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Jinwol Lee: United Nations Day of Vesak held in Vietnam
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May 14, 2014, 11:05 AM

Jinwol Lee: United Nations Day of Vesak held in Vietnam

Jinwol Lee: United Nations Day of Vesak held in Vietnam

Dear colleagues,

I'd like to share some information about my trip to the United Nations Day of Vesak (UNDV) in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam. 

First, I gave a speech at the UNDV celebration assembly in Bai Dinh Temple, where roughly 1,500 delegates from 95 countries, as well as 20,000 people from the region, gathered to celebrate a thrice sacred day in commemoration of Buddha's Birth, Enlightenment, and Passing to Nirvana. 

In my speech as the Secretary General of URI Asia, I delevered congratulatory remarks from URI, as well as from the President of Korean Buddhism. Please see the conference's declaration below.

In peace and compassion,




Made on the Occasion of the 11th United Nations Day of Vesak

May 07-11, 2014, Bai Dinh Convention Center, Ninh Binh, Vietnam


Whereas, we, the participants, from 95 countries and regions, have come together for the International Buddhist Conference on the United Nations Day of Vesak at Bai Dinh Convention Center held from May 07-11, 2014 (B.E. 2558). 

Whereas, we are most grateful and appreciative for the hospitality of the National Vietnam Buddhist Sangha and the support of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in hosting this most auspicious gathering.  After four days of meetings, academic presentations, learned discussions, cultural events and Buddhist fellowship, the assembled delegates make and adopt this Declaration;

Whereas, we, came together in this Assembly pursuant to that resolution approved on 15th December 1999 at the General Assembly of the United Nations, Session No. 54, Agenda Item 174, Resolution 54/115.  Therein it was declared that Vesak, which falls on the Full Moon day in the month of May, will be internationally recognized and observed at the United Nations Headquarters and its Regional Offices from the Year 2000 onwards. The United Nations Day of Vesak is jointly celebrated by all Buddhist traditions as a thrice sacred day.  It serves to foster mutual understanding and cooperation amongst all Buddhist traditions, organizations and individuals through ongoing dialogue between Buddhist leaders and scholars addressing those issues of universal concern.    As a result of our deliberations we adopt and publish the following message of peace based on the Buddha's teaching of wisdom and compassion; and,

Whereas, coming together to discuss the issues related to the “Buddhist Perspectives towards Achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals”, we have shared our viewpoints, experiences and research on the latest trends and developments in the various fields and considered deliberately their practical implications.

Now, therefore, at the conclusion of our successful celebrations and meetings we have unanimously resolved the following:


Article 1: General Agreements

1.1. To resolve that in keeping with the World view common to all Buddhists, it is an obligation held individually and collectively to work tirelessly for the attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) and dedicate ourselves to social engagement for their attainment as a component of our practice and convictions.

1.2. To motivate by sending the strongest message to the international community to strengthen all efforts to implement the UN Millennium Development Goals through a collective commitment by all stakeholders,

1.3. To utilize the Buddha´s teaching as a spiritual resource for the overall well-being, development and progress of all sentient Beings, and for the full implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals.


Article 2: Buddhist Responses to Sustainable Development and Social Change

2.1. To recognize the interdependence of sustainable development - social, economic, and environmental, emphasizing the universal actualization of our full human potential as the ultimate goal of sustainable development.

2.2. To contribute to creating a new foundation of initiatives, reinforcing the framework of international action leading to sustainable development and global social development.

2.3. To urge global leaders to base sustainable development on the three pillars of environmental protection, economic development, and social justice, emphasizing the principles of equality, social justice, human rights protection and the promotion of education.


Article 3: Peace-building and Post-conflict Recovery

         3.1. To promote peaceful settlement of conflict, respect for life, ending of violence and practice of loving kindness, non-violence through dialogue and cooperation. 

         3.2. To urge political leaders to settle the disputes related to sovereignty, territorial integrity, and jurisdiction rights of exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf through negotiations and other peaceful measures in conformity with UN convention on the Law of Sea (1982) and international laws for the sake of maintaining world peace and stability.

3.3. To encourage Buddhists to be more proactive in promoting peace, which is central to the teachings of the Buddha; and, in particular, spreading the Buddha’s wisdom on the inter-connectedness of all humans as a global family and the shared consequences of their actions. 

3.4. To value peace both intrinsically and extrinsically, by engaging Buddhist believers around the World to address the contemporary issues of war, violence, intolerance and terrorism which threatens the peace and stability of all society.

