Indian Prime Minister confirms Vesak attendance

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has confirmed his participation at the 14th United Nations Day of Vesak Celebration 2017 which is to be held in Sri Lanka from May 12 to 14.

The event is scheduled to be held in Colombo and Kandy.

Indian Prime Minister Modi will take part as the Chief Guest at the first day of the event at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH).

Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari who also has confirmed participation at the event would be the cheif guest at the closing ceremony that would be held at the Maha Maluwa of the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy on May 14.

Justice and Buddhasasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that participation of the top delegates have been confirmed by now by 72 countries. He added that 85 countries in which Buddhism had been practised as a religion have been invited and there is ample time for them to make their confirmation.

He also added that countries such as Thailand, China, Japan, UK, US, Australia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Russia, etc have confirmed their participation.

“This is the first time that we have been able to host this international Vesak Celebration,” Minister Rajapakshe said.

“As far back in 1950 there had been a suggestion at the World Buddhist Forum in Sri Lanka by the late Professor Malalasekara to have a resolution before the United Nations to recognise the Vesak Day and celebrate it globally. It was passed but was presented before the United Nations in 1999 by the then Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgarmar and was adopted in 2001. Since then the event had been held 11 times in Thailand and twice in Vietnam,” the Minister said.

He added that he convinced those present at the last United Nations Day of Vesak Celebrations in 2016 that Sri Lanka had been able to preserve the teachings of the Buddha in Sri Lanka.

“If not for the efforts of Sri Lankan Buddhist Monks in preserving The Buddha’s teachings-the Thriptaka Canons at the Matale Aluviharaya, the present day Lankans would not know what the buddhism is,” Rajapakshe asserted.

“Mahayana Buddhism had translated those Pali Thripitaka of Sri Lankan Buddhists into Sanskrit,” he added.

The Minister also said that the theme of this year’s Celebration is “Buddhist Teachings for Social Justice and Sustainable World Peace”.

He added that this International celebration will be organised under the guidance of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

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