The teachings of Buddhism can offer significant insights on how to improve the condition of the planet and lead the way to a more sustainable future, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said in a message marking Vesak Day, (5 May) which commemorates the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha.
“The spirit to care not just for ourselves but for others based on an awareness of our interlinked fates lies at the heart of Buddhism,” Mr. Ban said.
“These teachings challenge families, communities and nations to act in concert of the advancement of our common well-being. That is the best way to secure individual and collective progress in an interdependent world,” Mr. Ban added.
He noted that Buddha's teachings are particularly relevant now as countries prepare for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil next month, which Mr. Ban referred to as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to set the world on a more equitable and sustainable path of development.”
“We must also change longstanding assumptions and open our minds to new ideas and possible solutions if we are to address major global threats, from the proliferation of deadly weapons to intolerance and inequality,” Mr. Ban said.
He invited Buddhists and people of all traditions to use the Day of Vesak to reflect on how they can change their actions to pave the way for a more sustainable future.