Washington, May 27: US President Joe Biden sent greetings on Wednesday to the Buddhist community on the occasion of Vesak, a day honouring the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha.
"(First Lady) Jill (Biden) and I extend our warmest wishes to Buddhists in the United States and around the world as they celebrate Vesak, a day honoring the birth, enlightenment, and passing of the Buddha," Biden said in a message. Gautama Buddha Quotes for Vesak 2021: Celebrate Buddha Purnima With These Inspirational Thoughts and Sayings.
The ceremonial lighting of a lamp, the symbol of this holiday that has been celebrated for over 2,500 years, reminds people of Buddhism's teachings of compassion, humility and selflessness that endure today, he added.
"On this day, we also commemorate the many contributions of Buddhists in America, who enrich our communities and our country as we all work together toward brighter days ahead," Biden said.
According to the Dharma Into Action Foundation, the White House celebrated Vesak for the first time with the Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff, lighting a candle in the presence of three venerables representing the three traditions of Mahayana, Theravada and Vajrayana Buddhism.
Joining Buddhists at home and around the world in their celebration of Vesak, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken said Happy Buddha Purnima. "On this occasion, we celebrate the invaluable contributions of Buddhist communities the world over. We join these communities in recommitting ourselves to upholding the universal principles of compassion, peace and respect for human dignity," he said.
"May this day inspire us all to reflect on our shared values and to collectively work to build a better world for Buddhists and people of all belief traditions," Blinken said.
In a separate statement, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power wished Buddhists in the United States and around the world a joyous Vesak.
"Vesak, one of the most important Buddhist festivals, is a time of reflection on the Buddha's teachings of peace, compassion, and enlightenment, and reminds us of the importance of USAID's work to advance the cause of human dignity and serve those most in need," she said.
"On this day, we commemorate the many contributions of Buddhists to humanity's progress and recommit ourselves to building a more enlightened and peaceful world," Power said.
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