Vesak is the starting point of the Buddhist Path to World Peace – Congratulatory message of Bodhi Vihara, Germany at the United Nations Day of Vesak Conference in Bangkok, 22.-23.5.2016 with the theme “The Buddhist Path to World Peace”
Dear fellow Buddhists and Non-Buddhists from all over the world,
every year our minds cheer up at the occasion of this very special Buddhist holiday called Vesak. It is the time to remember the Buddha’s birth, his enlightenment and his passing away. At his enlightenment the Buddha had, as is our belief, brought to fulfillment his personal path of inner liberation from greed, hatred and delusion. He thus realized the greatest form of ‘peace’ imaginable to humankind together with the eightfold noble path leading there. 45 years later, at the time of his death, he entered into final nirvana, a state Buddhists consider equal to ultimate peace, truth and harmony beyond all categories of conditioned worldly existence. This noble tradition of striving for the attainment of supramundane peace continues since 2559 years up to today.
One might ask, how can a spiritual teaching like Buddhism bring about World Peace? The answer is simple: by offering the necessary mindset needed for it! As Buddhists we are convinced that the mind is the forerunner and that outer manifestations follow suit to inner changes. Inspired by the Buddha’s noble quest for spiritual peace, Buddhists engage in the transformation of their thoughts, their speech and their bodily actions in order to bring about peace on the inside and outside. Yet as in most other religions, in Buddhism there are many followers, who are followers only by name, but not followers by conviction and insight. The Dhamma taught by the Buddha needs to be lived up to wholeheartedly and put into practice with honest dedication.
This is no easy task. We are aware that even the Buddha himself was not able to inspire all of his contemporaries to join the urgent quest for peace. As Buddhists in the present world, we need to analyze our own effectiveness in promoting peace in this world while taking the Buddha’s high ethical principles as our standard. Communities and societies based on Buddhist principles ought to be beacons of peace in a world that is suffering from wars yet still has not understood the way towards peace; a world that promotes greed and hatred, ever trying to bring about distorted forms of peace through military force and the culture of consumerism.
The Buddhist Path to World Peace, which, if abided to, is guaranteed to bring about one’s and others’ deep appreciation for mundane and spiritual states of peace. The Buddha walked this path of peace not only for himself. He beckons us to join him on this journey towards the great und ultimate peace – our final destination.
With folded hands and cordial greetings from Germany,
Bodhi Vihara Buddhist Monastery