Making news

Vesak 2019 draws international media attention

The 16th United Nations Day of Vesak concluded on May 14 at the Tam Chuc Buddhist Cultural Centre Ha Nam. Photo: VNA
The 16th United Nations (UN) Day of Vesak, which concluded at the Tam Chuc Buddhist Cultural Centre in Kim Bang district, the northern province of Ha Nam, was an important religious event that drew great attention from international media.

An article on Hong Kong’s Biddistdoor Global website on May 14 said this year, the Vesak celebration was organised under the theme “Buddhist Approach to Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Sustainable Societies.”

The event featured five forums discussing mindful leadership for sustainable peace; Buddhist approaches to harmonious families, healthcare, and sustainable societies; Buddhist approaches to global educations in ethics; the fourth industrial revolution and Buddhism; and Buddhist approaches to responsible consumption and sustainable development.

Some 398 international and Vietnamese scholars and Buddhists shared ideas by contributing papers dealing with Buddhist values, it said.

It said that heads of state, ambassadors, and representatives of international organisations made well wishes and special messages on the occasion. In a recorded video clip, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed great pleasure in addressing the event, and acknowledged the teaching of the Buddha as an inspiration for a peaceful world.

The article quoted Guterres as saying that “In a time of growing intolerance and inequality, the Buddha’s message of nonviolence and service to others is more relevant than ever. On the Day of Vesak, let us renew our commitment to building a world of peace and dignity for all.”

The same day, the Thailand-based Asia News Network website posted a story on the UN Vesak Day 2019, highlighting opinions of representatives of different countries on the way that Buddhism has adapted to Industry 4.0 and utilised digitalisation to preserve Buddhist values and promote the religion.

Simerjit Kaur from the Department of Buddhist Studies, Kalindi College, the University of Delhi, India, highlighted the drastic changes Industry 4.0 has brought in all aspects of life.

He noted the scope and scale of benefits that people have gained from the Fourth Industrial Revolution while pointing out social challenges, such as growth of cities, slums, frustration, fear of security and emotional discrimination.

William Beaumont Edwards from Vipassana Buddhist Church, the Centre for Buddhist Development, the US, also acknowledged the massive shift in human civilisation in Industry 4.0.

He held that Buddhism, unlike many of the world religious traditions, has had the ability to obligingly adapt and easily survive any change in those dynamics with which it is presented.

This is the third time that Vietnam has hosted a Vesak celebration after two previous events in 2008 and 2014.