Posted on June 20th, 2024


When the rest of the world is getting Buddhistized, why not   the north and east of Sri Lanka, asked critics and why not by the Sinhala-Buddhists. There is a worldwide emphasis on Buddhism today specially at Wesak  Sri Lanka  plays an important role in these celebrations.

Two UN organizations   recognize  Wesak.  United Nations held international Day of Vesak,2024 in Bangkok, Thailand . 73 countries  participated. In March 2024 UNESCO adopted a Decision to commemorate the International Day of Vesak at the UNESCO. The Decision was led by the Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO with the co-sponsorship of a cross-regional group of 38 member states .The Decision requested  UNESCO to issue an annual message  on Wesak day, commemorate Vesak annually at UNESCO Headquarters and  to forward this Decision to UNESCO’s General Conference in November 2025 for adoption.

The White House, in Washington   celebrated Wesak for the fourth time this year. Venerable Katugastota Uparathana   of Maryland International Buddhist Temple officiated. A sapling from Sri Maha Bodhi was planted in  the Buddhist temple in Bendigo, Australia.

South China Sea Buddhism Roundtable, an annual  event organized since 2016 by the Hongfa Temple in Shenzhen, China,  was hosted, by the Hunupitiya Gangarama Temple in 2024. 22 countries participated.

Sri Lanka has helped strengthen Buddhism in Vietnam. The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Vietnam, gifted a sacred sapling of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura to be planted at Bai Dinh Temple in Vietnam. Nearly 40 Buddhist monks and officials including Bai Dinh Pagoda Chief Abbot visited Anuradhapura to receive the sacred Sapling. Once the sacred sapling was handed over, 40 monks and officials from Bai Dinh along with the North Central Province Chief Monk and the Chief Incumbent of Ruwanwelisaya Stupa, along with Sri Lankan Buddhist monks visited Bai Dinh Pagoda for planting the sapling at the Bai Dinh Pagoda.Chief Incumbent of Ruwanwelisaya Stupa Most Ven. Eeethalawatunawawe Ganathilaka  also participated at the event.

Several countries  in Asia, which do not have a large Buddhist population, also celebrated Wesak. South Korea, where Buddhism is  visibly giving way to Christianity, celebrated Wesak with a large parade  at Seoul  in 2024. https://youtu.be/7-ovMmRhxk0.

There was an  Exposition of the Sacred Relics from Sri Lanka and Vesak Day Commemoration on 25 May 2024 at the Wisdom Park in New Manila, Quezon City, Philippine.. It was organized  by Sri Lanka embassy in collaboration with the Universal Wisdom Foundation .  This was the first time that sacred relics from Sri Lanka were brought to the Philippines.

Buddhists in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India,  were planning to celebrate Vesak in a grand manner for the first time,  in 2024, in association with the Sanchi Mahabodhi Chetiyagiri Maha Vihara,Ven. Banagala Wimalatissa  said. There will be a procession and dansala  directed by Karuna Buddhist Society in Bhopal. Participation of Buddhists from Sanchi, Vidisa and Bhopal areas in Madhya Pradesh, followed by a Buddha Pooja. Many dansalas will be held with the support of the local residents for the visiting devotees on Vesak Poya, Ven. Udugama Thapassi  said.

Buddhism   has been gently introduced to Africa. Uganda Buddhist Centre, founded by Venerable  Buddharakkhita,  of Sri Lanka ,in 2005, celebrated Vesak Day 2024 with the ordination of 12 children as novice monks and the inauguration of phase one of the Sangha Building. The Sangha Building,  will serve as a residence for 54 monks from across Africa.H.R.H William Gabula Nadiope IV of Busoga Kingdom graced the occasion as Chief Guest, Ronald Kalema, the Mayor of Katabi Town Council  and Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Kenya, were  also present. ( continued)

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