It has been over 2,500 years since the birth of Buddha and yet Lord Buddha’s teachings remain as relevant as ever, said Ambassador Pham Vinh Quang, Vietnam’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, at Vesak Day 2013 celebrations at the UN Headquarters in New York on May 24.

“His teachings inspire us, as nations and international community as a whole, to act in unison in finding possible solutions if we are to address the multiple and complex threats and challenges facing our world today, including the climate change, environmental deterioration, the spread of deadly diseases, the persistence of crimes, conflicts and wars in many parts of the world,” Quang said in his statement at the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in commemoration of the UN Day of VESAK occasion.

The ambassador affirmed that in Vietnam, Buddhism has been closely linked with the survival of the nation, whether in its rise and fall, and has become a part of traditional and national culture.

Now, when Vietnam is practicing renovation and the market economy and the open-door policy, Vietnamese Buddhism is proving indispensable, especially for the maintenance and improvement of ethical values of restraint and to reduce socially negative aspects, he said.

Quang highlighted the fact that the Vietnamese Government has always given favorable conditions for Buddhism to make Lord Buddha’s teachings more accessible and widely known, to uphold and preserve the national cultural identity.

He said thank to this policy of the Government, Vietnamese Buddhism today has developed steadily with more than 12 million Buddhist followers, over 40 thousand of monks and nuns; almost 15,000 temples, monasteries or places to worship Buddhist. Vietnamese Buddhism is proudly to have has 04 academies, 01 college, 32 secondary schools and dozens of classes at primary level which train over 5,000 monks and nuns each year. Vietnamese Buddhists also participate in many international fora, dialogues among religions and faiths and exchange views on religious beliefs to build a society that Buddha envisioned more than two and half thousands of years ago – a society free from violence, hatred, for peace, harmony and tolerance among all beings.

He called on Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike to work together to translate Lord Buddha’s teachings into reality for the common good and for the betterment of all humankind.

In his message on Vesak Day, UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon stressed, “Now more than ever, we need the spirit of non-violence to help inspire peace and quell conflict.”

The Vesak Day was recognised internationally by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 54/115 of 1999 to acknowledge the contribution that Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world, has made for over two and a half millennia and continues to make to the spirituality of humanity.-VNA