Ambassador Pham Vinh Quang, deputy permanent representative of Vietnam at the UN, attended the 2012 Vesak Day celebrations at the organisation’s Headquarters in New York on May 7.

Addressing the event, Ambassador Quang said in the current global uncertainties, including multi-dimensional and complex challenges such as wars, regional conflicts, economic crises, climate change and the scarcity of food and energy, Buddha’s teachings on compassion, wisdom, harmony, peace, welfare and happiness and especially for coexistence for mutual growth are even more meaningful.

“Buddhism in Vietnam has existed for more than twenty centuries. It bears a vital spiritual power in the lives of the Vietnamese people. It has penetrated deeply in the soul of our people and our nation throughout the spans of history of thousands of years. The values and fundamental principles of Buddhism, which stand for non-violence, peaceful existence and tolerance, have been absorbed and become the common spiritual practice of the people of Viet Nam . The nation, the people and Buddhists of Viet Nam are always of one mind, joining efforts for national construction and preserving peace, national independence and unification.”

The diplomat confirmed the Vietnamese Government’s consistent policy of national unity, underpinning the unity of followers of different religions and ensuring tolerance between believers and non-believers.

Vietnam now has more than 12 million Buddhist followers, almost 15,000 places to worship Buddhist, more than 40,000 Buddhist monks and nuns, and 36 schools for religious studies.

On this occasion, the Vietnamese delegation to the UN introduced several traditional dishes to international friends.-VNA