The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka together with Royal Thai Embassy in Vienna and the United Nations Office in Vienna commemorated the International Vesak Day at the Vienna International Center on 5 May 2023.
A gathering of over 150 invitees included the Diplomatic Corps, officials of the UN agencies and the officials of the Austrian Buddhist Society attended the Vesak Day celebrations.
Religious observance and talk on mindfulness followed by practical meditation session was conducted by Most Venerable Dr. Vijayarajapura Seelawansa Thero, Chief Incumbent of Dhammazentrum Nyanaponika in Vienna.
Delivering opening remarks Ambassador and Permanent Representative His Excellency Majintha Jayesinghe said “the teachings of the Buddha, and his message of compassion, peace and goodwill have positively impacted millions throughout the ages. The universal significance of the teachings of Gautama Buddha is one of the underlying reasons why Sri Lanka, under the visionary leadership of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar addressing the 54th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 1999, took the initiative to commemorate the International Recognition of the Day of Vesak at the United Nations”.
The commemoration aims to worship and honour the compassion, the wisdom and the purity of the Buddha who taught humanity to be morally and ethically refined as well as kind and tolerant towards each other. These are virtuous qualities which foster harmony and world peace that is grossly lacking in the world, Ambassador further said.
“The ideals celebrated on this sacred day have a deep resonance with the goals of our United Nations: understanding among peoples, the pursuit of harmony, the promotion of peace. At this time of strife, the Buddha’s teachings of tolerance, compassion, and service to humanity are a source of solace and strength. As we navigate the path to a better future, let us seize the spirit of Vesak”, Mr. Dennis Thatchaichawalit, Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna (UNOV) stated quoting the UN Secretary – General António Guterres.
Mr. Cheevindh Nathalang, Minister, Chargé d’ Affaires and interim, Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations and other International Organizations said “Buddha’s teachings and his legacy of compassion, wisdom and peace have proven to be timeless. For over 2500 years, they have encouraged and guided his disciples as well as hundreds of millions of lay Buddhists on how they should constantly train their mind and should consciously and constantly be aware about their vulnerable existence in this world”.
Addressing the gathering Mr. Gerhard Weißgrab, President, Austrian Buddhist Society highlighted that the highest source which provides us with the tools necessary to bring peace and welfare to all is the Dhamma. “Today we are celebrating Vesak Day – an international UN festival since 1999. This year in Austria too we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the official recognition of the Buddhadhamma by the Austrian government.”
A book titled “The Universal Lotus Greeting: The New Normal” authored by Ambassador Dato’ Dr. G. K. Ananda Kumaraseri on the 40th anniversary celebration of recognition of Buddhism in Austria was also launched at the event.
Traditional Sri Lankan and Thai refreshments were served to the guests including Ceylon Tea.
The Mission together with the Royal Thai Embassy inaugurated the Vesak celebrations at the UN in 2021 which was continued in 2022 in virtual format.
Embassy and Permanent Mission
5 May 2023