Vesak at the UN

By Kim Behan

On May 10th, 2017, I had the privilege of joining Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi for the Vesak Celebration at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

UN General Assembly Hall
A panoramic view of the General Assembly Hall

Vesak Day is the full moon day in May when Buddhists around the world celebrate the birth, enlightenment, and final passing away of the Buddha. It is one of the most important events for followers of the Buddha, a time we honor the life and teachings of the wisest of humans. At a time when the world faces deep challenges, this sacred day offers us an opportunity to reflect on how the timeless and universal teachings of Buddha can help to guide each of us in our day to day lives.

part of the audience
A section of the audience

At this event, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi addressed a varied audience of Sangha members, distinguished UN members, and guests assembled to celebrate this special event. He spoke on the three poisons — greed, hatred and delusion, and their antidotes — generosity, loving kindness and wisdom — relating these ancient teachings to current dilemmas facing the world’s populations. In his own words, “even though the Buddha taught 2600 years ago, his teachings are so relevant to us in the present time as we struggle to create a world in which people can live together peacefully, in a sustainable environment, in societies which look after the needs of everyone, including the least and poorest amongst us.”

Following Ven. Bodhi’s talk, delegates from the major Buddhist countries, as well as formerly or partly Buddhist countries (such as India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, etc.), spoke to express their appreciation for the Buddha and his message of compassion, tolerance, and peace.

A video of Ven. Bodhi’s address is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rly4GbzM614.

Kim Behan is the Director of Programs for Buddhist Global Relief.

Our Projects

BGR projects are designed to provide direct food aid to people afflicted by hunger and malnutrition, to promote ecologically sustainable agriculture, to support the education of girls and women, and to give women an opportunity to start right livelihood projects to support their families. This is a selection of our newest projects. To see all our projects, please click here.


Bangladesh NEW

VOCATIONAL TRAINING FOR MARRIED ADOLESCENT GIRLS
Help fund vocational training for 200 married adolescent girls so they can pursue alternative opportunities and shape their own futures. »


Brazil  NEW

SUPPORTING TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES AMONG GUARANI WOMEN
Support women from the indigenous Guarani Mbya community in promoting and applying traditional agricultural practices in five villages in São Paulo. »


Cambodia NEW

MONITORING THE WELFARE OF PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN PRISON
Provide food and hygiene materials for women and infants living in 18 Cambodian prisons, plagued by squalid conditions. »


Cameroon   NEW

EDUCATION OF ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN - COMPUTER LITERACY
Provide 120 children in need with school furniture, literacy materials, and computers. » »


Haiti

FOOD PROGRAM FOR VULNERABLE CHILDREN
Provide two meals a day, five days a week, to approximately 100 children and 40 adults. » 


India   NEW

EDUCATION AND FOOD AID FOR CHILDREN IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH
Help in providing three healthy meals a day, seven days a week, to 240 students. » 


Malawi and Kenya

TRAINING FARMERS IN CLIMATE RESISTANT AGRICULTURE METHODS
Training in biointensive climate-resilient farming to increase food production for 450 farmers, of whom 300 are women. » 


Peru   NEW

HELPING GIRLS IMPROVE THEIR NUTRITION, WELL-BEING, AND SCHOOLING
Improve the physical and emotional well-being of 30 young women by funding school supplies and providing workshops on the importance of education, hygiene, and a healthy diet. »


Sri Lanka  NEW

LIVELIHOOD TRAINING FOR DISABLED PEOPLE
Provide vocational training and work opportunities for 60 disabled people in the Anuradhabura district. » 



Sudan

INCREASING HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY IN SOUTH DARFUR
Provide agricultural training and supplies to an estimated 3,000 individuals, increasing food production by 30 percent. »

 

Uganda NEW

PEACE SCHOOL
Provide assistance to 12 students to attend school. »

U.S. Easton, Pennsylvania

EASTON URBAN FARM
Provide 6,000 pounds of locally grown produce to 800 low-income residents, 600 of them women. Build community through programs including free monthly workshops on urban farming topics. »