World Buddhists plan grand celebrations in Vietnam

by Manpreet Singh, The Buddhist Channel, Dec 2, 2013

Hanoi, Vietnam -- Vietnamese Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Tu is a picture of enthusiasm and commitment as he passionately addresses a group of foreign delegates in Hanoi at the preparatory meeting for the United Nations Day of Vesak 2014 celebrations to be held in the Ninh Binh district of Vietnam.

<< UNDV meeting: Preparatory Meeting of the United Nations Day of Vesak 2014 held in Hanoi, Vietnam on 24 November 2013.

“We feel honored at being chosen to host the UNDV celebrations for the second time and everybody in Vietnam is really excited about it,” says Most Venerable Dr. Thich Nhat Tu, who also is Deputy Secretary of the International Council for the Day of Vesak (ICDV). “We learnt a lot from our experience of organizing UNDV in Hanoi in 2008 and are leaving no stone unturned to ensure grand celebrations in Ninh Binh next year.”

The first preparatory meeting for the UNDV 2014 celebrations was held on November 24 in Hanoi, Vietnam, and was attended by 60 delegates from 10 countries including Thailand, Cambodia, USA, France, India, Sri Lanka, China, South Korea and Malaysia.

Ninh Binh was agreed as the venue for celebrations from 06 May 2014 to 11 May 2014 by the members of International Council for the Day of Vesak.

Every year since the resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 December 1999, the thrice-sacred day of Vesak (celebrating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha Gautama) is celebrated internationally. The International Council for the Day of Vesak has been granted Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council since 2013.

The event is viewed by Buddhists as an opportunity to spread the Buddha’s message of love, peace, non-violence and compassion across the world.

Ven. Dr. T Dhammaratana, Vice President of ICDV, congratulated Vietnam for being chosen to host the UNDV celebrations for the second time. “It is an opportunity not only for the Buddhists in the Asian region but in the whole world to work together as one family and showcase great celebrations,” Ven. Dr. T Dhammaratana said. “The presence of senior leaders of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha at the preparatory meeting and the Vietnam government support to the celebrations makes me happy and confident that the UNDV 2014 celebrations would be a great success.”

It was estimated at the preparatory meeting that 1500 foreign delegates from 97 countries would join the celebrations in May next year, of which 700 would be observers. Ven. Dr. Thich Nhat Tu further informed that the celebrations are also expected to draw a gathering of over 10,000 Vietnamese people.

The ICDV members at the meeting were informed that celebrations would include Vietnamese and international cultural performances, besides a huge candle-light procession and chanting for world peace. An International Buddhist Film Festival would be organized, and films on Buddhism would be screened in different provinces and cities in the country.

The United Nations Day of Vesak celebrations in Vietnam in 2008 were an amazing spectacle of religious and ritual festivity at Hanoi, with thousands of Buddhists from all over the world gathering at the Hanoi’s National Convention Centre to spread Buddha’s message of peace, love and harmony. It was the biggest ever Buddhist international event in Buddhism’s over 2000 years’ long history in Vietnam.

“We all are committed to make the UNDV 2014 celebrations a grand success,” assures Ven. Dr. Thich Nhat Tu.