Buddhist monks, nuns and followers attend the Buddha bathing ritual at Tam Chuc Pagoda in Vietnam's northern Ha Nam province, May 12, 2019. The United Nations Day of Vesak kicked off on Sunday in Ha Nam province with the participation of more than 1,650 international delegates from over 100 countries and regions. (Xinhua/VNA)
The United Nations (UN) Day of Vesak kicked off on Sunday in Vietnam's northern Ha Nam province, with the participation of more than 1,650 international delegates from over 100 countries and regions.
The opening ceremony of the UN Day of Vesak, or the birth of Buddha, also brought together over 20,000 Vietnamese Buddhist dignitaries, monks, nuns and followers, Vietnam News Agency reported on Sunday.
Phra Brahmapundit, president of the International Council for Day of Vesak, said the three-day event was not only a chance for Buddhist followers worldwide to celebrate, but also aims to serve all people by advocating sustainable development, and addressing global challenges such as environment pollution, climate change, education, among others.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the UN Day of Vesak means beyond a religious and cultural festival to send the long-lasting message of the Lord Buddha on peace, harmony, tolerance and kindness to all people.
With the theme of "Buddhist Approach to Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Sustainable Societies," the Vesak 2019 aims to contribute to realizing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Its program includes opening and closing ceremonies and five international workshops as well as a domestic one.
The international workshops will bring up issues like responsible leadership for sustainable peace, Buddhist approaches to family issues, healthcare, education, morality, responsible consumption and the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Buddhism.
The results of workshops and discussions will be included in the Ha Nam Declaration.
This is the third time the UN's commemoration of Vesak has been held in Vietnam. Previously, it took place in Vietnam's capital Hanoi in 2008 and northern Ninh Binh province in 2014.