Following is the special statement issued by the President in this regard:
It is a great victory that we achieved the opportunity to hold the 14th United Nations Day of Vesak Festival in Sri Lanka. The International Vesak Festival held in Sri Lanka paved the way to create a Dialogue in Buddhism at the universal level and it also displayed a cohesive commemoration of the event held at international level.
I recalled with absolute honour the great service rendered by the founder president of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, Prof. Gunapala Malalasekera, who primarily proposed to declare Vesak as an international holiday as well as to make the Day of Vesak a noble day celebrated worldwide with great honour. The initiative of the then Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar to present that proposal at the UN is also should be recalled with great honour.
We were able to strengthen the friendly relationships with all the countries in the world, including all the Buddhist Countries and the countries in which Buddhist communities live. Through this International Vesak Festival we received the blessing of promoting dispassionate happiness and self-discipline which human beings inherited from the teachings of the Buddha. I believe, through this the supreme responsibility lies on us as the centre for Theravada Buddhism has been symbolized at this festival.
We were able to present the results of this year’s International Vesak Festival, organized under the theme of “Buddhist Teachings for Social Justice and Sustainable World Peace” to the international community. This International Vesak Festival can be considered as a respectful invitation extended to the entire world presented through the Kandy Declaration to study, analyze and gain guidance from the philosophy of Buddha for the sustainable world peace.
I extend my gratitude to the Prime minister of India, Shri Narendra Singh Modi, President of Nepal Bindhya Devi Bhandari and all representatives of other countries who arrived in Sri Lanka to make the International Vesak Festival – 2017 a success. I am grateful to the Maha Nayaka and Anu Nayaka Theros for their advice and participation in this noble event which brought respect and pride to Sri Lanka. I also am grateful to the Rev. Cardinal, archbishops and all other religious leaders who contributed to this event with their blessings and felicitations.
I extend my thanks to Honourable Prime Minister, Honourable Speaker, Minister of Buddha Shasana Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, who performed a great role in this entire endeavour, Secretary to the Ministry and all its officers, all Ministers who contributed to this task, Governors and all Ministerial staff of the departments and institutions, General Secretary and all officers of the United Nations Organization, foreign diplomatic mission heads and officials based in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Police and the Civil Defence Department.
I also am grateful to entire Sri Lankan Buddhists and the devotees of other religions who supported to make the International Vesak Festival successful, showing the discipline earned from the Buddhist culture and demonstrating the religious devotion.