It is our societal duty in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic to dedicate ourselves to the protection and well-being of the lives of others as preached by the Buddha, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in his Vesak Poya Day message.
Vesak Poya Day Message of the President of Sri Lanka:
Vesak Full Moon Poya Day, which commemorates the three most significant events of the Buddha’s life (Three Noble Events); the birth of Prince Siddhartha, the Enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautama and the Mahaparinibbana (Passing Away), is the noble and meritorious festival of us Buddhists. On this noble day, the entire Buddhist community across the world pay homage to the Buddha by performing Amisa Pooja (ritualistic offerings) and Prathipaththi Pooja (practice) with great joy.
It is our precious tradition practiced since the ancient times for the devotees, along with their children, to perform religious observances during the Vesak season to mould their lives according to the teachings of the Buddha, as well as for the betterment of this world and after.
Like last year, we have lost the opportunity to engage in religious observances collectively this year as well on the recommendations of the health sector due to the global Covid-19 epidemic. We must be determined to engage in Amisa Pooja and Prathipaththi Pooja with great veneration towards the Three Noble Events (Themangula) by staying at home.
As preached by the Samma Sambuddha, who spread only the compassion to all, it is our societal duty in the face of this epidemic to dedicate ourselves to the protection and wellbeing of the lives of others. It is also an excellent opportunity to display this unique quality cultivated in the heart of a Buddhist to the world.
We should keep in mind the advice given by the Thrainikaika Mahanayake Theros to hold the State Vesak Festival only symbolically in view of the current epidemic in the country. For the well-being and as well as for the safety of all citizens, we must strive to observe the rites bearing in mind the Three Noble Events.
“Sududdasan Sunipunan – Yaththakaamanipaathinan
Chitthan Rakketha Medhavi – Chitthan Gutthan Sukhavahan”
This stanza in Dhammapada states, “Let the wise man guard his thoughts, for they are difficult to perceive, very artful, and they rush wherever they list: thoughts well-guarded bring happiness”. It is our social responsibility to act wisely by keeping our mind calm focusing on the above stanza at a time when everyone is facing a national disaster.
I wish that all physical and mental distresses of all the people in the country and across the world will be ceased with the practice of rites by preserving Pehewas in a meritorious mind in this Vesak season.