Vietnam to host UN celebration of Buddha's birthday

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Vietnam will for the second time host the United Nations Day of Vesak, the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, next year, the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha announced at a press conference in Hanoi Sunday.


The 2014 UN Day of Vesak (Buddha's Birthday, Enlightenment and Passing Away) will be held at Bai Dinh Pagoda in the northern province of Ninh Binh from May 7-11, 2014.


The event is expected to attract about 10,000 participants, including 1,500 Buddhist leaders, scholars and followers from around 100 countries and territories worldwide.


The event, themed "˜Buddhist Perspective towards Achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals,' will include seminars on Buddhists' response to sustainable development and social change, global warming and environmental protection, healthy living, peace-building and post-conflict recovery.


Vietnam first hosted the Day of Vesak in Hanoi in 2008.


Next year, the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha will organize Vesak with financial sources mobilized from various sectors, instead of using the state budget as had been done in 2008.


The event is also an opportunity for Vietnam to promote its image to the world and boost the development of spiritual and ecological tourism, according to the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha.


Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha (enlightened one), lived in what is now Nepal between the sixth and fourth centuries BC. His teachings focused on compassion, peace and goodwill.


In 1999 the UN instituted an international Vesak Day to acknowledge the contribution that Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world, has made for over 2500 years. This day is commemorated annually at UN Headquarters.


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