EMBASSY’S ACTIVITIES / ARTICLES
May 12, 2017
Remarks by H.E. Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi at the Vesak Day on Parliament Hill
Remarks by H.E. Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to Canada
at the Vesak Day on Parliament Hill
Sir John A. McDonald Building
Ottawa, 10 May 2017
Venerable Members of the Sangha,
Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Member of Parliament for Carleton,
Honourable Chandra Arya, Member of Parliament for Nepean,
Honourable Dianne Watts, Member of Parliament for South Surrey,
Your Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa,
Your Excellencies the Ambassadors of Nepal and Myanmar,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
More than 2,500 years ago, one man sought out a path to dispel the darkness of delusion in his life. In the end, he was able to find the pure light of peace and wisdom.
That man is known today as the “Buddha”, or “the Awakened One”, and his enlightenment has illuminated the world. Through his immeasurable compassion for human suffering, the profound truth that he discovered on the full moon day of Vesak has been passed on from generation to generation, and has spanned many continents, including my own region of Southeast Asia.
Ever since the establishment of the Thai Kingdom back in the 13th century, Buddhism in the Theravada tradition has been the foundation of the Thai way of life. From birth to death, Buddhism—the primary religious practice in the country—impacts upon how Thais think, speak, act, and even live. Buddhism has been ingrained in our cultural DNA and has become deeply rooted within our souls.
It is very common to come across a Buddhist temple on virtually every street corner in some parts of Thailand. Buddhist temples are not only spiritual sanctuaries but also locations for educational and cultural activities as well as social gatherings on various occasions. Here in Canada, there are a number of Thai temples and Buddhist monasteries located across the country—a country which is renowned for its compassion, and which embraces all religious backgrounds with an open heart.
It is remarkable that today, on Vesak Day, Buddhists living in Canada are able to join other Buddhist friends from around the world in commemorating the birth, the enlightenment, and the passing of the Buddha. It is also an international day that is observed annually by the United Nations to recognize the significance of Buddhism on human spiritual development.
This past Sunday, on May 7th, the Royal Thai Embassy was delighted to be a part of the Vesak Day event at Ottawa City Hall in which Mayor Jim Watson delivered the official proclamation of the Vesak Month, and the International Buddhist flag was raised in front of the City Hall. We are also honoured to take part and join other Asian communities in celebrating the International Day of Vesak and Asian Heritage Month, in addition to Canada’s 150th birthday, which we are all very excited to celebrate along with the Canadian people.
In concluding, I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to Mr. Visita Leelaratna, the Founder of Vesak Day in Ottawa, along with his very dedicated team, for their enthusiastic efforts and hard work over the past five years to raise awareness of this important day for Buddhists among our Canadian friends – friends who, regardless of religion or faith, share with us the common values of Buddhism, namely generosity, acceptance, and compassion.
On this Vesak Day, may I invite you all to join me in remembering a great being, who has encouraged us to look deeply within ourselves to understand who we truly are, why we are here, and how we are all connected. The peace derived from this understanding is what truly breaks down the barriers that divide us and serves to unite us as one.
Thank you for your kind attention.