Speaker special participant at UNESCO Vesak event


Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa was a special guest at a Vesak Commemoration event organised by UNESCO in Paris on May 23.

Speaking on this occasion, the Speaker said that each year Vesak Day gives us an opportunity to reiterate our determination to lead noble lives, develop one’s mind, practice loving –kindness and bring peace and harmony to humanity.

"The decision this year to reflect upon the contributions of religious teachings towards reconciliation comes as people throughout the world desire calmness, serenity and above all peace. I repeat PEACE not just in their countries and societies but more importantly in their lives," Rajapaksa said.

The gathering at UNESCO commemorated not just the life and example of a philosopher and spiritual leader hailing from Asia, the Speaker said. It was an occasion to comprehend the Buddha’s life and his example and the impact it had and continues to have on each and everyone.

"Today, we reach further in understanding the need for dialogue among faiths, beliefs and ideologies. By so doing we are not only expanding our individual spheres of comprehension, our levels of knowledge and overall outlook on life, but also making a worthy contribution to the realm of oneness, to the concept of peace and to the notion of harmony," Rajapaksa said.

"I am very pleased to be here this morning at UNESCO on behalf of the President of Sri Lanka, House of Parliament and the people of Sri Lanka and to join this commemoration of Vesak, which is not only an international day of observance declared by the United Nations but is also the most important day for Buddhists all over the world."

Pointing out that the gift of Dhamma excels all other gifts, the Speaker explained that the Buddha’s teaching is all about understanding – suffering, its origin, its cessation and the path to its cessation.

"When people ask ‘What do you have to do to become a Buddhist?’ we say that we take refuge in Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha and to take refuge we recite a Pali Stanza:

Buddham Saranam Gacchami (I go to the Buddha for refuge)

Dhammam Saranam Gacchami (I go to the Dhamma for refuge)

Sangham Saranam Gacchami ( (I go to the Sangha for refuge).

``Our fervent hope and wish this year is that the message of inter faith dialogue and the essence it brings to bear is a bridge towards reconciliation and narrows the divide that exists owning to ignorance, intolerance and hatred,’’ the Speaker said.

``United we can stand. United we can face fresh challenges, united we can ensure the prevalence of peace, kindness, consideration and respect and above all be an example.’’

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