OPENING REMARKS ON THE EVENT OF INTERNATIONAL BUDDHISM DAY (APRIL 8TH 2018) BY MOST VENERABLE THICH THIEN NHON – CHAIRMAN OF EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF VIETNAM’S BUDDHIST SANGHA
Namo Sakyamuni Buddha, Your Excellencies The Patriarch Committee of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha Your Excellencies Leaders at all levels of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha Most Venerable, Sangha, Ladies and Gentlemen, Today, in the solemn and joyful atmosphere of unity and solidarity, we assemble here at Quan Su pagoda, the Headquarters of the Central Office of the Vietnam’s Buddhist Sangha (VBS) in Hanoi, the capital city of peace, in celebration of the International Buddhist Day on April 8th established by the World Buddhist Summit, of which the VBS is one of the co-founders. On behalf of the VBS’s Central Office, I would like to welcome sangha leaders at all Buddhist levels, distinguished guests, monks, nuns and Buddhist followers. I would also like to extend to all distinguished participants my wishes of a joyous heart, peaceful mind and successful life with Buddha’s blessings. Most Venerable, Sangha, Ladies and gentlemen, Buddhism arose from Lumbini, which was originally in ancient India and is now part of Nepal, then flourished in Bodhigaya, the Kingdom of Magadha (now in Bihar, India). The founder of Buddhism was Siddhartha Gautama, who retired from his home and then enlightened as Buddha Sakyamuni. Buddhism has now evolved and spread over 5 continents into lineages of Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana branches. Over more than 2,600 years of development, Buddhism has more than 500 million followers worldwide, who are practicing and teaching Buddhism dharma, bringing Buddha’s messages of Compassion, Wisdom and Peace to every class, organization and entity. All aims are to clarify and promote Buddha’s messages to everyone on this planet.
On that note, with the sole aim to bring the Buddhist compassion, happiness and generosity to the Buddhist followers, Buddhist leaders from 23 countries and territories of the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions assembled on April 8th 1998 in Kyoto, Japan – a peace-supporting country with the Buddha’s messages of compassion and happiness, to share their experience of practicing and teaching Buddhism Dhamar that has been borne and evolved for more than 2000 years.
Worldwide Buddhist leaders joined hands to establish the Buddhist Summit, which Vietnam’s Buddhist Sangha was one of the co-founders, and organized 7 summits over 20 years of operation. The World Buddhist Summit aims to establish a forum for Buddhist leaders of Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana branches to exchange points of view, practice and propagate the Buddhist dharma while overcoming differences of schools, Buddhist traditions, race, nationality and territories, etc.; to establish a mutual understanding, respect and collaboration among Buddist traditions, in a joined effort to propagate Buddhist dharma and Buddha’s messages of compassion, wisdom, peace and solutions to relieve suffering in life; to encourage all human beings to study and practice Buddha’s teaching towards prosperity, happiness, peace and joyfulness for society, under the light of Buddhist dharma.
The Summit has met its objectives and requirements in the development context of society and world Buddhism, as well as responded to a number of challenges toward Buddhism, society and the world in the 21st century and coming centuries.
Throughout its development, despite of many desired achievements, the World Buddhist Summit – an organization representing more than 500 million Buddhist followers, had never organized an international day for Buddhism celebration.
Upon those urgent demands and with consensus, the 6th Buddhist Summit was held in its headquarters in Muryyojuji Pagoda, Kobe city, Japan from December 8th to 14th 2014 with the participation of Buddhist leaders from 41 countries and territories, representing 500 million Buddhist followers. The leaders adopted a Resolution to dedicate the April 8th as the International Buddhist Day in all member countries. A co-founder of the Summit, the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha organized this ceremony today and to implement the Resolution to celebrate the International Buddhist Day (on April 8th of this year and the following years), spreading the Buddhist light of compassion, wisdom, intelligence, peace and non-violence to impact the development of a peaceful, prosperous and humane world and society. It was in accordance with the Buddha’s teaching as follows: “A human being is magical as he can transform spiritually, attain Buddhahood, and he can change the surrounding social situation to create peace, joyfulness and happiness as a pre-enlightened practitioner” (Bodhisattva Dharma).
Under the spirit and desire towards unity and harmony, contributing to peace, joyfulness and happiness for all human beings worldwide through the Buddha’s teaching, the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha along with its Sangha monks, nuns and Buddhist followers will make every effort to fully and proactively practice that teaching in combination with internal and external sources, contributing to development of a more fair, democratic, civilized society in the light of the Buddhist dharma and Buddha’s message that has lived throughout the time. According to the Pali Nikaya, “There is an extraordinary man. He came to this life for the happiness of devas and of the majority. He is the Tathagata Arhat Samyak SamBuddha.” Under the light of Buddhism dharma, equipping us with wisdom, compassion and generosity, we will join hands in building the world of peace, joyfulness and happiness together for each one of us. Let’s extend our gratitude to Buddha and his dharma by practicing his teaching of “Compassion, Peace, Unity, Harmony and Sympathy” towards the benefit and happiness for all beings at all times. On the occasion of the International Buddhist Day on April 8th, I would like to extent my wishes of peace, happiness, luck and success to all distinguished Sangha most venerable monks, nuns and guests in the Buddha’s halo and blessings. May our country peaceful and prosperous. May our people enjoy peace and contentment. May the world be prosperous and powerful. May all human kind further practice Buddha’s teaching and dharma in their daily life in this eternity of time and space, especially in the celebratory atmosphere of April 8th.
Namo Sakyamuni Buddha.