as the triple celebrations of the Birth, Enlightenment, and Passing away of the Buddha.

Vietnam held the United Nations Day of Vesak 2014 (BE. 2558) with the participation of most venerables and Buddhist followers around the world.

At the ceremony, the message by Most Venerable Thich Pho Tue, Supreme Patriarch of the VBS, was conveyed to monks, nuns, and Buddhist followers nationwide.

It stated that the Covid-19 pandemic has left challenges facing countries around the globe, requiring them to work together for the vaccine sharing amid the uncertainty of the global heath crisis.

“More than ever, all people must unite to overcome the pandemic, stabilize their lives, and develop the country,” read the message.

Meanwhile, the VBS – Hue has called for monks, nuns, and followers to do charity for people in the pandemic-hit areas and people in need.

Monk Thich Thanh Tuan, an abbot of Ve pagoda in Bac Giang, offers Covid-19 relief to an affected area in Viet Yen district. Photo: Newland Group

In the midst of widespread Covid-19 in Bac Giang, the epicenter in the ongoing outbreak, monk Thich Thanh Tuan, an abbot of Ve pagoda in Bac Giang city, has devoted for charitable giving since the outbreak flared up in the locality in early May.

He has been taking part in a philanthropic organization set up by Newland Group whose headquarters are located in Bac Giang city.

Keeping in mind that charity is compassion in action, the monk has done his best to meet the need of people who are in quarantine and lockdown areas across the province.

On the occasion of Vesak Day, the abbot did not forget thousands of others who are in shortage of basic need due to the pandemic and wished he could do more for them with the support of the Newland Group.