3.5. To motivate and hold Nations morally responsible for achieving peaceful ideals: understanding universal values, virtues, rights and responsibilities, and particularly the Buddhist culture of non-violence, solidarity and tolerance.

5.6. To call for a universal peace education project, which would become the new paradigm for peace governance.

5.7. To reaffirm the common desire and fundamental human right of all people to live in peace with one another and reaffirming that the principal aim of the United Nations is the maintenance of international peace and security.


Article 4: Buddhist Responses to Global Warming and Environmental Protection

4.1. To acknowledge that the effects of technologically-based solutions are unpredictable and reaffirm that the establishment of a new environmental ethic is necessary incorporating Buddhist virtue ethics and responsibility.

4.2. To urge all governmental and non-governmental organizations to strive toward sustainable economic and social development, stressing the need to balance such development with the preservation of the environment.

4.3. To foster Buddhist environmentalism as instrumental to further prevention and reversal of global warming and the furtherance of environmental protection.


Article 5: Buddhist Contributions to Healthy Living

5.1. To recognize that the healthy living of the individual is characterized by physical, emotional, mental and spiritual growth, and the fostering of such growth is the ultimate goal of sustainable human happiness.

5.2. To engage collaboratively with governmental and non-governmental health organizations in holistic health, combining the Buddhist principles of mind-body harmony with modern medical science, for the eradication of disease, child mortality and to improve pre-natal care in the developing World.

5.3. To evaluate the effects of healthy living and facilitate the Buddhist healthy living program by applying Buddhist meditation techniques.

5.4. To recognize that core to healthy living is meeting the fundamental needs of the individual, including clean water, nutrition, housing, ensuring the physical and spiritual well-being and upholding the dignity of the person.


Article 6: Buddhist Educations and University Level Curriculum

6.1. To work tirelessly for universal education in the 21st century, emphasizing the integration of wisdom and compassion in caring for the environment, cultivating synergy between school subjects and disciplines, and incorporating ethics and a sense of community to the existing approach for acquiring skills for economic and social development within the curricula and syllabi at all levels of education, in order to realize the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal of “achieving universal primary education” and beyond.

6.2. To encourage the incoporation of Buddhist history and philosophy in the curriculum of primary and secondary education which focuses on world and social studies.

6.3. To develop a Buddhist proposal for transformational universal education, which though secular based seeks to initiate an educational program that not only prepares children academically, but also emotionally and spiritually and uses innovative techniques to consolidate the contemporary reforms of national systems of education.

6.4. To acknowledge the fundamental importance of Buddha´s teachings relating to the inclusion of instruction in morals, virtues and ethics in contributing to the promotion, protection and effective realization of all human rights.

6.5. To encourage Buddhists from all countries and traditions to study both secular and Buddhist approaches to mindfulness and to take a more active role in the ongoing integration of mindfulness into education at all levels.   

6.6. To support continued scholarship in understanding the evolution and spread of Buddhist philosophy and culture in order to foster greater cooperation and participation between all Buddhists, regardless of traditions.


Article 7: Policy Implications as Conclusion

7.1. We request that these well considered findings be incorporated into the new program of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

7.2. We proclaim that it is time for the World community to begin an honest reflection about the Buddhist solution and its utilization in today´s rapidly changing world.

7.3. We proclaim that Buddhist ethics have cultural power to contribute to the development of a more compassionate society and are capable of building sustainable, equitable and caring political systems, economies, and societies.

7.4. We proclaim that Buddhism can respond decisively to the challenges of the UN Millennium Goals.

7.5. We request that World leaders collaborate with Buddhist clergy and laity to develop systems that universally encourage the obtainment of full socio-emotional and compassionate potentials and thereby create a World in which we all want to live.  

7.6. We request that state governments, civil societies, businesses, religions, families and individuals, regardless of faith or tradition, adopt the moral and ethical virtues.

7.7. We proclaim that instrumental to the practice of Buddhism at all levels,  individually and collectively, is Social Engagement wherein the insights from meditation practice and dharma teachings are brought to bear in physical and meaningful ways to address situations of social, political, environmental, and economic suffering and injustice.

7.8. We encourage the expansion of Buddhiist NGOs which actively and substantively engage in disaster relief, social welfare and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.


Done this 10th day of May, 2014, at Bai Dinh Convention Center, Ninh Binh, Vietnam


Most Ven. Thich Thanh Nhieu

(Chairman of ICDV – UNDV IOC 2014)

Most Ven.Prof. Brahmapundit

(Chairman of ICDV)




Most Ven.Dr. Thich Duc Thien

(Secretary General)