Celebrating the Buddhist International Day of Vesak in the UN General Assembly. (Photo: Sri Lankan Mission to the UN)

New York (VNA) – A celebration was held in New York on May 20 to observe the International Day of Vesak, which falls on the full moon of the fourth lunar month or May 21 this year, dedicated to Lord Buddha.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, representatives from missions to the UN along with nearly 500 Buddhist monks, nuns and followers attended the celebration organised by the UN.

This is an annual event at the UN since 1999 when the General Assembly approved Resolution 54/115 on the celebration of the International Day of Vesak in recognition of the contributions of Buddhism - one of the oldest religions in the world - to humankind’s spiritual life, as well as to the efforts of the international community for peace, cooperation, harmony and development.

Addressing the event, Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, head of the Vietnamese delegation to the UN, said “as we celebrate the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Lord Buddha, we honour his noble teachings and the Buddhist philosophy, which, after more than 25 centuries, still remain relevant today.”

Teachings of the Lord Buddha are well known for their ideals of peace, justice and equality, she stressed, adding “Buddhism teaches us to love humankind, to live together in peace and brotherhood and in harmony with nature as we are a part of it.”

Throughout thousands of years of Vietnam’s history, Buddhism has been closely linked with national construction and defense. Its lofty values and fundamental principles have been deeply integrated into the everyday lives of Vietnamese people, said the ambassador.

Buddhism co-exists in harmony with other religions in Vietnam and has made significant contributions to peace, stability and development of our country and the well-being of our people, she added.-VNA