Press Releases

    SG/SM/8705
    OBV/345
    16 May 2003

    ON DAY OF VESAK, SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON WORLD TO
    HEED BUDDHA’S MESSAGE OF MINDFULNESS FOR HUMANKIND

    NEW YORK, 15 May (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message on the occasion of the Day of Vesak, which is being observed on 15 May:

    The Day of Vesak is both a joyous occasion, on which Buddhists throughout the world mark the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha some 2,500 years ago, and a moment to contemplate the lessons that the Buddha’s life and teachings offer for our lives today.

    The Buddha’s message was one of peace and compassion, but also one of mindfulness -- of being fully aware of oneself, one’s actions and the world in which one lives. That message is one that should be taken seriously by all concerned about the direction and fate of humankind.

    Unless we are more mindful of succeeding generations, our relentless degradation of the environment will compromise their ability to meet their needs.

    If we fail to understand that our choices -- as consumers, citizens and voters -- have implications far beyond our immediate communities, our global village will remain a more dangerous place than it need be.

    And if we do not recognize that poverty and conflict anywhere concern each of us, we will not succeed in our shared mission of building a world of social harmony and universal well-being.

    On this Day of Vesak, I join you in hoping for a world in which all people strive to be mindful -- to be aware of, and care for, their fellow human beings. In that spirit, I send you all my warmest greetings.

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