Every year millions of Buddhists around the world celebrate Vesak Day, an officially recognised United Nations holiday that celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
This year I was privileged to deliver the official message from the Premier, the Hon. Mike Baird MP, at an event to celebrate this auspicious occasion at Sydney's Town Hall on Sunday 15th May.
My speech from the day is contained below.
Its a great honour to be here today at Sydney Town Hall representing both the Premier Hon Mike Baird and also the Minister for Multiculturalism Hon John Ajaka to join you all to celebrate Vesak, the day declared by the United Nations in 1999 as the most sacred day in the Buddhist calendar and the day to celebrate Buddha – his birth, his gifted life, his enlightenment and passing.
On behalf of the NSW government I want to congratulate the many organisers for arranging this wonderful community event.
Today is an important example of our multiculturalism and our harmony living in this young modern country Australia – but one that for our Aboriginal Australians goes back tens of thousands of years – back to their dreaming – and I want to pay my respects to the first Australians here today.
Buddhists in Australia have made a great contribution to building our modern nation and helping to maintain peace and harmony. I congratulate you for your thoughtful and meaningful contribution to not only our State but our great multicultural nation.
I have a message to read from the Premier
"I am delighted to send my best wishes to the Buddhist community of NSW on the occasion of Vesak.
This major celebration, which remembers the birth, passing and enlightenment of the Buddha, is popular with Australians of all backgrounds.
On behalf of the NSW Government, I congratulate the Buddhist Federation of Australia for openly promoting Vesak, and I wish everyone celebrating Vesak an enjoyable occasion."
For me personally as a community leader, I believe there is much we can learn from Buddha’s teachings. We live in a world – as so often in the past – tormented by conflicts, conflicts between races, religions and ideologies.
Buddha teaches us to live together in harmony and peace with respect for each other – and in fact respect for all living creatures.
The troubled world today would do well to consider more carefully the ancient teachings of Buddha and their meaning applied for our modern times.
Happy VESAK everybody!!